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Introduction to 3D Modeling

Build your design skills and learn how to use Rhino software to create and edit amazing 3D models

915 enrolled on this course

object modeling
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    6 hours

Grow your knowledge of design and 3D modeling

On this four-week practical course from the University of Michigan, you’ll not only learn how to use the Rhino software to create your 3D models, but you’ll also gain basic design skills to help bring your imagination to life.

Discover Rhino software as a 3D modeling and design tool

This course will guide you through 3D modeling within Rhino, so you’ll cover the fundamentals of the software as well as 3D modeling in general.

You’ll first look at how to navigate the user interface and the different tools that you’ll be using to create models throughout this course. You’ll familiarise yourself with the 3D space and 3D objects before jumping straight in to create your own objects and building blocks.

Improve your design skills to conceptualise better 3D models

Design is a vital part of 3D modelling. You can be a master of the software but if you aren’t aware of fundamental design concepts, you won’t be able to truly unleash your potential.

You’ll build your basic design skills by looking at line, shape, form, and space, before creating and editing 2D line forms that you’ll transform into patterned mandalas and 3D tile wall designs.

Complete your design toolkit by learning 3D rendering and 3D printing formats

This course will guide you through the concept of profile modeling and will allow you to utilise 3D surface and 3D solid modelling tools to create and edit more complex designs.

To round out your foundational knowledge, you’ll dive into 3D rendering and creating 3D printable models. Then, once you’ve completed each step of the course, you can bring your newfound skills together into one final 3D modeling project.

What topics will you cover?

  • Understand the fundamentals of Rhino as a modeling/design tool
  • Use, understand and customize of the user interface
  • Basic design skills with line, shape, form, and space.
  • 2D drawing and curve editing
  • 3D surface modeling from profiles and editing
  • 3D solid modeling

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Demonstrate the ability to navigate the user interface, create standard solid models, and utilize the Gumball tool for transforming those forms into more complex assemblies
  • Apply knowledge of the Boolean Modeling techniques to create subtractive spaces from solid forms
  • Demonstrate the ability to create and edit 2D line forms
  • Design planar surfaces and extrude 3D forms
  • Produce patterned mandalas and repetitive 3D tile wall designs utilizing elements of transformation & array tools
  • Develop 3D models of given and found household objects utilizing techniques and tools that explicate the concept of profile modeling, putting into practice learner's geometrical understanding of objects as assemblies, axis, symmetries, and sections
  • Explore a series of surface modeling tools to create and edit more complex forms
  • Apply various elements created throughout the course into one final assembly
  • Design and construct a designed 3D construct that explores a ‘Kit of Parts’ methodology

Who is the course for?

This course has been designed for anyone interested in 3D design and learning how to use 3D modeling software. You don’t need any previous knowledge or experience to benefit from this course.

It will be particularly useful to Architects, Designers, Engineers, or anyone studying in these fields.

What software or tools do you need?

Rhinocerous 3D offers a free, full version, 90-day evaluation for Windows and Mac. After 90 days a purchased license will be required to save files or use plug-ins. Before beginning the installation process, be sure to check that your machine meets the minimum system requirements to run Rhino as described on Choose the appropriate link (Windows or Mac) on the page and follow the instructions to complete the installation process by visiting

Who will you learn with?

I'm an associate professor of architecture at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, where I conduct research/courses in computation and digital fabrication.

Who developed the course?

University of Michigan

As the #1 public research university in the United States, U-M has been a leader in research, learning, and teaching for more than 200 years, with 102 Grad programs in the top 10 — U.S. News & World Report (2019).

  • Established

  • Location

    Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA
  • World ranking

    Top 30Source: Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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