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Baltazaar
11-06-2008, 12:27 AM
I've just been using Modo for a couple of days now, and all though it took some time (as in hours, not months) getting used to, I must say, I can't imagine modeling somewhere else.
The best modeler I've tried as of yet!

Fit's right into my XSI pipeline...
The pricing is also very reasonable.

Good work Luxology.

benmillion
11-06-2008, 05:03 AM
agreed

I've spent the past several weeks modeling using Modo and I've achieved results I've never been able to get for YEARS - using Maya or C4D (no disrespect to those apps). The modeling toolset and workflow is incredible and fast.

I'd like to get deeper into Modo, as I think the renderer is superior to most. Many of the renders I've seen out of Modo are on par with VRAY or even FRY Render.

It's too bad though, because I've been discouraged from learning Modo. I've been told by industry experts that it's not used in most studios. However, I feel the application is so valuable and reasonably priced that I think it would be good to demand studio's to start using it (if I got hired).

I'm curious as to which studios currently employ Modo in their pipeline.

I've heard the Embassy (in Vancouver) uses it. Also Pixar in Bay Area... I wonder who else, specifically in Hollywood/ Santa Monica/ Culver City, etc... (Los Angeles)

And again, I think it's primarily praised for it's modeling specific capabilities. So I'm not sure if someone who is "really good at Modo" would be valued as much in this economy/ industry as someone who's "really good at Houdini". (this is just my negative thinking out loud- please excuse me) or valued as much as someone who's "really good at that generalist app which practically has a monopoly - Maya..."

Erik Heyninck
11-06-2008, 06:16 AM
Itis indeed a very intuitive modeler, much more artistic than most others that are more engineer-like.
The renderer is quite capable and OK for most things, but there are some area's that can be improved (and will be) like caustics etc.
I find its weaker point its materials. It is there where it can't "compete" with, on expert level, Fryrender or Maxwell.

rsquires
11-06-2008, 06:27 AM
I like modeling in Modo a lot too. I have C4D and Silo and it's tool-pipe workflow allows you really to model the way you want to, rather than the fixed tools of other apps. I am still learning it really but I do find it a very useful addition to my toolset.

However I find the texturing although some might call it intuitive less than satisfactory. I come from a C4D workflow where I drag materials to objects and it just works. There are some useful things about the layering system Modo employs but I find myself fighting it rather than enjoying the workflow which is never a good sign.

I think it's a great app for the money and the renders it produces are really good and more importantly fast.

As to it being adopted by studios, I think if a person was hot stuff at Modo I am sure people would employ them. Software is just an instrument and it's the people who use it that make it sing. I don't think it will ever have the hold that Maya or Zbrush have but it is in use in movie studios, no doubt for previz, and modelling.

all the best

rich

Baltazaar
11-06-2008, 07:24 AM
It's too bad though, because I've been discouraged from learning Modo. I've been told by industry experts that it's not used in most studios. However, I feel the application is so valuable and reasonably priced that I think it would be good to demand studio's to start using it (if I got hired).

Wouldn't worry about this. Modo's advantages is quickly being recognized, and as the import/export of common formats gets better for every release and the industry finally tends to get more standarized as of what file format in use, it's actually becoming quite common to have a hybrid tool pool, as there are so many artists that can do wizardry in very little time, given the right tools!

A nice flow I use is Modo for modeling, .obj out to touch-up in zBrush and .obj'ing into XSI for rig, animate, skin, scene setup/FX and render. Then it's off to compositing. For simple compositing XSI's built in composer works, other times it's useful to use some After Effects or similar.

Don't see any of this getting in the way of getting a paycheck some day...


Chris

Martin Kay
11-06-2008, 10:41 AM
agreed

I've spent the past several weeks modeling using Modo and I've achieved results I've never been able to get for YEARS - using Maya or C4D (no disrespect to those apps). The modeling toolset and workflow is incredible and fast.

I'd like to get deeper into Modo, as I think the renderer is superior to most. Many of the renders I've seen out of Modo are on par with VRAY or even FRY Render.

It's too bad though, because I've been discouraged from learning Modo. I've been told by industry experts that it's not used in most studios. However, I feel the application is so valuable and reasonably priced that I think it would be good to demand studio's to start using it (if I got hired).

I'm curious as to which studios currently employ Modo in their pipeline.

I've heard the Embassy (in Vancouver) uses it. Also Pixar in Bay Area... I wonder who else, specifically in Hollywood/ Santa Monica/ Culver City, etc... (Los Angeles)

And again, I think it's primarily praised for it's modeling specific capabilities. So I'm not sure if someone who is "really good at Modo" would be valued as much in this economy/ industry as someone who's "really good at Houdini". (this is just my negative thinking out loud- please excuse me) or valued as much as someone who's "really good at that generalist app which practically has a monopoly - Maya..."

The results from much of the work from Modo speak for themselves... It's a great modeller a very good fast GI render and pretty easy to use at a sensible price point. I'm personally not overwhelmed by the texturing system and it takes some getting used to, but again, look at some of the top work being turned out. Modo is being taken up by loads of studios- if you want to get ultra technical it may not have absolutely all the features of some GI renderers, but like c4d it gets the job done (a lot better than c4d I hasten to add!)

Martin K

Baltazaar
11-06-2008, 12:05 PM
Modo is being taken up by loads of studios- if you want to get ultra technical it may not have absolutely all the features of some GI renderers, but like c4d it gets the job done (a lot better than c4d I hasten to add!)

