This Semester I have been researching the modeling program Modo created by the Foundry.
Modo is used to 3d model, texture and render scenes. It has been used commonly in the film industry for digital effects and modeling. Much like Maya Modo is used for modeling, rigging, animation and a variety of other fields. It’s supported by most mac windows and Linux. Modo offers a variety of add-on support for other programs such as GoZ for Zbrush and Unreal Bridge for UE4. I chose this program as recommended by fellow art students as a major tool for hard surface modeling. Compared to modeling with a program like Maya I seems to have more precise controls and better system for Booleans.
I started playing with the software making basic shapes. When I moved on to my final project I broke it up into several pieces in different projects. The nice thing about Modo is that I could open a bunch of my pieces at once and have them on the same work space. I can isolate these files or show what they look like together. You seem to have better control over your geo. For instance in Maya, unless you have a dividing edge loop, you cannot mirror properly
Figure 1. Here in Maya without using a dividing line the edge loops connect in odd ways.
Figure 2. Here there is no problem with using symmetry.
You also seem to have more obvious options with the check list at the bottom. You can easily check constraints on and off such as center loop so that every time you make an edge loop it is perfectly centered between the two closest loops.
A difference that took getting used to is the way projects are devised up. In Maya when you make new primitives they are completely separate. In Modo you have to first go to the Items tab and create a new mesh. It with create a separate layer that can be worked on independently. It is important to name your pieces because it can get confusing when you have a lot. If you do not use the Items tab to create a new mesh, any primitive you create will be combined automatically with what every geo you already have. This is nice if you want to weld vertices together.
Beveling works very similar to Maya. You can choose how thick you want the bevel and how many edge loops you want to add In Modo you have the option to do SDS Subdivide which seems to work much better than Maya's smooth mesh preview. I noted a nice thing that although it ads slightly more geo Modo makes its cylinders with all quads.
Files are easily exportable to other programs like Maya and Zbrush I wasn’t able to learn uving in Modo but it was easy to get it into Maya to uv. In my Wilhelm project all the pieces that I made in Modo were fairly low poly but had enough bevels to make them look smooth and hard-edged.
Figure 3. Beveling seems easier and less prone to make mistakes.
Figure 4. Each object is a separate file that can all be worked on within the same work space that way you don’t have multiple tabs and windows open at once.
Booleans seem to work better in Modo compared to Maya. I still hade to clean up the geo which was a pain but once I did that I could bevel easily and make the edge work nice and smooth. Be careful about making too many boleons at once. I crashed Modo a couple of times doing this. Another nice feature is that as I delete edges, unwanted vertices are eliminated. Which is really nice. Maya will sometimes give me a hard time if I do not delete vertices in the right way.
Figure 5. Here are some cylinder Booleans that I made for my shoulder cannon. To be safe I made two at a time cleaning up the geo before moving on to the next two.
The main issue I had with Modo were the controls. Compared to Maya they are a bit awkward. I had similar trouble when trying to use 3DS max. Switching back and forth between Maya and Modo became an issue because I kept forgetting how to navigate. There are no free student versions of Modo. I had to get a 30 day trial which really isn’t enough time to explore the program while I have other stuff going on.
The interface is a bit awkward. You seem to have to click another tool to activate the change you just made. Pressing enter does not do anything like in Maya or most other programs. I was not familiar enough with Modo,s hot keys but all the menus I needed were easily accessible . A majuor difference between Maya and Modo's UI is that Maya has a right click and drag system that allows me to select edges vertices, etc. and perform a number of operations. Modo has all these features in the upper taps and side bars which makes it a little difficult knowing where everything is. Modo does allow customization to your layout but I have yet to learn enough about it to know what I would like my set up to be like.