is a polygon and subdivision surface
A subdivision surface, in the field of 3D computer graphics, is a method of representing a smooth surface via the specification of a coarser piecewise linear polygon mesh...
modeling, sculpting, 3D painting, animation and rendering package developed by Luxology, LLC
. The program incorporates features such as n-gons, 3D painting and edge weighting, and runs on Mac OS X
Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...
and Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...
modo was created by the same core group of software engineers that previously created the pioneering 3D application LightWave 3D, originally developed on the Amiga
The Amiga is a family of personal computers that was sold by Commodore in the 1980s and 1990s. The first model was launched in 1985 as a high-end home computer and became popular for its graphical, audio and multi-tasking abilities...
platform and bundled with the Amiga-based Video Toaster
The NewTek Video Toaster is a combination of hardware and software for the editing and production of standard-definition and high-definition video in NTSC, PAL, and resolution independent formats on Commodore Amiga computers and subsequently on computers running the Windows operating system...
workstations that were popular in television studios in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They are based in Mountain View, California.
In 2001, a rift developed between senior management at NewTek
NewTek, Inc. is a San Antonio, Texas-based hardware and software company that produces live and post-production video tools and visual imaging software for personal computers...
(makers of LightWave) and their key LightWave engineers regarding the notion for a complete rewrite of LightWave's work-flow and technology . Newtek's Vice President of 3D Development, Brad Peebler, eventually left Newtek to form Luxology, and was joined by Allen Hastings and Stuart Ferguson (the lead developers of Lightwave), along with most of the Lightwave programming team.
After more than three years of development work, modo was demonstrated at Siggraph
SIGGRAPH is the name of the annual conference on computer graphics convened by the ACM SIGGRAPH organization. The first SIGGRAPH conference was in 1974. The conference is attended by tens of thousands of computer professionals...
2004 and released in September of the same year. In April 2005, the high-end visual effects studio Digital Domain
Digital Domain is a visual effects and animation company founded by film director James Cameron, Stan Winston and Scott Ross. It is based in Venice, Los Angeles, California...
integrated modo into their production pipeline. Other studios to adopt modo include Pixar
Pixar Animation Studios, pronounced , is an American computer animation film studio based in Emeryville, California. The studio has earned 26 Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes, and three Grammy Awards, among many other awards and acknowledgments. Its films have made over $6.3 billion worldwide...
, Industrial Light & Magic, Zoic Studios
Zoic Studios is a visual effects company based in Culver City, California. They specialize in visual effects for feature films, episodic television, commercials, video games, advertising design, and interactive online media...
Id Software is an American video game development company with its headquarters in Richardson, Texas. The company was founded in 1991 by four members of the computer company Softdisk: programmers John Carmack and John Romero, game designer Tom Hall, and artist Adrian Carmack...
, Eden FX, Studio ArtFX, The Embassy Visual Effects
The Embassy is a visual effects studio located in Vancouver, Canada. The Embassy is known for its photo-realistic visual effects work on commercials and more recently, features....
, Naked Sky Entertainment
Naked Sky Entertainment is an independent game development studio based in Los Angeles. They are a licensed developer for Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and Apple iPhone...
and Spinoff Studios.
At Siggraph 2005, modo 201 was pre-announced. This promised many new features including the ability to paint in 3D (à la ZBrush
ZBrush is a digital sculpting tool that combines 3D/2.5D modeling, texturing and painting. It uses a proprietary "pixol" technology which stores lighting, color, material, and depth information for all objects on the screen...
, BodyPaint 3D), multi-layer texture blending, as seen in LightWave, and, most significantly, a rendering solution which promises physical-based shading rendering, true lens distortion, anisotropic reflection blurring and built-in polygon instancing. modo 201 was released on May 24, 2006.
modo 201 was the winner of the Apple Design Awards
The Apple Design Awards is a special event hosted by Apple Inc. at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The event is meant to recognize the best and most innovative Macintosh and iOS software and hardware produced by independent developers, as well as the best and most creative uses of...
for Best Use of Mac OS X Graphics for 2006. In October 2006, modo also won "Best 3D/Animation Software
" from MacUser
MacUser is a biweekly computer magazine published by Dennis Publishing Ltd. and licensed by Felden in the UK.In 1985 Felix Dennis’ Dennis Publishing, the creators of MacUser in the UK, licensed the name and “mouse-rating” symbol for MacUser to Ziff-Davis Publishing for use in the rest of the world....
magazine. In January 2007, modo won the Game Developer Frontline Award for "Best Art Tool".
modo 202 was released on August 1, 2006. It offered faster rendering speed and several new tools including the ability to add thickness to geometry. A 30 day full-function trial version of the software was made available.
modo was recently used in the production of the feature films Stealth
Stealth is a 2005 American science fiction action film starring Jessica Biel, Josh Lucas, Jamie Foxx, and Sam Shepard. The film was directed by Rob Cohen, director of The Fast and the Furious and xXx....
, Ant Bully, and Wall*E
WALL-E, promoted with an interpunct as WALL•E, is a 2008 American computer-animated science fiction film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and directed by Andrew Stanton. The story follows a robot named WALL-E, who is designed to clean up a waste-covered Earth far in the future...