Martin K

Well, comparing C4D Studio and Modo302 would be like comparing a potato to a complete dinner... It's two totally different tools. C4D is a complete studio for modeling, painting (body paint), advanced layered non-linear animation, rigging, specialFX, fluids, hair and fur, well, you get the point.

Modo is primarilly a modeller with a renderer. It has basic consept of time, but I wouldn't try to use it as a production system for a animated movie...

You can't get the best of all in one package. Thats why it's reasonable to use the best tool for a given situation. For modeling, texturing and rendering stills Modo does a great job, and thats what most Modo users want and need.

Export the .obj and do advanced animation etc elsewhere...

Martin Kay
11-06-2008, 11:02 PM
Well, comparing C4D Studio and Modo302 would be like comparing a potato to a complete dinner... It's two totally different tools. C4D is a complete studio for modeling, painting (body paint), advanced layered non-linear animation, rigging, specialFX, fluids, hair and fur, well, you get the point.

Modo is primarilly a modeller with a renderer. It has basic consept of time, but I wouldn't try to use it as a production system for a animated movie...

You can't get the best of all in one package. Thats why it's reasonable to use the best tool for a given situation. For modeling, texturing and rendering stills Modo does a great job, and thats what most Modo users want and need.

Export the .obj and do advanced animation etc elsewhere...

Yes, I agree with most of that. I wasn't aware that c4d had a 'complete' modeller though... the toolset has hardly changed in any significant way since version 7 or 8.

Martin K

3dj
11-07-2008, 03:53 AM
Yes, I agree with most of that. I wasn't aware that c4d had a 'complete' modeller though... the toolset has hardly changed in any significant way since version 7 or 8.

Martin K
Hi Martin, I know you are very familiar with C4D, I remember you from the post forum days ... anyway, I would say C4D is a complete modeler, the updates have been subtle, but they have updated it, I remember 9.5 having the big modeling update.

With that said, I am doing more and more of my modeling in Modo. I have fallen in love with it really, can't beat those fall offs and the bend or the flex tools. Some of which I have heard made fun of as marketing hype, but really, if one tries it, you can't deny the power.

On top of that, there service is top notch in my experience, and a great community too.

-Jim

Baltazaar
11-07-2008, 07:12 AM
Modo keeps on impressing me. This night I fiddled with the imagebased sculpting tools. Just awesome, man...

This is now my modeler of choice for both polygonal and surface modeling, and with the image based painting tools, it starts to make its way into becoming a sufficient detailing and skinning application as well!

Ordered my permanent license yesterday...

Just impressive. Just did my first test render of a WIP from a tutorial, and even the renderer is full featured and fast, with micropolygon surface scattering GI and tons of cool lighting parameters... Modeled and lighted in ten minutes... (low res)

Martin Kay
11-07-2008, 10:40 AM
Hi Martin, I know you are very familiar with C4D, I remember you from the post forum days ... anyway, I would say C4D is a complete modeler, the updates have been subtle, but they have updated it, I remember 9.5 having the big modeling update.

With that said, I am doing more and more of my modeling in Modo. I have fallen in love with it really, can't beat those fall offs and the bend or the flex tools. Some of which I have heard made fun of as marketing hype, but really, if one tries it, you can't deny the power.

On top of that, there service is top notch in my experience, and a great community too.

-Jim

Hi Jim, I've done fairly large modelling projects in c4d, but have had to use Rhino for odd bits and just about got away with the occasional hickup with import. I never upgraded from 8.5. I wish Modo had the texturing 'tree' that c4d has, but overall I much prefer Modo.
Postforum died a death for me- too much flaming, although I suppose it was quite entertaining at times. You're not 'Jimbo' from the 'free for all' forum are you?

Martin K

3dj
11-07-2008, 02:16 PM
Hi Jim, I've done fairly large modelling projects in c4d, but have had to use Rhino for odd bits and just about got away with the occasional hickup with import. I never upgraded from 8.5. I wish Modo had the texturing 'tree' that c4d has, but overall I much prefer Modo.
Postforum died a death for me- too much flaming, although I suppose it was quite entertaining at times. You're not 'Jimbo' from the 'free for all' forum are you?

Martin K
Hi Martin, nope, I've always been 3DJ ;-) and yes, it's a shame what happened to the good old post forum ...

I'm still trying to get my head around the shader tree in Modo, I'm getting there. I do have to say, I think Modo has the best UV tools out there, to me everything you try to do in BP is alot of work, in Modo, it just does what I expect it to.

-Jim

Martin Kay
11-07-2008, 02:27 PM
Hi Martin, nope, I've always been 3DJ ;-) and yes, it's a shame what happened to the good old post forum ...

I'm still trying to get my head around the shader tree in Modo, I'm getting there. I do have to say, I think Modo has the best UV tools out there, to me everything you try to do in BP is alot of work, in Modo, it just does what I expect it to.

-Jim

Yes the Modo shader tree takes some time to get used to and all the info you need is here, there and everywhere (manual wise I mean). Unfortunately it's also occasionally a bit buggy, or doesn't do what you think it should do, or doesn't repeat a set up consistently, but as you say the UV set up is good and I suppose that's Luxology's main thrust.

Martin K

benmillion
11-07-2008, 04:38 PM
the UV tools in Modo look - to me - like a comparison between Headus and Maya. I would definitely do the UV-ing (fun) part in Modo - but I would definitely do the painting in BodyPaint (even though I hear Modo's painting tools are really good?). I also heard they work similarly to BodyPaint where you can paint on seams (Projection Painting) - and possibly most importantly can work in layers and export them as Photoshop layers...

i havent heard of image based sculpting, that sounds interesting. is that like ZBrush style? where you're painting with bitmap brushes to create SPB?

webhead
11-18-2008, 04:56 PM
I'm curious as to which studios currently employ Modo in their pipeline.

