Modo 10


The Foundry has just launched the latest version of Modo: Modo 10.0v1. This not only offers some great new features for 3d art games artists, but also a new upgrade and purchase model as well which could leave some users scratching their heads.

It seems like yesterday when Modo 902 was launched, but the developers haven’t been sitting on their hands; they have just released the next major upgrade, Modo 10, which concentrates on game asset creation.

Wait, what? This is a bit of a misnomer, as in fact the release of Modo 10 is to spread across three mini releases, of which the game-engine-centred tools are part one. It’s still not clear what the focus of 10.1 and 10.2 are, but if you are a Modo owner you can access the Direct Connect part of the forum to see some interesting tech previews, that will give you an idea where things are headed.

But what of Modo 10.0v1? Well there is a raft of new baking tools, as well as a new Game Tools layout, which is my favourite part of the new release. It has quick access to all of the modelling and sculpting toolsets, as well as a new game navigation mode, which lets you explore your assets using the keyboard to give a sense of how it will appear and interact in the game engine, alongside a UV Baking View which updates in real time. Both Unreal and Unity are well supported throughout Modo 10.0v1, in terms of baking assets and placing materials and shaders within the engines themselves. In terms of Subdivision modelling tools, Modo is still best in class no matter how much Autodesk pushes and Modo 10 is a lot more stable than the previous version.

Modo 10 offers a full DCC application for a lot less than Maya and Cinema 4D

However, the weird thing is that although Modo is a comparatively young application compared to Maya, 3ds Max or Cinema 4D, the fundamental UI is starting to feel old.

While this is a good thing in many respects, as it doesn’t break workflows, it does feel that a overhaul of the fundamentals of Modo needs to be addressed.

As good as the Advanced Viewport is – which has been improved with 10.0 – Maya’s Viewport 2.0 is simply a nicer place to be for most tasks. Batch rendering is still awkward; switching between layouts causes redraw issues. Preview – the killer app of Modo when it appeared in Modo 201 – is still an excellent way to navigate and view, but the render scene is starting to feel slow compared to GPU-based render competition.

The Game Tools viewport allows you to preview finished UV maps in the preview window

As good as many of the new tools are in Modo 10.0v1 – unless you’re a game asset creator – you might not feel the upgrade price is worth it. You might be thinking that it feels much more like a subscription-based upgrade and not that different from Modo 902, and so will question whether it’s worth upgrading... However, in my opinion, over the three mini releases, it is.

But now critically, for a major upgrade where are the enhanced crossover tools to Modo’s stablemates, for example Mari and Nuke?

With the first release of Modo 10 being focused on games designers, new users to Modo would rightly feel that is where the focus will be. It is worth noting that no matter which version of Modo 10 you decide to upgrade to, the price will be the same no matter when in version 10.0v1, v2, or v3.

Modo 10 offers a full DCC application for a lot less than Maya and Cinema 4D and matches a lot of the features found in these behemoths. With the first release of Modo 10.0v1, Modo feels like it is heading into new, uncharted territory where it doesn’t want to compete anymore with the big boys, and this could be great.

This article was originally published in 3D World magazine issue 210; buy it here.

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