In March 2007, Luxology released modo 203 as a free update. It included new UV editing tools, faster rendering and a new DXF translator.
The release of modo 301 on September 10, 2007 added animation and sculpting to its toolset. The animation tools include being able to animate cameras, lights, morphs and geometry as well as being able to import .mdd files. Sculpting in modo 301 is done through mesh based and image based sculpting (vector displacement maps) or a layered combination of both.
modo 302, was released on April 3, 2008 with some tool updates, more rendering and animation features and a physical sky and sun model. modo 302 was a free upgrade for existing users. modo 303 was skipped in favor of the development of modo 401.
modo 401 shipped on June 18, 2009. This release has many animation and rendering enhancements and is newly available on 64-bit
64-bit is a word size that defines certain classes of computer architecture, buses, memory and CPUs, and by extension the software that runs on them. 64-bit CPUs have existed in supercomputers since the 1970s and in RISC-based workstations and servers since the early 1990s...
Windows. On October 6, 2009, modo 401 SP2 was released followed by modo 401 SP3 on January 26, 2010 and SP5 on July 14th of the same year.
modo 501, the current version, shipped on December 15, 2010. This new version was the first to run on 64-bit Mac OS X. It contains support for Pixar Subdivision Surfaces, faster rendering and a visual connection editor for creating re-usable animation rigs.
modo's workflow differs substantially from many other mainstream 3D applications. While Maya
Autodesk Maya , commonly shortened to Maya, is 3D computer graphics software that runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS and Linux, originally developed by Alias Systems Corporation and currently owned and developed by Autodesk, Inc. It is used to create interactive 3D applications, including video...
and 3ds Max stress using the right tool for the job, modo artists typically use a much smaller number of basic tools and combine them to create new tools using the Tool Pipe and customizable action centers and falloffs.
modo allows an artist to choose the "pivot point" of a tool or action in realtime simply by clicking somewhere. Thus, modo avoids making the artist invoke a separate "adjust pivot point" mode. In addition, the artist can tell modo to derive a tool's axis orientation from the selected or clicked on element, bypassing the needs for a separate "adjust tool axis" mode.
Any tool can be modified with customizable falloff, which modifies its influence and strength according to geometric shapes. Radial falloff will make the current tool affect elements in the center of a resizable sphere most strongly, while elements at the edges will be barely affected at all. Linear
In mathematics, a linear map or function f is a function which satisfies the following two properties:* Additivity : f = f + f...
falloff will make the tool affect elements based on a gradient that lies along a user-chosen line, etc.
For example, imagine a situation where a flat 8x8 plane must be transformed into a mountain. In Maya, the artist would use the specialized bulge or soft modification tool to raise the center polygons more than the surrounding ones. A modo artist would instead use the basic move tool combined with a radial falloff to ensure that the polygons were raised at differing rates. In this way, modo emphasizes re-usability, meaning that the smaller selection of tools and actions can be combined in ways that mimic a much larger toolset without its complication or memory footprint
Memory footprint refers to the amount of main memory that a program uses or references while running.This includes all sorts of active memory regions like code, static data sections , heap, as well as all the stacks, plus memory required to hold any additional data structures, such as symbol...
modo allows an artist to paint directly onto 3D models and even paint instances of existing meshes onto the surface of an object. The paint system allows users to use a combination of tools, brushes and inks to achieve many different paint effects and styles. Examples of the paint tools in modo are airbrush, clone, smudge, and blur. These tools are paired with your choice of "brush" (such as soft or hard edge, procedural). Lastly, you add an ink, an example of which is image ink, where you paint an existing image onto a 3D model. Pressure sensitive tablets are supported. The results of painting are stored in a bitmap and that map can be driving anything in modo's Shader Tree. Thus you can paint into a map that is acting as a bump map and see the bumps in real-time in the viewport.
modo's renderer is multi-threaded and scales nearly linearly with the addition of processors or processor cores. That is, an 8-core machine will render a given image approximately eight times as fast as a single-core machine with the same per-core speed. modo runs on up to 32 cores and offers the option of network rendering on up to 50 workstations with any number of cores.
In addition to the standard renderer, which can take a long time to run with a complex scene on even a fast machine, modo has a progressive preview renderer. Compared to the standard renderer, it sacrifices accuracy in favor of speed, while still giving a more accurate view of the scene than the typical hardware shading options offered by most 3D programs of modo's caliber. modo's user interface allows you to configure a work space that includes a preview render panel, which renders continuously in the background, restarting the render every time you change the model. This gives a more accurate preview of your work in progress as compared to the typical hardware shading options. In practice, this means you can do fewer full test renders along the way toward completion of a project. The preview renderer in modo 401 offers progressive rendering, meaning the image resolves to near final image quality if you let it keep running.
modo material assignment is done via a shader tree that is layer-based rather than node-based.
modo's renderer is a physically based ray-tracer. It includes features like caustics, dispersion, stereoscopic rendering, fresnel effects, subsurface scattering, blurry refractions (e.g. frosted glass), volumetric lighting (smokey bar effect), and Pixar-patented Deep Shadows.