I've heard the Embassy (in Vancouver) uses it. Also Pixar in Bay Area... I wonder who else, specifically in Hollywood/ Santa Monica/ Culver City, etc... (Los Angeles)

Some other studios that have used Modo: Sway Studios, DNA Productions, Massive Entertainment, and Zoic, just to name a few.
http://www.pluginz.com/news/5085?genre=1
http://www.pluginz.com/news/4528
http://architosh.com/news/2006-08/2006a0825_modo-wic-game.html
http://www.3dm3.com/forum/f50/zoic-selects-modo-drive-effects-work-8940/

shushens
11-18-2008, 05:31 PM
My 3D package of choice is still XSI. I started with C4D, and did not do well at all, eventually moved to XSI, and got stunning results in just a few days (I was a novice, so getting results within minutes was out of the question anyway even if I knew what does what). Recently tried Modo and Blender and they both have impressive features. But you know, other people's homes sometimes look cooler than you own after a first look, but you maynot want to go live there. Same thing happened with me and Modo. Modo is the shiny thing that I try once in a while, and respect, and speak highly of. But if all I have is one software for a high res. still render, and I have to show cutting edge result in no time, I do not want to end up with Modo alone.

Fact remains, very few (if any at all) people here use Modo exclusively. No matter how highly they speak of it, Modo remains auxiliary. It has a lot of things, but the control system makes it difficult to put it all to good use. It took me no time navigate in Maya, Max, or even Blender. I did not know the shortcuts, I just found them out in a minute or two. In Modo, I already knew them. Still handling my geometry on the screen seems so difficult! A lot of things it is doing so much more than I want. Selecting and making transparent and flashing... I do not want that stuff. If I ask for a stick, that means I want a stick. I do not want a stick that is also a hidden knife, a high velocity rifle when the parts and re-arranged, with a hidden flamethrower, and a gas cutter, and a secret parachute.

See my point?

They keep adding new wow features everyday, but I remain in XSI.

Doug816
11-18-2008, 07:29 PM
See my point?

They keep adding new wow features everyday, but I remain in XSI.

No, analogies don't always work when you ramble on like that.

torijinsir
12-07-2008, 06:39 AM
I am a 3dmax user but recently fall in love with xsi and modo. Both of them are great, but modo 's control just drives me crazy while I switch between max,xsi,modo.

Martin Kay
12-07-2008, 09:44 AM
My 3D package of choice is still XSI. I started with C4D, and did not do well at all, eventually moved to XSI, and got stunning results in just a few days (I was a novice, so getting results within minutes was out of the question anyway even if I knew what does what). Recently tried Modo and Blender and they both have impressive features. But you know, other people's homes sometimes look cooler than you own after a first look, but you maynot want to go live there. Same thing happened with me and Modo. Modo is the shiny thing that I try once in a while, and respect, and speak highly of. But if all I have is one software for a high res. still render, and I have to show cutting edge result in no time, I do not want to end up with Modo alone.

Fact remains, very few (if any at all) people here use Modo exclusively. No matter how highly they speak of it, Modo remains auxiliary. It has a lot of things, but the control system makes it difficult to put it all to good use. It took me no time navigate in Maya, Max, or even Blender. I did not know the shortcuts, I just found them out in a minute or two. In Modo, I already knew them. Still handling my geometry on the screen seems so difficult! A lot of things it is doing so much more than I want. Selecting and making transparent and flashing... I do not want that stuff. If I ask for a stick, that means I want a stick. I do not want a stick that is also a hidden knife, a high velocity rifle when the parts and re-arranged, with a hidden flamethrower, and a gas cutter, and a secret parachute.

See my point?

They keep adding new wow features everyday, but I remain in XSI.

Whether you use Modo exclusively or not probably depends on whether you animate or not. For stills production it's hard to beat I think. I'm using Modo pretty exclusively now as a ex c4d, EI user- plus a few other ex things.

Martin K

shushens
12-07-2008, 10:18 AM
Depends on the outlook, actually.

While a lot of people express their problems in a very copybook fashion, like Modo's animation tools are not mature enough, and XSI has far superior character animation, even people who never touched any of these can tell those.

My personal issues are a little different. While someone is bothering about morph targets or extracting transparency map from PNG, I am cool with that. But hitting spacebar deselects a tool but also changes selection mode from vertices to edges or from edges to polygons, this is giving me a hell lot of trouble. Right clicking on an edge while I am selecting vertices changes selection mode to edges. I was trying to find how to turn it off, did not have much luck. I actually asked some people here about it. So far, no helpful info.

I changed Modo mouse behaviour to XSI style. That disabled all keyboard shortcuts involving Z and S. But still hitting Z could not zoom. I removed Z from modifier list and undo function came back. But there was no way I could bring back save. But, the funny thing is, S is associated with some animation function, and if you quickly tap S and let go, you will see that function is still associated. Changing to XSI style did not disable that one.

It may sound stupid to some, but not all the problems people face are of grave technical significance, but those tiny things can still ruin your workflow!

And that is the reason even after watching so many tutorials, I am not getting quite easy with Modo.

