C4D-er trying out Modo...



I just downloaded the trial version of Modo, played around with it and I’m quite amazed at how powerful a modeler it is. However, coming from nearly over a year with C4D I can’t seem to get up to speed with it so I’ve got a few questions here:

1- Is there a way to patch-model ‘C4D-style’? What I mean here is to draw 3 or 4 splines then use the spline patch plugin to fill the space between them with a poly/nurbs patch; is there something like that in Modo? Or am I doomed to learn poly modeling? (Actually I like the way Modo does it; C4D poly modeling was plain hell :stuck_out_tongue: )

2- Am I missing something here or Modo really doesn’t have pre-set Shape Splines? Like arcs, stars, circles, etc?


I have Modo, Cinema 4D and Silo. I have the most experience using Cinema 4D but I felt I needed a more able modeller and probably more specifically a way to paint displacement like z brush. Modo and Silo don’t compete with Zbrush or Mudbox from what I can see, but for the times that I need something like this they are pretty useful. For instance I was modelling a leather sofa and just wanted to sculpt some randomness to the shape and put in some creases here and there. Modo handled this well and I was able to create a great UV map very easily with it.

The funny thing is that I like different tools in each app. I love being able to model symmetrically in both Silo and in Modo and you can even “heal” the symmetry of a model if need be with a tool in Modo. You can’t do this in Cinema unless you make one side of a model and then place in a symmetry object. The Surface tool in Silo is a killer. It’s the easiest way to create polys and is very intuitive to use. It combines a lot of tools like bridge edge extrude etc into one thing. Modo feels like a modern app and has good time saving features like selecting patterns of polys. I also like Modo’s renders, and for the price of it you get a great GI engine thrown in.

But in terms of all round ability I go with C4d every time. When I have things I need doing in a hurry I almost always end up there. I guess if I give it more time I will eventually get to know Modo a little better but for now it’s a secondary tool in the tool chest.

all the best



I used c4d since it was XL5 up till 8.5 version, but it didn’t offer me much that I was interested in with the subsequent upgrades and now its far too expensive to upgrade for what I want -£1600. The material system in c4d is very good and there are a few good modelling tools, but the hypernurb system isn’t a patch on what Modo can do. Renderwise Modo knocks spots off c4d/AR- quality wise and certainly speed wise. Modo is quite odd to learn after using more mainstream apps, but its worth persevering and taking the time to understand.

I think the general consensus of opinion is that c4d is far too expensive for what it does compared to other apps out there. Modo is less than half the price of c4d, but produces superior images- obviously Modo is primarily a modeller with a very good renderer attached. Animation is a work in progress and is basic currently.

Martin K


additional infoMe too, I stopped upgrading Cinema and got Modo. I agree with you on the different approach in Modo but quite often I have the feeling that Modo’s way is more logical and better constructed from the start. Cinema has become too complex as far as the use of several modeling tools are concerned. So for modeling, Modo is in my opinion the winner.
The way you build your own tools, the interactive fall-offs, all those things are very handy indeed. And I love the lay-out.

For rendering it’s much better than Cinema’s renderer before rel11, and even now, I am told, it offers better SSS and even, for those who like to imitate the limitations of photography and call that “reality”, DOF. Yet I can’t compare as I never used rel11 and its re-built renderer.

But Cinema has the Hair module, the best hair on the market. It has particles, cloth, great plug-ins, it has VRay, Maxwell and Fry bridges, it has what has evolved out of the Smells like allmonds materials, enhance noises,… . It has good splines etc etc. So I’ll never dump it, or even consider it not as good as something else. Every app has great things and things that are handier in another piece of software.

On animation, which I don’t use (my first cinema was the “6-Art” version), I guess Cinema is the winner. On Motion Graphics also.

But I do agree on the autodesk-like upgrade policy.

To return to the topic: I guess you’ll have to acquire a use of poly-modeling. Watch Andy’s Modo in focus movies and get his spotlight series. Start with the third one. It’s a mind-opener. And don’t forget you can Ctrl (or Cmd) + K click in Quicktime and slow down the speed if it’s too fast. (was for me the first time)
Then, to answer your question on splines: yes, it can be done in Modo In the LeMans series of tutorials, Andy explains how. If you’re not interested in the complete set, you only have to get video 4 from the first series. It’s done with the curves and the join verts tool.


Modo is incredible value for money and still c4d is not totally standalone, especially in the modelling dept. Importing mesh from Rhino/ViaCad is a real problem unless you purchase Polytrans or have the engineering version of c4d. The upgrade policy might need looking at in the near future with very tough economic times upon us… Not sure if I would upgrade anyway as Vs 8.5 does most what I require from c4d, and I started back looking at Electric Image, which is another app very reasonably priced with great render qualities.

