Animal CAD

I always wondered why Robert McNeel & Associates have named all their software after animals. Their NURBS modeling software is called Rhinoceros. Flamingo is their photorealistic rendering plug-in for Rhino. Penguin is their sketch/cartoon rendering plug-in for Rhino (and AutoCAD as well). Bongo is their animation plug-in for Rhino. It’s no surprise that their workgroup license managing software is called the Zoo.

How all this came about is as interesting as their software. Apparently, McNeel had another name for Rhino but were having trademark problems with it. The in-house code name for the project was Rhino, based on one of the programmers having a poster on the wall of the Dürer woodcut of a Rhino (see image below). Since they couldn’t use the other name and they wanted to get the beta out, they stuck with Rhino. It worked well for them since nobody forgot the name or confused it with other 3D products. So they just kept using more animal names.