Luxology’s modo 302

Sometimes I get the feeling that I’m constantly writing reviews of modo. But that’s because the talented team at Luxology keeps coming up with new versions of their popular tool. Luxology really gets under the hood and tinkers around to make it faster and add in whole new features. So many little tweaks have been implemented in the new 302 version that I can’t cover them all here, but I’ll hit the big ones.

Surprisingly, the number of new tools for the modeling component of modo is small, considering that the tool started out as strictly a modeling package. That being said, these tools are quite powerful. The Flex, for example, combines transformation tools on selected vertices along with soft selection spinners, so that you can make modeling adjustments to sub-selections without jumping back and forth between different tools. Compounded with this, modo has a way to quickly reposition the pivot point of your selection to the borders of the selection, so that rotations during modeling can quickly be accomplished around different pivots without repositioning the object’s center. Other tools include new edge controls like Join Edge, Join Edge Average and Split Edge.

The modo team has put in a few more animation enhancements. Modo was originally focused on being a modeler, but they have been incrementally pushing it into a more generalpurpose 3D program. The graph/track editor has been expanded to include copy/paste functions for animation curves which allow for more advanced editing like ripple edits. Weighted vertex animation has also been included, meaning that individual verts can be affected or explicitly animated to give nice secondary animation such as skin jiggles or high-frequency vibration.

The largest list of new features in modo is in the renderer, which helps generate new levels of realism. Physical sun and sky have been added to the program, plus the ability to place your scene in a location on the earth based on longitude and latitude, and by simply adding time of day, the sun and sky will light accordingly. This will prove very helpful for architectural renderings. There are new controls for color saturation and global illumination. Most impressive of all is that you can render out discrete render buffers, which really is a more advanced level of production akin to renderers like V-Ray’or mental ray and PRMan’if you have a support team backing you up. I look forward to the next iteration of modo … which will probably be tomorrow!

Website: www.luxology.com

Price: $895; $945 (floating license); $395 (upgrade)