After introducing our brand new platform a few weeks ago, it’s now time to unveil the new version of our Grasshopper plugin. This time we made sure to tackle some of your most requested features such as new import and export file formats, a new attribute system, a plethora of new components, downloading and updating via Rhino’s Package Manager and much more.
Read along to learn more about these features and make sure to leave us any comments or feedback via our Support Forum! Let’s get started.
The ShapeDiver plugin v1.9 includes the following features:
1. Download & Update Using Rhino’s Package Manager
The versioning nightmare is over. The last legacy version of the ShapeDiver plugin (1.7) and all the future ones will now be included in the package manager, making it easy to download, update and also go back and forth between versions.
In order to switch to the package manager, make sure you clean your current ShapeDiver installation.
If you have used the installer, it should be straightforward to uninstall it. In any case, make sure to clean all files related to an older version of the plugin.
You should then be all set up to launch the package manager from inside Rhino using the "PackageManager" command.
Search for ShapeDiver in the "Online" tab and download the latest version, or any other version you need there. The package manager might ask you to restart Rhino after the operation is completed.
You can also directly use the link from our Food4Rhino page.
2. Completely Redesigned Set Of Components
This new version contains a lot of new components, but even the old ones are getting some "love" via new icons and some cosmetic updates. We believe the new visual language makes it easier to differentiate components and account for the many new functionalities that are now included in the plugin.
3. Import Any Rhino 7 - Compatible Format Using The New Import Geometry Component
The new Import Geometry component (only available in Rhino 7) makes use of Rhino 7's headless import command and is therefore now compatible with any file format that Rhino can import as a Rhino document.
You can access the full list by double clicking on the component and checking the available formats there. Additionally, imported geometry comes with some of the properties that were included in the imported document, depending on the ones available in each file format. This metadata is available and can be extracted using the new Attribute system that we talk more about in a below section.
Read more about the Import Geometry component.
4. Advanced Export Options & New Supported Export Formats
The "Download" components of the plugin have been updated to replace the file format input with a full export options object that exposes most of the export options available when exporting files from Rhino. In order to define those options, the plugin now includes a set of "Export Options" for various file formats, including new ones such as 3ds and 3mf. More file formats are coming in the near future.
Read more about the list of supported file formats for export and the available export options for each of them.
5. New Attribute System
In the new plugin, every object manipulated in your definitions can be assigned one or several attributes. An attribute is essentially a piece of metadata attached to the object, in the form of a key-value pair. It is similar to the User Text entities you might be familiar with in Rhino. However, ShapeDiver attributes can take virtually any data type supported in Grasshopper: numbers, strings and colors, but also geometry can be used as attributes. This flexibility is reflected in the sdTF file format we use for transferring structured data between clients.
The applications of the attribute system will be multiple in the near future! Here are a few things that you can already do with them:
Extract names, layers, colors and other standard attributes from the geometry contained in the documents imported using the new "Import Geometry" component.
Attach those same attributes and include them in documents exported using the "Download" components.
Attach materials to each object before display. As a consequence, it is now much more flexible to work with a high number of materials, even using a single Display component.
You will notice a brand new "Attributes" category of components as part of version 1.9. They are all helper components that should help you extract existing attributes from geometry and attach new ones before exporting or displaying them.
We are still working on the documentation of all the new functionalities, but you can already find some information about how to use the new Import component (https://help.shapediver.com/doc/Import-Geometry.1858043917.html) along with the attributes components.
Read more about the Attributes system.
6. New Display Component & Support For glTF 2.0
On top of the traditional ShapeDiver display component, the new plugin includes a "glTF 2.0 Display" component that can be used along the new "glTF 2.0 Material". Using this component, the assets created for display are 100% compatible with the glTF 2.0 material specification. They can be used in the ShapeDiver viewer but also any other viewer supporting this format, either by retrieving them using the API or directly by right-clicking on the Display component and clicking on "Save glTF 2.0". Notably, these new components are the only way to build and export glTF 2.0 files from Rhino, using all the material properties available for the format.
You will notice that the old "ShapeDiver Display" and "ShapeDiver Material" components are still included in the plugin. We decided to keep them for a few reasons:
These components do not build single assets including materials but separate smaller assets, which has the advantage of slightly faster material updates than when working with single glTF 2.0 files.
The texture representation in the glTF 2.0 is very efficient and optimized, but most designers still work with textures corresponding to the ones exposed by the "ShapeDiver Material" component. For example, most texture repositories online still give separate metalness and roughness textures, whereas glTF 2.0 merges those in a single metallicRoughness texture, which is not yet widely used.
For these reasons above, we decided to keep both options in the new plugin and let users decide on the optimal one depending on their use case.
Read more about the Display Components and their respective advantages.
As mentioned in our platform announcement blog, we have completely reworked all of our tech stack from the ground up. This makes us more nimble when adding new features (and fixing bugs!). This also applies to our plugin.
We are working on some great updates that we can’t wait to share with everyone, so make sure you keep in touch with the blog and/or social media channels (especially LinkedIn) and check Rhino’s Package Manager every once in a while to see if an update is available there! As usual, if you have any questions, comments or simply want to say hi, our team is ready to assist you via our Support Forum.