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Rhinoceros - GDL Converter - FAQ

Akos Karoczkai

What is the Rhinoceros - GDL Converter?

The Rhinoceros® - GDL converter enables users on Windows platform to export a model created in Rhino, and import it to ARCHICAD (to both Mac and Windows platforms). The Rhino-ARCHICAD link converts Rhino model elements into ARCHICAD GDL objects. To download the free plugin for Rhinoceros® to export models from Rhino into ARCHICAD, see the Rhino interoperability site on The plugin for Rhinoceros® and the LCF Observer Add-on for ARCHICAD is just the first step to improve the interoperability between Rhinoceros and ARCHICAD.

When should I save GSM object from Rhino?

Use the GSM export from Rhino if you would like to export small-sized, individual objects (eg. a piece of furniture). Try to strive to keep the polygon count of an element low (maximum 10.000 polygons for single objects). To import this GSM file into ARCHICAD you don't need the LCF observer Add-on installed into ARCHICAD. It is recommended to place these GSM library parts in the Embedded Library because these are usually smaller objects and don't increase the size of the project, even if they are included in the Embedded Library.

When should I save LCF file from Rhino?

Use the LCF export for a large group of  more detailed objects. A single LCF file (Library Container File) contains many GSM object files. Use the LCF Observer ARCHICAD Add-on to place the objects from the LCF file and/or to update already placed instances of them. It is recommended to use the LCF files as Linked Libraries because this way, the objects don't increase significally the size of your ARCHICAD project.

Why can't I update my Rhino imported objects with the LCF Observer?

The Rhino LCF Observer does not update my Rhino imported model elements after reloading the ARCHICAD Libraries then Refreshing and Updating the elements in the LCF Observer. The issue is that Rhino cannot overwrite .gsm or .lcf files while they are in use by ARCHICAD since the file is locked.
The workaround for overwriting these files is to either close the ARCHICAD project or unload the Library which we would like to edit from Rhino.

Is there a plugin for  'Rhino for Mac'?

Since 'Rhino for Mac' is an ongoing development project of Robert McNeel & Associates®, GRAPHISOFT cannot develop a plugin for it yet.

Can I export my ARCHICAD model to Rhino?

It is possible to import and export .3dm files with the Rhinoceros Import/Export Add-on for ARCHICAD 18 and 19. This feature is a built-in functionality in since ARCHICAD 20.

Can I adjust the resolution/number of polygons of my Rhino objects in ARCHICAD?

The resolution (the number of polygons) of an object can only be adjusted/modified in Rhino.

Can I edit Rhino models in ARCHICAD?

To change the objects' geometry, you can convert the imported GSM/LFC objects into Morphs which can be natively edited in ARCHICAD.

Can I import textures from Rhino?

Importing textures from Rhino is not supported at the moment. You have to apply textures/surfaces to the imported objects in ARCHICAD. To do this open the settings dialog of the Object and override the used surface under the 'Custom Settings' or the 'Model' tab

How can I improve ARCHICAD's performance with Rhino objects?

  • The update/regenerate of some objects can be slow in Floor Plan view. This happens because the 2D view of objects imported from Rhino are actually projected views (the GDL parameters use project2 command in the 2S script). To reduce the slowness Open the GDL editor, delete the 2D script of the GDL object and write 'fragment2 all,1' and create a 2D symbol from a top view.
  • Review your objects, maybe it would be useful to import some objects as LCF through ARCHICAD's LCF observer.

Can I filter my Rhino elements in ARCHICAD?

Yes, you can search Rhino imported library parts with the Find&Select tool of ARCHICAD. We added a plus entry to these elements imported from Rhino in the  Tags&Categories - IFC properties tab of objects - the 'Rhino Layer' property. These properties can be used by ARCHICAD's Find&Select tool.
In the Find&Select tool you have to add an IFC Property to the criteria (Select the Rhino Layer in the dialog). If this criteria is added you can search objects by their Rhino Layer name and can modify these objects together (eg. you can edit the texture override of multiple elemens with just one click).

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