I do not know about other people, but I never had to ask such questions about XSI. For the first time, I had to find the shortcut keys. And that was it. I have not seen many others asking about it either. Some Maya lovers did say "I hate XSI!" but when I asked why, they did not answer.

Don't get me wrong. I love Modo. I know it has great power. Otherwise I would not be writing all this. I feel bad because some simple interface problems are keeping me from using the software full fledgedly.

shushens
12-07-2008, 10:37 AM
Whether you use Modo exclusively or not probably depends on whether you animate or not. For stills production it's hard to beat I think. I'm using Modo pretty exclusively now as a ex c4d, EI user- plus a few other ex things.

Martin K

Did you try Modo with a scene involving strong DoF and a few foreground stylish transparent glass objects? I would really be interested to know what you think about that.

Because Modo gave me a hard time with it.

Martin Kay
12-07-2008, 06:33 PM
Did you try Modo with a scene involving strong DoF and a few foreground stylish transparent glass objects? I would really be interested to know what you think about that.

Because Modo gave me a hard time with it.

I'll try something like that and see...


(http://www.martinkay-3d.com/Modo/dof_glass.html)

Martin Kay
12-10-2008, 09:18 AM
Did you try Modo with a scene involving strong DoF and a few foreground stylish transparent glass objects? I would really be interested to know what you think about that.

Because Modo gave me a hard time with it.

Glass with dof- quite long render times though...



http://www.martinkay-3d.com/Modo/dof_glass.html

Also this from Tim Cooper:
http://www.luxology.com/gallery/image.aspx?id=3622

Martin K

shushens
12-10-2008, 03:48 PM
See the noise when you see the ball through the glass? Is it totally photorealistic?
We can make it look like high ISO grain on digital images, which may actually add to the photo's appeal sometimes, but what if you wanted to get rid of it?

Here is what I tried:

http://visualdeceptions.deviantart.com/art/Golden-Bliss-104795930

I tried a lot of things. Could not get rid of the noise.

P.S.: Let's leave Tim Cooper out for the time, because I have neither his experience, nor his calibre yet :P

Martin Kay
12-10-2008, 10:46 PM
See the noise when you see the ball through the glass? Is it totally photorealistic?
We can make it look like high ISO grain on digital images, which may actually add to the photo's appeal sometimes, but what if you wanted to get rid of it?

Here is what I tried:

http://visualdeceptions.deviantart.com/art/Golden-Bliss-104795930

I tried a lot of things. Could not get rid of the noise.

P.S.: Let's leave Tim Cooper out for the time, because I have neither his experience, nor his calibre yet :P

Well the noise is evident in Tim Coopers image also- its relative to the sampling level you set. Careful work in photoshop would remove it totally by subtle bluring .3 of a pixel or something like that.

Martin K

Doug816
12-14-2008, 03:47 AM
Some other studios that have used Modo: Sway Studios, DNA Productions, Massive Entertainment, and Zoic, just to name a few.

Zoic is heavy Lightwave and DNA went under a few years ago.

RageOfAges
12-18-2008, 06:27 AM
I have a love-hate relationship with MODO. I've been using it off and on since 201 came out. I was taught 3d using Maya, then made the jump over to XSI. For the past 8 months or so I`ve been working nearly exclusively in Modo, as my contracts have been mostly for stills or simple animations. The introduction of sculpting built right into the modeling tools was an incredible addition for simple tweaks. As far as I'm concerned though, they could have simply added something like a softmod brush like in Maya. Modo can`t handle the poly level that Zbrush can, and I feel much more comfortable sculpting in an App specifically designed for this purpose.
The addition of animation in Modo was prety cool, but very basic. It can be used for simple animations but anything else is just pointless in my opinion.
I remember when I first launched modo and followed the tutorials on 3dgarage I was blown away at how efficiently you could accomplish what you envisioned. The tools are magnifiscent, action centers and falloffs invaluable to achieving the look you want. These things alone made me not care about the bugs that popped up every now and then. Now that I'm no longer infatuated, however, these bugs are begininning to be more and more annoying. It seems like its just sloppy code to me, but I know nothing of programming so I can`t say for sure.
Here's one example that has been getting to me lately. when you turn symetry on (let`s say accross the x axis) and selct a point then select a transform tool ( move, scale or rotate), sometimes the manipulator shows up on the + X, and sometimes it shows up on the - X. This seems to be completely random and while it may not seem to be a big deal, I find it destructive to my concentration. If I select a point on the right side of a face and expect to move it left, but all of a sudden the manipulator is on the opposite side and I have to move it right, it still takes a moment to reorganize your brain. If the manipulator ALWAYS showed up on the +X side, or -X, it would be much better.
There are a hundred little bugs like this that randomly pop up all over the place during a modeling session and over time (months) of using the software they start to get quite annoying.
I find the render engine to be prety cool and fast for some things, but I also find it painfully slow at other times. I find it very easy to make something simple look REALLY good at render time with relative quickness. Problem is, features like GI are faked in the modo render engine. I don`t know the details but using a renderer like vray or Mentalray, you're getting physically accurate results. I also don't like the idea of a single shader controlling the look of your entire scene. you can add more if you like, but then you have to juggle where which shader will be in the shader tree and it's really easy to get confused when you have 200 objects each with their own shaders and materials and textures and so on and so forth. The node-based system in Xsi I find is much easier to understand. Every object can have it's own shader tree which is really easy to read in the material editor.
That being said, I still use Modo exclusively for modeling because A) at this point I'm more familiar with it's modeling tools than any other app, B) it's cheap C) they keep improving it with every release. D) the modo community is very friendly and very helpful and finally E) it isn't owned by Autodesk!!

