<< A few weeks ago, McNeel released the long-awaited version 7 of Rhino. You would be forgiven for missing the news, since McNeel decided to go for a silent release with virtually no marketing planned around it. As a consequence, we at ShapeDiver were taken by surprise, like everyone else! We had long planned to coordinate the launch of our own Rhino 7 cloud system with its official commercial release. And we do not like to disappoint…>>
Today, after a big development push and a few weeks of coordinating, we are happy to launch our brand new Rhino 7 system (almost) in time! The update comes with big implications for ShapeDiver users. Therefore, despite our excitement, we are trying to plan it with a series of careful steps. You probably have many questions, and we will do our best to answer them below.
1. Why should I Switch To Rhino 7?
Rhino 7 is packed with new features, and several of them come with brand new Grasshopper components that are compatible with the ShapeDiver Rhino 7 system. If you are excited about the new organic modelling possibilities offered by the SubD feature, try out the new SubD components in Grasshopper! Need to clean up or smooth some nasty meshes? The Quad Remesh component is there for you, producing clean quad meshes that will also help with the rendering performance in the ShapeDiver viewer.
Check out below a model made with a single SubD object in Rhino 7:
On top of the new features that can be used out of the box with the new ShapeDiver system, there are a few exciting ones that we will support very soon. First of all, the new headless importer and exporter of Rhino 7 will be supported in the next plugin release, allowing you to import virtually any file format to ShapeDiver, and export new formats by controlling all the export options available in Rhino. Additionally, we are planning to display the new hatch components of Grasshopper in our online viewer as well. Stay tuned!
2. How Can I Try The Rhino 7 System?
Any ShapeDiver user can contact us via our contact form on our website and request their account to be switched to the new Rhino 7 system. We will manually do the switch and you will be good to go! Every new model you upload will automatically be linked to the new system.
At the moment, Rhino 7 is running on a brand new test system. The testing phase will extend until the release of the new platform in 2021. During that time, the Rhino 7 system should not be used for commercial applications but only for testing purposes. We recommend to create a separate ShapeDiver account for testing the system, and to keep using your traditional ShapeDiver account for your daily work.
3. What Happens To My Old ShapeDiver Models?
Your old models will stay where they are, and keep running on the legacy Rhino 6 system. Only new uploads will be linked to the Rhino 7 system. This is a good opportunity to try and re-upload those old models and check that they work with the new system, while making sure that all models embedded in a website or online application stay up and running.
4. What Are The Next Steps After The Beta?
Following the merge of ShapeDiver with Swarm, we are planning a major platform update in the early spring of 2021. On top of many other new features, the new platform will run Rhino 7 servers by default. Read more about the next steps below.
– December 15th, 2020
- The new Rhino 7 test system is rolled out. New and existing users keep using the legacy Rhino 6 system but can try Rhino 7 on request. Contact us!
– Spring 2021
- The new ShapeDiver platform is launched. New users will be linked to the Rhino 7 system by default.
- For Free users, every new model upload will automatically be linked to the new system.
- PRO users will be able to switch between Rhino 6 and Rhino 7 from their dashboard, which will only impact their new model uploads.
- For all users, previously uploaded models will not be altered. They will keep running on the legacy Rhino 5 and Rhino 6 systems.
– End of 2021
- By the end of next year, it will not be possible to upload new models to the legacy system anymore. However, all models will live there forever.
5. Can I Keep Working In Rhino 5/6 While Using The New ShapeDiver System?
At ShapeDiver, we have been running Rhino 5 and Rhino 6 in the cloud for several years. In our experience, every new version of Rhino is almost fully backwards compatible with the previous one. In practice, it means that our users will be able to upload Grasshopper definitions created in Rhino 5 and Rhino 6 to the new Rhino 7 system.
However, keep in mind a couple of details:
- In the past, we noticed some small breaking changes between the versions 5 and 6 of Rhino. It is possible that some differences in behaviour arise with Rhino 7 as well.
- The brand new version of the ShapeDiver platform will come in the spring with many new features in the Grasshopper plugin. The new plugin will only be compatible with Rhino 7. It will still be possible to upload models created in Rhino 6 with the current plugin, but all new features will be released for Rhino 7 from that point.
For those reasons, we of course recommend our users upgrade their local installation of Rhino to the latest version before switching to the Rhino 7 system. The good news is that, as usual, owners of a Rhino 6 license will benefit from a massive discount when upgrading to Rhino 7! You can purchase the upgrade online now, but if you have any doubt you can also try Rhino 7 for 90 days before making the move.
If you do upgrade, make sure to keep Rhino 6 installed! For all the reasons listed above, it is safe to keep Rhino 6 as a backup in case anything doesn’t work as expected in the new version.
… or keep using Rhino 6 with ShapeDiver.
Do you have good reasons not to upgrade yet? No worries! Keep using the legacy Rhino 6 system until the launch of our new platform. By the time of the launch, all Free users will automatically start using the Rhino 7 system. PRO users will still be able to switch between the Rhino 6 and Rhino 7 depending on their needs.