Martin K


I love C4D also. Started with Maya, and then for my last contract in broadcast graphics I found C4D the best - alongside with After Effects. The Mograph module is absolutely invaluable. I tried to do similar tasks in Maya, which would provide countless hours of overwhelming frustration - and zero results. Nothing on the market compares with Mograph in C4D - and also the interoperability with After Effects.

However, as for modeling I prefer Maya over C4D. C4D modeling… I don’t know why, but it frustrates me. I’m going to give the 3D Total Joan of Arc Character modeling e-book a whirl before I give up on C4D in my modeling workflow. However this brings me to Modo.

I’m about to start purchasing learning materials for Modo, and am not sure which way to go. There is an offer for New modo 302 DVD and Guide Book Combined Offer - for $179. But there are also individual tutorials for sale that cost $25.

I’m not sure which way to go…

One thing that has me sold on Modo for use in a solid modeling pipeline is that it was used for Wall-e movie. Out of the box, unaltered for much of the modeling instead of Maya.

I’ve heard it’s not used in most studio production, but I don’t know… I can see it gaining ground especially if Pixar is using it. So it doesn’t seem like a waste of time invested…

I just don’t want to pay $200.00 for learning material on an app I don’t have any xp with.

Can anyone vouch for that learning material offer bundle?


Don’t spend all your cash on tutorial stuff for Modo, it’s not really necessary. Luxology TV hosts many useful tutorialvideos which teach you small but valuable info, other stuff you can learn from the included manual and the rest from the users on the forum or here on CGTalk. Besides tutorials aren’t really necessary for Modo, the program is so easy to get started with, the basics will you pick up in a couple of hours on the first night you spend with it. The rest will come as you spend more time with the program. Modo is by far the easiest most logical 3d software i ever worked with besides Cinema4D.

Save your pennies for something better instead :slight_smile:

/ Magnus


Both the DVD & the book are fairly basic, but as a newcomer you may find them useful. The tutorials by Andy brown are quite advanced and mainly cover modelling although aspects of lighting and UV editing are also covered. I think the tutorials are cheap and well worth the money as Modo has its own way of doing things and they aren’t always obvious.
Although there are very many free videos, many subjects aren’t covered or just glossed over. Re the so called reference/manual- it’s not always easy to find what you want, sometimes frustratingly so. Pivot points and the use/editing of being one case.
Having said that, there is a lot of material to look at, and quite often one finds things by accident whilst looking through it all.
Certainly the SDS modelling in Modo is better and much more well featured than c4d- its worth looking at the tuts to get your head around the very many modelling techniques you can apply.
With c4d, modelling is probably its weak point, although some of the much maligned so called ‘nurbs’ tools are incredibly useful (they aren’t really nurbs, but are based on an editable nurbs spline which gives great flexibility in creating and altering shapes derived from them) The c4d hypernurbs seem fairly good up to the point you use Modo where you realise that maxons developers are first and foremost engineers and not really artists.

The Modo render is better and much quicker than anything c4d has to offer, AR or not.
However if you just want to raytrace c4d is a reliable workhorse and it never crashes. It’s really difficult to weigh up the pros and cons of each app leaving aside the huge price difference. The texturing system in c4d is excellent and much better featured than Modo, but again actual render output quality in Modo is better than c4d.

Martin K


I agree with Martin.
Modo is easy to use (in 3Dspeak) but when you come from another application and you got some baked habits, you often end up with a “Indeed, this is easy. Now why didn’t I think about it?”

Andy’s movies are very good.

I got the “Spotlight” series and the “Le Mans car”. Both are well worth the investment. It’s by watching an experienced user’s workflow that you often get the “aha” experience.

“Spacebar to drop the tool”


Hi Erik, yes I found it well worthwhile getting some of Andy Brown’s tuts and there is a free camera tutorial which is very revealing in many aspects.

With SDS modelling you do need a very large repetoire of ‘tricks’ to get through some jobs- like mixing sds mesh with non sds mesh in the same object as it were. Currently I had what looked to be quite a simple object- a rounded edge pyramid projecting out of a rounded edge cube basically, with the lower part of the cube curving away… I failed to produce this using just sds, but Modo will round plain mesh without having to subdivide it, although some rounds need repairing in places. I was able to select the lower portion of the cube shape and sds that to produce the curve I mentioned previously. This all took some time to get to and to be truthful the solution was tried as a last resort…

To be honest you can learn more about what’s possible in SDS modelling from Modo than from the tutorials that are available from Maxon. (there are very few modelling tuts from Maxon- apart from some quite good character/face tuts) In cinversity for example there is one quite pathetic tut for modelling a plastic shampoo bottle…) Unfortunately in c4d you don’t have the same topology management conveniences that Modo posseses.

I’d add that modelling characters is less technically demanding than a lot of hard surface objects which inevitably need bevels and rounds. The skill in character modelling is more artistic and about personal judgement.