Novakog
12-28-2008, 10:35 AM
So, I will preface my comments by saying that I am an on and off Luxology employee (full-time student most of the year, Lux employee during the summer), so obviously I will be a little biased, but I'll do my best to just speak as a CG artist (also on that note, do not take my comments to represent anything more than my personal opinion). I should also note that this is partially a response to two other threads as well.

The transition to modo for me (I was previously a NURBS guy - originally most proficient in Maya and Rhino) represented, I think, a turning point in my own ability as a modeler and still image artist. Granted, I wouldn't say I am particularly good, but I'm a LOT better than I was in Maya (which I used for years).

I originally jumped into modo and, without any tutorials, I was able to use it in a couple days. Initially, I was enthralled with a lot of cool little things that made the workflow easier. But honestly, after that "grass is greener" stage wore off, I wasn't sure whether modo's SubD modeling was really better than NURBS for most things (it undoubtedly was for organics), and there were a lot of little things that bothered me - in fact what shushens describes is almost exactly how I felt. At that point, since I was working for Luxology, I started following tutorials to try and get a better grasp of modo, but I still didn't feel at home.

After a while though, I realized that the problem wasn't learning modo, it was sort of unlearning (well, more like disassociating from) the way I modeled before. Up to that point, I had even still been using Maya navigation! But once I sort of let go, that's when I really became aware of modo's power. A huge amount of the way it works may not initially be intuitive to people coming from other 3D apps (although I think people who are new to 3D find it easier to understand than other apps), but once you tap that power, it becomes invaluable. At this point, I think that modo may be a little slower than other apps at the initial stages of a model, but once you really understand it, it speeds up the "tweaking" stage so dramatically that it makes up for the effect. The workplane and action center (I think non-modo users are sick of hearing about the workplane and action center) especially make the tiny, crucial adjustments go by incredibly fast. I tend to be very nitpicky about my models, and understanding these elements of modo has allowed me to cut a model time from 10 hours to 2, because I can get "the right shape" so easily. The flexibility of the user interface also majorly streamlines many tasks. I know those three things are sort of the beaten dead horses of modo's advantages, but for good reason.

Ultimately modo is different enough that you'll need to consciously shed any predispositions about how modeling is done to really understand it. I think if you are able to do that, it will take very little time (from a day to a couple weeks, depending on the person) to see why modo is so efficient, but you do have to make that mental plunge. I personally think it's wise to not attempt to use the built in nav presets, as that keeps your brain in a sort of Maya/XSI/Silo/etc. "thinking style", which will only constrain you.

The rendering in modo is, in my opinion, so beautifully simplistic. I've never known that rendering could "just work" so much as it does in modo. It's as close to the "make art" button as you could ask for. I will say that even after years of using modo, I still don't like the shader tree (yes, there are even Lux employees who want node-based shading!), but the manipulation of materials and lighting settings themselves is so easy it would kill me to go back to Maya/MentalRay. UVing also, is unbelievably simple. In Brad's (our president) interview with Rich Hurrey and Jason Bickerstaff (Pixar modelers and "articulators"), one of them made a comment that a Maya guy at Pixar would occasionally ask them to UV stuff for him in modo, because what would take him an hour would take them 30 seconds.

In terms of usage within the industry, my understanding is that almost everywhere, modelers can use mostly what they like. In addition to the names already mentioned, I know modo is used by some artists at Digital Domain and Framestore, and I am pretty sure (but don't quote me on this) that Weta and ILM use it as well.

That said, I will definitely admit that modo has a lot of limitations. Animation is far from fledged out, so currently if you're not a still artist, it is best used in conjunction with another app. If you're not worried about speed, unbiased renderers like Vray, FryRender, and Maxwell can be better (especially for arch-viz) due to their QMC sampling (a note to RageOfAges - much of MentalRay is faked at least as much as modo's renderer. In fact, final gather is based off all the same principles as irradiance caching. The main difference is allowing for programmable shaders, so mray has a lot of "material-specific" shaders that are physically correct like the dielectric shader, but the same physically correct shaders can actually be created just using modo's material editor). Modo's sculpting is not able to handle nearly as many polys as say Mudbox and Zbrush, because it is not designed around its sculpting.

But all of these things are being worked on. And from working inside the company, I know that we do listen a lot to the community. Most of our programmers spend their personal free-time forum browsing, because they really are interested in what the users want. Unfortunately, with a new app, a small company like Lux, and such a varied user base, it's hard to please everyone with every release, but we do our best.

Sorry, I know this is a really long rant from an obviously biased source, but I'm hoping that it allows people to view modo as I do.

Martin Kay
12-28-2008, 03:25 PM
So, I will preface my comments by saying that I am an on and off Luxology employee (full-time student most of the year, Lux employee during the summer), so obviously I will be a little biased, but I'll do my best to just speak as a CG artist (also on that note, do not take my comments to represent anything more than my personal opinion). I should also note that this is partially a response to two other threads as well.

The transition to modo for me (I was previously a NURBS guy - originally most proficient in Maya and Rhino) represented, I think, a turning point in my own ability as a modeler and still image artist. Granted, I wouldn't say I am particularly good, but I'm a LOT better than I was in Maya (which I used for years).

