View Full Version : modo In Focus Videos

Leonardo Vega
12 December 2007, 11:21 PM
I don't know if this is a bug in 301 or what, but I'm following the rendering video (which is #8) carefully... but I noticed the tire or alloy rims never appear shiny (no matter how high I crank up specular highlight) in my render, preview-render or in one of my viewports.

I noticed in the video, the materials look flat too, but then at a certain spot (in between time 14:06 - 14:10) the video cross-fades and *poof* everything looks appropriately shiny.

Any ideas?


p.s. 301 seems to be a little buggy, I sure hope it gets more stable soon. Was 203 this buggy?

Mike RB
12 December 2007, 05:48 AM
I haven't seen the video, but post some images or a scenefile and I'll take a look.

Leonardo Vega
12 December 2007, 11:29 PM
Well I kept poking around and I noticed the light in the scene (provided by the training video) had "Affect Specular" set at 0%, so I cranked it up to 100% and it seems to be fine now.

Btw, does anyone recommend any other training videos? I like their shoe and car videos, but not sure which, if any, to buy.

Love the displacement/painting tools! :D This app is like LW (minus character animation, particles, dynamics, etc), ZBrush and FPrime!

Btw, how do you compare to ZBrush to Modo? Pretty similar? Any reason to still get ZBrush?

- Leo

Mike RB
12 December 2007, 01:37 AM
All of the Andy Brown tutorials for modo are great.

As far as Zbrush goes... It's a way more powerful sculpting app. That's its only job, and it does it well.

However, having sculpting built into a full 3d package is pretty useful. We've used it for adding damage and weld seams to armor, and for sculpting crashed car panels. Very handy. Also the fact that it drawing bump maps in the viewport and you can paint super fast on them is an added bonus as you don't always need sculpting.

Glad you're enjoying it. IT should feel like LW a little, it is the same developers who started LW.

Leonardo Vega
12 December 2007, 08:42 PM
Do you feel ZBrush has so much more to offer that it valids someone picking up modo and ZBrush? I just want to paint displacements, bump maps, color, etc.

I know modo has scuplt tools that allow you to quickly move pts (like a soft selection) around, making it fun and easy to sculpt and edit your models. Does ZBrush do this too?

I'm a bit confused to be honest as to what choice of apps to buy. I'm a hobbyist that wouldn't mind getting into character animation in the future, but for now just wants to focus on modeling, texturing, painting, lighting and rendering. My budget is around $1000. At the moment I own Cinema 4D Studio R8 (not too happy with it's modeling abilities, it is rather old now).

I thought about these...

A) Lightwave (Companion Upgrade $500) + ZBrush = $1100.00

B) XSI FND + ZBrush = $1100.00

C) modo = $900.00

D) Silo + Messiah + ZBrush = $1100.00

Each has it's good and bad points making it really hard to pick.

Option "A" was going to be my choice, but LW crashes a lot on my PC and I can't get the same results I do with modo (render wise).

Option "B" appeared to be my ideal choice, but at the moment XSI has a DLL conflict with another app I use (plus Mental Ray intimidates me a bit).

So, then I came option "C", which seemed like a one stop-shop.

From your experience, can you give me some suggestions?


Leonardo Vega
12 December 2007, 08:53 PM
One last question...

When working with displacements maps, in modo's videos it says that the level of detail is dependent on the image resolution. But doesn't the mesh need to be subdivided several times to achieve all that fine detail?

I couldn't never understand displacement maps correctly :)

I know you can work with the mesh (pose it, animate it, etc) at the low sub-D level, but at render time... wouldn't a 100,000 poly mesh, turn into a 1,000,000 poly mesh to achieve the details, causing slow renders?

From my understanding, displacement maps actually move vertices...

Whats the difference between normal maps, bump maps and displacement maps?

Mike RB
12 December 2007, 04:29 AM
I work at a studio and we use 'all of the above' in our work. However, modo is really starting to shine as a one stop shop for a lot of things.

Modo draws displacements in the viewport as a displaced sub-division surface with a simulated bump on top to capture the small details the level of division misses. This gives a good approximation of the detail actually in the displacement image. It also lets you dial the divisions up and down for quick feedback when sculpting while still maintaining the fine detail in the bump. At rendertime modo dices up the geometry so that (by default) there are no edges in your model longer than one pixel in camera space. This is called 'micropoly displacement' and does generate millions or even billions of polygons. However since they are so small and generated at rendertime per bucket modo can handle tons of them at a very low cost to memory and rendertime.

That being said, XSI foundation covers 'everything'. So you can just stay in XSI from start to finish. Although there is no sculpting you don't really have to leave. Especially when you get to animating your characters as modo does not yet have character animation tools.

At work we have modo, lightwave, xsi essentials, maya, and zbrush at our disposal. And we use modo to model.

Mike RB
12 December 2007, 04:31 AM
Whats the difference between normal maps, bump maps and displacement maps?

Displacement maps move verticies and work best with micropolygon renderers, normal and bump maps do essentially the same thing which is simulate surface details by warping the light as it hits the surface, just in different ways (normal maps can 'bend' the light on the surface farther and in more specific ways).

Mike RB
12 December 2007, 04:46 AM
I sculpted this in modo. It's a plain sphere displaced out that shape (the eyeballs are seperate meshes). As you can see in the viewport currently it's an SDS surface displayed at less then 60,000 polys. When it renders it gets diced up to 1,500,000 polygons and still renders in less than a minute with GI using only 130 Mb of ram for the geometry.

Mike RB
12 December 2007, 04:58 AM
Here is 2 GL viewports side by side with the displacement on in both, with the same level of division (100,000 polys). However the viewport on the left has the bump display turned on for the displacement, so in the GL view it draws as a fine bump, letting you see and sculpt the fine details without having to displace and draw millions of polys in the viewport. At rendertime they get diced up and displaced into real geometry. See above image.

Leonardo Vega
12 December 2007, 02:05 PM
Great info! Thanks a lot. Is the "bump" simulation for displacement drawing just for the "Advanced OpenGL" option? On this lame laptop, I can't use the Advanced OpenGL viewport, so I don't see a lot of the detail.

Also how do you compare XSI's renderer to modo's (in the sense of ease of use, speed and final render)?

So if it weren't for your character animation needs, do you feel you would use XSI still (having modo already)?

I used XSI 4 FND trial a while back, and though I liked it, I know rendering was not really fast and a bit hard for me. But I know I could uninstall my conflicting app and get XSI trial to work again, but not sure how much I really NEED it, with modo as a new option for me.

If you model and render in modo... and XSI just for character animation, then I don't think I would need XSI now. Once I learn well how to model, uvmap, paint, render... then I will go into character animation (probably a year from now and who knows what app is out by then).

- Leo

Mike RB
12 December 2007, 02:56 PM
The bump drawing happens with the advanced gl mode. And yes, we use XSI primarily for character animation and mocap work.

And currently mental ray is more capable than modo's renderer, but not faster.

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