- N-gon modeling and rendering (subdivided polygons with >4 points)
- Tool Pipe for creating customized tools
- Edges and Edge Weighting
- User specified navigation controls for zoom, pan
- Scripting (Perl
Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming language. Perl was originally developed by Larry Wall in 1987 as a general-purpose Unix scripting language to make report processing easier. Since then, it has undergone many changes and revisions and become widely popular...
Python is a general-purpose, high-level programming language whose design philosophy emphasizes code readability. Python claims to "[combine] remarkable power with very clear syntax", and its standard library is large and comprehensive...
- Customizable User Interface
- Extensive file input and output including X3D
X3D is the ISO standard XML-based file format for representing 3D computer graphics, the successor to the Virtual Reality Modeling Language . X3D features extensions to VRML X3D is the ISO standard XML-based file format for representing 3D computer graphics, the successor to the Virtual Reality...
Key modeling features
- Mesh Instancing
- Mesh Paint Tool
- Solid Sketch
- Edge Slide
- Polygon Reduction Tool
- Reference Layers
- Sketch Bevel
- Loop Slice
- Flex tool (for mesh posing)
- Morph Tool
- N-Gon SDS
- 1-Click Macro Recording
- LUA, and/or Perl; Scripting Engines
- Bridge Tool
- High-Speed OpenGL Navigation
- Extensive Falloff System Including Path and Lasso
- Complete Input Remapping of Mouse and Keyboard
- Smooth UV Interpolation on SDS Meshes
- Integrated Learning System
- Tool Pipe – Enabling new levels of control on falloff and tool customization
Key Sculpting Features
- Multi-Res sculpting based on Pixar Subdivision surfaces
- Mesh-based sculpting
- Image-based sculpting
- Push tool
- Smooth tool
- Carve tool
- Flatten tool
- Fold tool
- Inflate tool
- Smudge tool
- Move tool
- Tangent Pinch tool
- Spin tool
- Emboss tool
- Image ink (sculpt with image)
- Brushes and brush editor/browser
- Spline-based strokes are supported
Key painting & texturing features
- Advanced Procedural Textures
- Control micropolygon tessellation via any one or combination of multiple texture layers
- Real-Time Bump Map Painting
- Procedural Painting
- Parametric ink leverages 3D data to modulate attributes
- Control painting tools with modeling falloffs
- Jitter Nozzle
- Image Based Brushes and Inks
- Shader tree
Key Animation features
modo is not considered a true character animation system, but has many animation capabilities.
- Animate virtually any item's properties (geometry, camera, lights)
- Graph editor with animation curve manipulation
- Auto key option
- Time system can be frames, seconds, SMPTE or film code
- Morph target animation
- Reads MDD files from other animation systems
- Track View
- Inverse kinematics
- Channel linking
- Channel modifiers
- Dynamic parenting
Key rendering features
- Global Illumination
- Physical Sun and Sky
- Advanced Procedural Textures
- Control micropolygon tessellation via any one or combination of multiple texture layers
- Control painting tools with modeling falloffs
- Displacement Rendering
- Interactive Renderer Preview
- Orthographic Rendering
- IEEE Floating Point Accuracy
- Transparency (can vary with Absorption Distance)
- Subsurface scattering
Subsurface scattering is a mechanism of light transport in which light penetrates the surface of a translucent object, is scattered by interacting with the material, and exits the surface at a different point...
- Anisotropic Blurred Reflections
- Instance Rendering
- Render Baking to Color and Normal Maps
- True Lens Distortion
- Physically Based Shading Model
- Fresnel effects
- Motion Blur
- Depth of Field
- Fully threaded (up to 16 threads)
- IES (photometric) light support
- Walkthrough mode provides steady GI solution over range of frames
- Network Rendering on up to 50 systems (no limit on number of cores)
- Numerous render outputs
modo once included imageSynth, a plugin for creating seamless textures in Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems Incorporated.Adobe's 2003 "Creative Suite" rebranding led to Adobe Photoshop 8's renaming to Adobe Photoshop CS. Thus, Adobe Photoshop CS5 is the 12th major release of Adobe Photoshop...
CS1 or later. This bundle ended with the release of modo 301. Luxology has announced that the imageSynth plugin for Photoshop has been retired.
- The Official Luxology modo Guide by Dan Ablan ISBN 1-59863-068-7 (October 2006)
- Le Mans C9 Experience by Andy Brown (video-based modo tutorials) (January 2007)
- Sports Shoe Tutorials by Andy Brown (video-based modo tutorials) (March 2007)
- Wrist Watch Tutorials by Andy Brown (video-based modo tutorials) (April 2007)
- modo 301 Signature Courseware DVD by Dan Ablan (October 2007)
- Seahorse (sculpting) Tutorial by Andy Brown (video-based modo tutorials) (August 2007)
- The Alley Tutorial by Andy Brown (game asset creation) (October 2007)
- modo in Focus Tutorials by Andy Brown (November 2007) Introductory videos and 30 day trial version
- Real World modo: The Authorized Guide: In the Trenches with modo by Wes McDermott (Paperback) (September 2009)