I originally jumped into modo and, without any tutorials, I was able to use it in a couple days. Initially, I was enthralled with a lot of cool little things that made the workflow easier. But honestly, after that "grass is greener" stage wore off, I wasn't sure whether modo's SubD modeling was really better than NURBS for most things (it undoubtedly was for organics), and there were a lot of little things that bothered me - in fact what shushens describes is almost exactly how I felt. At that point, since I was working for Luxology, I started following tutorials to try and get a better grasp of modo, but I still didn't feel at home.

After a while though, I realized that the problem wasn't learning modo, it was sort of unlearning (well, more like disassociating from) the way I modeled before. Up to that point, I had even still been using Maya navigation! But once I sort of let go, that's when I really became aware of modo's power. A huge amount of the way it works may not initially be intuitive to people coming from other 3D apps (although I think people who are new to 3D find it easier to understand than other apps), but once you tap that power, it becomes invaluable. At this point, I think that modo may be a little slower than other apps at the initial stages of a model, but once you really understand it, it speeds up the "tweaking" stage so dramatically that it makes up for the effect. The workplane and action center (I think non-modo users are sick of hearing about the workplane and action center) especially make the tiny, crucial adjustments go by incredibly fast. I tend to be very nitpicky about my models, and understanding these elements of modo has allowed me to cut a model time from 10 hours to 2, because I can get "the right shape" so easily. The flexibility of the user interface also majorly streamlines many tasks. I know those three things are sort of the beaten dead horses of modo's advantages, but for good reason.

Ultimately modo is different enough that you'll need to consciously shed any predispositions about how modeling is done to really understand it. I think if you are able to do that, it will take very little time (from a day to a couple weeks, depending on the person) to see why modo is so efficient, but you do have to make that mental plunge. I personally think it's wise to not attempt to use the built in nav presets, as that keeps your brain in a sort of Maya/XSI/Silo/etc. "thinking style", which will only constrain you.

The rendering in modo is, in my opinion, so beautifully simplistic. I've never known that rendering could "just work" so much as it does in modo. It's as close to the "make art" button as you could ask for. I will say that even after years of using modo, I still don't like the shader tree (yes, there are even Lux employees who want node-based shading!), but the manipulation of materials and lighting settings themselves is so easy it would kill me to go back to Maya/MentalRay. UVing also, is unbelievably simple. In Brad's (our president) interview with Rich Hurrey and Jason Bickerstaff (Pixar modelers and "articulators"), one of them made a comment that a Maya guy at Pixar would occasionally ask them to UV stuff for him in modo, because what would take him an hour would take them 30 seconds.

In terms of usage within the industry, my understanding is that almost everywhere, modelers can use mostly what they like. In addition to the names already mentioned, I know modo is used by some artists at Digital Domain and Framestore, and I am pretty sure (but don't quote me on this) that Weta and ILM use it as well.

That said, I will definitely admit that modo has a lot of limitations. Animation is far from fledged out, so currently if you're not a still artist, it is best used in conjunction with another app. If you're not worried about speed, unbiased renderers like Vray, FryRender, and Maxwell can be better (especially for arch-viz) due to their QMC sampling (a note to RageOfAges - much of MentalRay is faked at least as much as modo's renderer. In fact, final gather is based off all the same principles as irradiance caching. The main difference is allowing for programmable shaders, so mray has a lot of "material-specific" shaders that are physically correct like the dielectric shader, but the same physically correct shaders can actually be created just using modo's material editor). Modo's sculpting is not able to handle nearly as many polys as say Mudbox and Zbrush, because it is not designed around its sculpting.

But all of these things are being worked on. And from working inside the company, I know that we do listen a lot to the community. Most of our programmers spend their personal free-time forum browsing, because they really are interested in what the users want. Unfortunately, with a new app, a small company like Lux, and such a varied user base, it's hard to please everyone with every release, but we do our best.

Sorry, I know this is a really long rant from an obviously biased source, but I'm hoping that it allows people to view modo as I do.


I come mainly from c4d and EI, plus I'm a Rhino user. I love Modo and am still learning it. Yes it's a strange app to get your head around after coming from a number of so called 'conventional' apps. My way with Modo is to take my time and get hold of all the tutorials that are available. The architectural interiors tutorials from Van Digital are a bible of essential information you definitely won't get elsewhere. I know there are reported to be bugs, but I have to say I haven't really had any serious problems with Modo so far...apart from a false start with the symmetry feature which seems fine now...

Martin K

shushens
01-08-2009, 05:08 PM
So, I will preface my comments by saying that I am an on and off Luxology employee (full-time student most of the year, Lux employee during the summer), so obviously I will be a little biased, but I'll do my best to just speak as a CG artist...

First of all, your post was a very good read! I wish I could work like that. I would just love to do that kind of work, it is not about money of course.

It has been repeatedly said in many places that Modo's primordial weakness now is its very rudimentary stage of animation toolset. That may be true if you are an animator, but I am not. So there are other tiny little things I see in pretty much everything which gives me a hard time quite often.

Since I am not a professional, I won't talk myself into vague generalization. I was just trying to make a half eaten pie on a plate. It was meant to be another fun project like most other stuff I have done in the past. To imitate a certain tiling pattern on the pie, I tried to use the cellular texture. To my surprise, what I got is flagstone. To heighten my surprise furthermore, as soon as I assigned that texture as displacement, the cluster of polygons on which I applied it detached itself from the rest of the mesh! I tried different things, but the only way I could get rid of the separation was by setting the displacement value of the material to zero.

It is just one of the oodles of problems I am facing all the time. Since the coverage of documentation of Modo is limited, (and I think it is intentional since you get to download extra videos after purchase and surprisingly the context of those videos are often avoided in the PDF documentation) I almost never find any answer to my questions. I hear from others the Lux forum is very helpful. Sad to say, my personal experience suggests otherwise.