Martin K


I’ve seen 3dkiwi hanging around the luxology forums so you should pop in there for tips.


i feel a bit guilty for saying Maya is a better modeling tool than C4D. Now that I have more experience with modeling in C4D, (from the Joan of Arc character modeling e-book from 3D Total…)

I don’t see how it’s any different -better or worse- than Maya. They both behave nearly identical when it comes to poly modeling. The “box modeling” workflow requires lots of extrusions and pushing and pulling points along axis or normals. functions like selecting loops and rings, and drawing and splitting polys, merging faces and points…

My verdict is that C4D is completely equal to Maya for modeling. The one thing I liked about Maya was the many hot menus and hotkeys that help speed up this laborious process with polys. But C4D can be customized to have the same hotkeys and contextual menus to jump around rapidly while shaping an object without clicking buttons all over the interface a million times… (havent set up the hotkeys, but am sure it can be done)

and mus0u, the spline patch plugin seems awesome theoretically. being able to quickly draw your contours with the pen tool for really smooth shapes… I am considering purchasing this plugin because it seems like it would make modeling in C4D as the best option I’ve seen… (particularly for vehicles and products that don’t deform)

so that leaves me to dive into Modo, if Modo’s poly modeling process is better than this “pushing and pulling points for what seems like an eternity” - only to yield imperfect results…

I was going to start with the concept car tutorial and then the cartoon character tutorial - for $50 seems like a worthwhile investment if I can save time in the long run with modeling.

And Martin K, what was the comment about hard-surface modeling being more difficult than organic? Is Modo weak for hard-surface modeling?


No, it isn’t. But any 3D app will want you to push and pull verts, edges and polys. One can indeed, for example, use the auto levels, contrast and colors commands in Photoshop, but that way the real power of the application is overlooked. You create things, not the app.

The way you describe things, why not try a real nurbs modeler like Rhino?


I think all SDS modellers are ‘weak’ with ‘hard surface’ modelling compared to Nurbs modellers like Rhino. I jump between Rhino & Modo currently… that’s not to say you can’t do everything in a modeller like Modo, but you do need quite a lot of skill I’d say. One thing- Modo is very efficient as a modeller, compared to using imported Rhino mesh- it’s just the way Rhino creates mesh compared to being able in Modo to put the density where you need it. Object creation tends to be more economic in Modo owing to the flexibility/editability you don’t get in a nurbs modeler.

Doesn’t Maya have nurbs? Cinema doesn’t obviously…

Martin K


Yes I love the C4D with Mograph and the way it works great with After Effects. I started with Electric Image and then got training on Maya. Then I discovered C4D and once you start getting the hang of xpresso the power starts to come out. I have liked the looks of modo and want to add it to my tools.


pixelpimp I couldn’t recommend Modo more. It’ll take you little to no time to get up to speed, and the payoff is huge.

Martin K I agree with you, I’ve had a difficult time with hard surface modeling in my library of apps - all SDS. I’ve found it an incredible challenge to model vehicles like spaceships with specific smoothness and specifically shaped bevels in certain areas - I’ve struggled with the edge weighting/ piling on edges and loop flow for hours on end. Maybe I need to check out Andy’s Le Mans C9 tutorial to further grasp the workflow… http://www.luxology.com/store/training_series01.aspx

there’s also this interview with Rich Hurrey of Pixar talking about hardsurface with Modo… http://www.luxology.com/training/video.aspx?id=207 - so I guess it can be done :slight_smile:

However, Rhino seems like a better (easier?) app for this type of work. Maya has NURBS but I found it strange and unintuitive.

How is the learning curve with Rhino? I’m also a Mac user… I would need to work with the early builds… maybe it would be worth it. Or maybe I just need to “get it” with hardsurface and SubDs. In terms of organic modeling though, Modo is the perfect app imo.


I agree that Andy’s tutorials are very good.

Must add that I also like the product shots by Dan Alblan. For a real beginner, he’s easier as he explains more the intermediate steps and the why of his actions.



Rhino is pretty easy to learn up to a certain level… It has a very good on screen help system which is tied to which ever tool you select. There are lots of tutorials about at all levels and quite a lot of stuff comes with the app.
I tend to do most modelling in Modo or formerly in c4d Hypernurbs, but have always had Rhino or ViaCad as a standby for cetain things that are better suited.
With Modo it’s a good idea to get all the tutorials and work your way through them, which is what I’m doing- allbeit slowly…

Martin K


Hey Erik, do you think those videos from Dan are fitting for someone that is beyond beginner? I am still getting my head around rendering, but I am getting there. These look like a good deal.

P.S. I do mostly product renders … so I guess it makes sense.


Yes, they will.
It’s not easy to write this, because Andy is Modo’s champion, but Dan shows trick, creates problems and solves them in a way that you really feel inspired.

He goes deeper into the why, tells why something is ok, but also why something else is better. To me these are azbsolutely worth the investment, and I’ll aslo buy next serie without having to think twice.