Rhino or Solidworks?

I am looking at jumping into ID school hopefully Fall 2006.

I would like to get started on a 3D program now, so i can learn it before school starts which will give me more time to do projects and less to learn new programs.

which one should I go with?

Rhino or Solidworks 2006?

I have used Maya in the past and have used quite a few 3D game engines to build levels so im not a complete beginner at 3d.

could anyone tell which one is better or worse and give an example or two?

or maybe just give a shoutout for your favorite. thanks!

Ultimately you would want both.

My “shout out” goes to SolidWorks if you have to pick just one.

well, if price is no object, go for Solidworks.

If you wait until you get your student ID you’ll qualify to pick up
Rhino at the student rate of $195.

Solidworks is what, $3,500 (?)

checkout their website: www.rhino3d.com

It seems to me that Solidworks gives you a better final product when it comes time to have something manufactured. To me Rhino doesn’t feel as accurate. However, if concepts and pretty pictures is what you are after, Rhino might be a good place to start.

Rhino is cheaper, but I’m sure Solidworks has a student price. You might want to check that out before dropping the cash on either program.

At school we started with Solidworks, because it’s more intuitive and easire to make changes to models.
After working with Rhino and Solidworks professionally, I’d have to pick Solidworks for Manufact. and Rhino for Rendering/quick concepts.

SolidWorks Student Edition - $79.95


SolidWorks is easier to learn, is great for rapid prototyping, and easier to make changes to your design. Rhino is easier to surface model organic shapes (not that you can’t do that with SW, it’s just a little easier with Rhino). I can also get better renderings with Rhino and Flamingo than with SolidWorks and PhotoWorks.

In my normal workflow, I often go back and forth between the 2, starting with SolidWorks, tweaking and shaping in Rhino, Final adjustments are done in Solidworks, and rendering in Rhino/Flamingo. Often I only use SolidWorks, especially if I am just going straight to an SLA rapid prototype.

I would say learn SolidWorks because you already have some experience with surface modeling using Maya (which is easier than Rhino in many ways). By learning SolidWorks you will be increasing your skills more than Rhino. You should be able to pick up Rhino fairly easy since you already know something about the way surface modeling programs work as opposed to solid modelers like SolidWorks. You just have to get used to using planes and dimensioning everything.


Eventually you will need to learn one nurbs modelling software an one parametric.

I suggest Rhino. For ease of use and design freedom use rhino. If you are starting out, you dont want to struggle in the software.

For a solidworks type parametric software, i suggest you lean Pro-E wildfire instead. It more powerful and robust, than solidworks, and almost every engineer in the world is using proe.

We went with Solidworks and Rhino for a long time, but in the last 3 years Rhino has stayed the same and SW dropped the ball.

If you look at ProE Wildfire, you get A class surfaces that are far more parametric than Alias though occasionally slower to construct the first time.
SW still can’t do A class surfs, and they cant get 3d drawing to snap to anything useful without misinterpreting the spline. Wildfire does this less elegantly than the 4-windows of Rhino, but far better than SW.

Plus, Wildfire has the Alias-like warp box that again is far more controlled and repeatable than SW’s deform.

Pro concept is still a mystery to me, but I appreciate the effort, Since Alias got bought by the devils at Autodesk, and SW is resting on their laurels, I say go PTC’s Wildfire with the advanced interactive surfacing.

If you are a student I think Journeyed has it for a good price.

A good student trick is to use the demo’s of other renderers to do what wildfire can’t, but mostly for our business we take rough models, screen saved as tifs, and add details in a quick art program like Photoshop or Alias Sketchbook. Only when a client approves a concept do we finish off the 3d model we already made our “sketches” from, saves everyone time.

my rule though, is never gamble with another man’s money, try 'em all out at a college or with demo’s first, Wildfire is a little harder to learn than SW or Rhino, but far easier than Alias. Still if you hate it, you won’t ever use it, I’m left handed and right brained it makes sense to me but my friend can’t get his head around anything but 4 window Rhino, …if anything, buy whatever the school doesn’t have so you will look more experienced than your classmates when internship/ job app time comes along.

-good luck

You can take a look at this SOLIDWORKS — All Products | SOLIDWORKS

I think both products are just great!


If you plan on doing product design then I would learn Rhino AND SolidWorks, possibly something else like Pro/E, but thats up to you. The first two will get you where you need to be.

If you plan on going into something like retail design / environmental / POP / architectural or similar, then you will need to learn AutoCAD and a program capable of creating high quality renderings. I currently use AutoCAD with 3D Studio and an assortment of plugins.

I also know a lot of studio designers that use SketchUp 5 pro to do their rough designs and it is very, very fast. Even for product design you can beat it for the speed.


You can get a free, limited-save version and learn it now. It’s relatively straight-forward. Most importantly it’ll get you designing. More than most, as both an IDer and engineer I’m into CAD. But for students getting into ID the idea of spending time learning a tool when they should be learning design doesn’t make sense to me. You can learn the CAD tools later. Learn to design first using a tool that doesn’t interfere with that learning process.