The thing is, I want Modo to prosper just as much as you do. But when everyone talks about how Modo is only incomplete because it lacks the animation features, I fear probably these problems will prevail. Seems like a lot of very serious people come and cerebrate here out loud. How come I never see anyone bring these things up before me, considering I am neither a hardcore professional, nor a student under any discipline that has anything to do with CG?

Chiefly I use XSI. But sometimes XSI does a horrible job modeling certain small and simple things. I can do it still, of course, but wasting a lot of extra time and effort. Modo gets some of those things done real quick and easy, which makes me very happy. But something always comes up which makes me bounce back to my comfort zone, i.e. XSI.

I hope you, and others in Lux through you, heed people like me.

Novakog
01-09-2009, 03:46 AM
First of all, your post was a very good read! I wish I could work like that. I would just love to do that kind of work, it is not about money of course.

It has been repeatedly said in many places that Modo's primordial weakness now is its very rudimentary stage of animation toolset. That may be true if you are an animator, but I am not. So there are other tiny little things I see in pretty much everything which gives me a hard time quite often.

Since I am not a professional, I won't talk myself into vague generalization. I was just trying to make a half eaten pie on a plate. It was meant to be another fun project like most other stuff I have done in the past. To imitate a certain tiling pattern on the pie, I tried to use the cellular texture. To my surprise, what I got is flagstone. To heighten my surprise furthermore, as soon as I assigned that texture as displacement, the cluster of polygons on which I applied it detached itself from the rest of the mesh! I tried different things, but the only way I could get rid of the separation was by setting the displacement value of the material to zero.

It is just one of the oodles of problems I am facing all the time. Since the coverage of documentation of Modo is limited, (and I think it is intentional since you get to download extra videos after purchase and surprisingly the context of those videos are often avoided in the PDF documentation) I almost never find any answer to my questions. I hear from others the Lux forum is very helpful. Sad to say, my personal experience suggests otherwise.

The thing is, I want Modo to prosper just as much as you do. But when everyone talks about how Modo is only incomplete because it lacks the animation features, I fear probably these problems will prevail. Seems like a lot of very serious people come and cerebrate here out loud. How come I never see anyone bring these things up before me, considering I am neither a hardcore professional, nor a student under any discipline that has anything to do with CG?

Chiefly I use XSI. But sometimes XSI does a horrible job modeling certain small and simple things. I can do it still, of course, but wasting a lot of extra time and effort. Modo gets some of those things done real quick and easy, which makes me very happy. But something always comes up which makes me bounce back to my comfort zone, i.e. XSI.

I hope you, and others in Lux through you, heed people like me.

Thanks for your concern, I'll try to address it as best as I can to my ability. Obviously I can't give you a generalized answer about all the problems in modo, but I'm curious about the behavior in XSI with displacements... I know in Maya (at least when I last used it, version 7 I think), displacement would do exactly what you've described. A better example would be to make a cube and apply any displacement texture. Since displacement will simply just move points along the normal, if surface normals are discontinuous (i.e. if the surface has hard edges), the displacement will cause polygons to become disconnected. That happens in Maya, and I suspect it would happen in XSI as well, because there is no "correct behavior": one could merge the displaced vertices at an average point, connect them with a straight line, connect them with a curved line, connect them to their original face position. In the end, it's better to just let the users control the displacement, rather than be constrained by any one path. A simple fix would be for you to use subdivision surfaces instead.

One of the reasons you rarely hear that concern (the displacement one) voiced by professionals or CG students is, I suspect, because they would expect what you described to happen. In that sense, I feel like it's not a modo problem but a problem with CG convention. That said, I actually have heard people note that specific issue before, and the problem of juggling "intuitive" behaviors between CG hobbyists or people new to CG vs. CG professionals is a difficult one.

One of the best ways to deal with that conflict is with documentation, and the dearth of modo docs is a valid (and frequently voiced) concern, and trust me: we are very aware of it. I can also definitely assure you that it is not intentional - we would never sacrifice documentation quality in order to promote training sales; they are independent entities in our view, and to view it any other way is both morally wrong and probably poor business practice in the long run. I must say I am surprised (and sorry) that you haven't found the Lux forum helpful - I feel like that is an unusual view, but I unfortunately can't account for personal experience.

Anyway, I'm hoping that the problems you face will be addressed in the future with better docs, but if something bothers you and you express it (like this displacement issue), there is a very strong chance we will at least notice it. Unfortunately, I think (I'm not involved in the business side of Lux's workings, these are just my thoughts) the nature of the CG app business is that we do have to focus more on professionals and future professionals (especially with the poor economy, I suspect that CG hobbyists will be on the fall), because they constitute more of our customers... BUT there are still a lot of hobbyists. Therefore, I should say that I really appeciate any critiques or thoughts of the software you have, and that we are listening to everyone.

shushens
01-09-2009, 07:37 AM
Thank you for your prompt reply, I beg to differ on the context of displacement behaviour in general though. I am not a very wise old XSI user, but as soon as I observed that behaviour, I switched to XSI to observe how it behaves under similar circumstances. There were some small but ugly looking creases in the area of transition between the two clusters with different displacement settings, but it never looked like two polymeshes are moved close but were never merged together. In fact, in such cases where you are imitating a real world food that looks completely different outside and inside, it can be notoriously difficult to adjust both displacement maps and matterial settings such that the fine separation just closes, neither a little bit more or a little bit less. One easy way out could be to assign one whole map to the entire thing and paint different patterns accordingly, but since I was looking for an easy escape by assigning readymade maps, it wasn't an option really.

