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What to expect from MODO 801

By 3dtotal staff

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Date Added: 7th May 2014

One of the community's favorite pieces of 3D software has just got even better. Here's the rundown of the new features of what to expect from MODO 801...

Mike Campau uses real-life photography in conjunction with MODO to create amazing marketing images
Image courtesy of Mike Campau

The key to MODO's success is its versatility. It's a 3D package which is used in diverse environments such as architecture, 3D art, film-making and videogames. As it's an all-in-one piece of software it can do pretty much everything you need, so you won't have to fire up third-party software to create stunning pieces.

Its latest version, MODO 801, adds even more to the mix than ever before: nodal shading, new deformers and better hair and fur, on top of a bunch of little tweaks to make the software even more impressive and intuitive. In fact, there are so many new and cool features that we won't be able to cover them all here; nevertheless we'll guide you through some of our favorite bits and bobs...

A new clay brush makes it easy to add fine details, such as realistic wrinkles

MODO has its roots in one of the first 3D applications to deliver broadcast-quality graphics: LightWave 3D. Developed by many of the same engineers, the first version of MODO was released 10 years ago, and has since found its way into a lot of different environments, as Adam O'Hern, a product design guru, testifies:

"We work with brands to create compelling product photography for packaging, point of purchase displays, billboards, print ads, and web 360 views - often long before the physical product is ever manufactured,” he says. "This allows us to start the packaging design and manufacturing process in parallel with product manufacturing, cutting weeks or even months from the total time to market.”

While artist Mike Campau works in a similar role to Adam, he uses the software for creating predominantly 2D art, which is testament to its versatility. "I am digital artist who works primarily in print for large advertising agencies and businesses direct,” he says. "I use MODO for just about everything, from simple 3D type to full-out CGI environments. I combine MODO renders with photography and try to blur the lines of reality.”

This image of a Mercedes Sprinter van was created by Mike Campau using MODO - and nothing else!
Image courtesy of Mike Campau

MODO Nodal

A new feature which has long been a part of other 3D packages is nodal shading. This system means that artists can create complex shaders and materials quickly and easily using a series of connected 'nodes', each of which can be tweaked and turned on or off individually. It makes it really easy to get an overview of what's going on in a particular texture or shader, and you can apply the same setting to multiple objects by connecting the necessary nodes together.

Snapping in MODO has always been very good, and it's especially handy for creating architecture or vehicles with lots of straight lines and right angles. In 801 it gets even better, with the cursor contextually snapping to different surfaces to make selections and manipulation easier. You can specify certain rules for snapping, such as geometry intersections, and then save these rules as a preset.

MODO's also nabbed a few features from dedicated animation packages in 801. Character animation is now even easier thanks to the inclusion of inbetweens and key poses, which smoothly fills in the blanks between your virtual actor's movements. Onion skinning let you see every stage of an animated sequence, and new retargeting controls allow you to apply motion-captured data to differently proportioned creatures and people, and make tweaks to their movement if necessary.

Onion skinning is a great way to see all the various frames of an animation at once, and you can also use it on cameras and lights

"Finally, with these enhancements, I actually feel like I have control”

"I always felt like I was not in control of my animation,” says Brad Peebler, The Foundry's President of the Americas. "And finally, with these enhancements, I actually feel like I have control. You can forget about all the curve blending, all the craziness that comes with traditional keyframe animation.”

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