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Review: MODO 701


By Jahirul Amin


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Date Added: 24th September 2013
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Ever wondered if MODO could be right for you? We asked Jahirul Amin to check out MODO 701 from a new-user's perspective, to help you suss it out!


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Product: MODO 701

Company: The Foundry

Website: www.thefoundry.co.uk


Key features:


* Fully featured to go from modeling to final render
* Advanced polygonal and subdivision surface modeler
* Super-fast render engine and preview render. Unique interface

Star Rating: 5/5


Thanks to the kind folks at 3dtotal.com, over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to take the latest version of MODO out for a spin. Coming from a Maya background, how did I find this latest release from The Foundry? Read on to find out...

When you first open MODO – or any 3D package for that matter – the first thing you'll probably want to crack is navigation. Now, to be honest with you, getting to grips with navigating in MODO didn't come as easily as I'd anticipated. It was a bit like the first time I opened up ZBrush: my brain just would not compute. However, once you get the hang of it, you will definitely see its benefits.

The combination of the Trackball and the Work Plane allowed me to comfortably stay in the perspective viewport to do the majority of my work, as opposed to needing to duck in and out of the orthographic views. I must admit: the more time I spent with MODO, the more rewarding I found the style of the viewport navigation. And in any case, it's nice to see that the development team have not just followed the usual run-of-the-mill viewport setup that you'll find in the majority of other 3D packages.

Looking around the MODO interface, you'll find that, to begin with, you are only presented with the modeling and sculpting tools. Now you may be thinking: 'Where are the rest of the buttons? Where are the cool tools? I thought I could do more than model and sculpt!' And you are right. You can do a lot more than model and sculpt. MODO has been designed so you can take advantage of the best tool to perform any one particular task.

"...through some form of crazy, geeky voodoo, it was as if they knew how I like to operate! They knew what attributes I like on display when I animate. They knew which windows I like on display as I'm lighting and rendering. Clearly someone had actually sat down and thought about how the package could allow for better productivity..."


If you are rigging, then you will be in the Setup module; if you are animating then you will utilize the Animate module, and so on. To switch between these modules, you can use the default tab setup, or by holding Ctrl and tapping Tab you can quickly navigate between the modules. Not only will you be presented with a different set of tools as you switch between the modules, but the layout will also update to help support the task in hand.

This, for me, was fantastic, as through some form of crazy, geeky voodoo, it was as if they knew how I like to operate! They knew what attributes I like on display when I animate. They knew which windows I like on display as I'm lighting and rendering. Clearly someone had actually sat down and thought about how the package could allow for better productivity without constraining the user to a particular workflow.

"One moment you could be sculpting, the next you could very quickly throw in some HDRI, add a couple of shaders and get some test renders happening. Now, I'm more than aware that this is possible in any other application but the speed in which you can do it in MODO is like nothing else"


You could work in your own, sweet organic way and it would support you in doing so. One moment you could be sculpting, the next you could very quickly throw in some HDRI, add a couple of shaders and get some test renders happening. Now, I'm more than aware that this is possible in any other application but the speed in which you can do it in MODO is like nothing else.

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Switching between the modules

Back to modeling and sculpting, MODO offers some pretty fantastic tools for creating assets; these tools actually do what you'd like them to do. Let me clarify: in other packages I've used in the past, you'll perform something like a Bridge operation, connecting one or a multiple set of edges to another, and sometimes you'll get the result you wanted, but at other times you'll get an imperfect result that requires fixing manually. You'll probably say to yourself afterwards: 'I should have just done it my bleeding self!'

The tools in MODO, on the other hand, seem very predictable and reliable, even on a more complex object. One of my favorite features was the Edge Weight Tool, which creates an amazing, controllable sharp edge without distorting the UVs, made possible by MODO's use of Pixar's Subdivision Surfaces (PSubs). The selection methods are also far superior to many other packages. Selecting loops of edges, every other polygon face or growing selections couldn't be easier.

On top of all this, MODO has its very capable sculpting tools and by converting your geometry to a ‘Multiresolution Mesh' (again, using PSubs) you get a toolset that allows you to create your low-res and high-res assets all in one package. Saying that, I'm impressed by the attitude of the MODO team, who are not trying to force users to sculpt in MODO solely. Instead, they support the idea of creating workflows that utilize the user's preferred package for doing a particular task. So if you fancy sculpting in ZBrush or Mudbox, there is no reason why you can't; you just then bring that sculpt back into MODO to finish up.

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 221034, pid: 0) Devin on Tue, 24 September 2013 8:53pm
One note - Instead of having the graph editor/dope sheet pop up as a separate window and obscure your opengl view, you can also toggle it to extend up from the bottom animation controls by clicking on one of the green/gray icons on the top right of the bottom controls.
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(ID: 221005, pid: 0) Gonebadfx on Tue, 24 September 2013 3:56pm
Very nice review of Modo. Thanks.
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