I apologize for being rude about the dearth of documentation. I should not have thought of it that way. But after I have seen so many people asking questions about action centres, (Dan Ablan also mentioned in his DVD how it keeps confusing people all the time) when I found pretty much nothing about it in the documentation, yet there were so many videos there on it available for premium users, it drove me to wonder. I am sorry.

I think we are under a little bit of misconception here. I do not consider you a representative of Lux in here. If Lux does have shortcomings, that is definitely not your responsibility, nor is it necessary that you explain for it. I am just considering you a more experienced Modo user than I and connected to the real people who get things done. So I shared my feelings with you.

That being said, Modo is a terrific modeler, and if I had to give XSI up, I would switch to nothing but Modo.

Martin Kay
01-09-2009, 10:09 AM
First of all, your post was a very good read! I wish I could work like that. I would just love to do that kind of work, it is not about money of course.

It has been repeatedly said in many places that Modo's primordial weakness now is its very rudimentary stage of animation toolset. That may be true if you are an animator, but I am not. So there are other tiny little things I see in pretty much everything which gives me a hard time quite often.

Since I am not a professional, I won't talk myself into vague generalization. I was just trying to make a half eaten pie on a plate. It was meant to be another fun project like most other stuff I have done in the past. To imitate a certain tiling pattern on the pie, I tried to use the cellular texture. To my surprise, what I got is flagstone. To heighten my surprise furthermore, as soon as I assigned that texture as displacement, the cluster of polygons on which I applied it detached itself from the rest of the mesh! I tried different things, but the only way I could get rid of the separation was by setting the displacement value of the material to zero.

It is just one of the oodles of problems I am facing all the time. Since the coverage of documentation of Modo is limited, (and I think it is intentional since you get to download extra videos after purchase and surprisingly the context of those videos are often avoided in the PDF documentation) I almost never find any answer to my questions. I hear from others the Lux forum is very helpful. Sad to say, my personal experience suggests otherwise.

The thing is, I want Modo to prosper just as much as you do. But when everyone talks about how Modo is only incomplete because it lacks the animation features, I fear probably these problems will prevail. Seems like a lot of very serious people come and cerebrate here out loud. How come I never see anyone bring these things up before me, considering I am neither a hardcore professional, nor a student under any discipline that has anything to do with CG?

Chiefly I use XSI. But sometimes XSI does a horrible job modeling certain small and simple things. I can do it still, of course, but wasting a lot of extra time and effort. Modo gets some of those things done real quick and easy, which makes me very happy. But something always comes up which makes me bounce back to my comfort zone, i.e. XSI.

I hope you, and others in Lux through you, heed people like me.

Go to the link below for lots of info regarding displacements in Modo! There's a great tutorial from Cristobal. Use the Google translater mentioned in post number 3 or 4.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=186&t=715234

As I've said previously Modo can be tricky to learn- my way has been to get all the tutorials and wade through them. Especially helpful are those of Vandigital (www.vandigital.com) He is shortly producing a lengthy tut that also covers displacement.
Vandigitals Tutorial number 1 covers in depth all you need to know about setting up GI and management of area lights, plus optimising render times etc. There's info here I havent seen elsewhere.

Martin K

PaulS2
01-09-2009, 04:08 PM
Hey Martin,

I don't use Modo near as much as I would like to but when I need a SubD solution it's great. I spent the last few days modeling some organic stuff there and exporting via FBX to EI. I'm using EI for rendering as I need to output at roughly 10,000 X 18,000 pixels and it's the only app I have which can handle that.

Here's my new toy! It's a '67 non-reverse Firebird.

http://homepage.mac.com/sherstobitoff/.Pictures/PRS%20Santana/Firebird.jpg

Martin Kay
01-09-2009, 05:09 PM
Hey Martin,

I don't use Modo near as much as I would like to but when I need a SubD solution it's great. I spent the last few days modeling some organic stuff there and exporting via FBX to EI. I'm using EI for rendering as I need to output at roughly 10,000 X 18,000 pixels and it's the only app I have which can handle that.

Here's my new toy! It's a '67 non-reverse Firebird.



Nice one Paul. Odd version with P90s? Wish I could spend the time with guitars- maybe when I retire... I'm working with Modo currently trying to get a good handle on interior visualisation. There are some top notch tuts around from various sources these days- Van Digital being especially good and with the Google translator, the Eterea stuff also.. It'll be interesting to see how EI comes out of this 'economic downturn'. Modo GI interiors are quite slow to render even with 8 cores and I'm wondering how EI will fare in this direction in the future- well obviously not so good as it doesn't utilise multiple processors.

Hope you have plenty of work and are not playing guitar too much! Where's your gallery now?

Martin K

PaulS2
01-10-2009, 05:35 PM
The Non-reverse Firebirds were pretty common with P90s. They're easily my favorite pickup for their smooth fat toneI play a couple hours a day but nothing serious...mostly after I am done my work or while a render calculates.

I had done/viewed most of the tutorials but not using it as much the last 6 months I forgot a lot....especially key stokes. I'll have to review things.

Yeah, EI sure doesn't get me too excited over their current development and lack of multi-threaded camera. Though, nothing else can touch this size of raytraced image it is currently rendering out. There are some aspects of the app which are so good it's such a shame it is so under-developed.

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