Home > Features > Product Review: Luxology modo 202

We recently reviewed the new Mac Pro and were suitably impressed by the power, elegance and sheer 'cool' factor of the new machine. If you were looking for a piece of software that embodied those same traits then you'd have to look no further than modo 202, the modeling, painting and rendering application from Luxology. Apple clearly agrees too, and recently awarded modo an Apple Design Award at the World Wide Developers Conference.


Interface is a big part of the modo philosophy, and the interface is where we'll start. Luxology was founded by ex-NewTek-LightWave directors, Allen Hastings, Stuart Ferguson and Brad Peebler – and it's obvious that the two programs share some of the same DNA. Modo has, for example, that same purposeful, gray sculpted look of LightWave and, indeed, a lot of the key shortcuts will be immediately familiar to users of NewTek's application -- F9 to render a frame, for example. There are even configuration files that can set up the interface to more closely mimic LightWave -- and 3D Studio MAX, Softimage, Cinema4D, Silo and Maya.

modo 202 has quite possibly the most malleable 'front end' of any application, anywhere. You very much get the impression that modo's designers designed the interface as the container into which to pour all their modeling and rendering goodness. In fact, you could argue that the interface layout system is a tool in itself, so crucial is it to modo's way of doing things. Basically, you have viewports and forms. Almost everything in the interface can be reduced to this. Viewports can contain Camera views or they can contain lists of commands, inspectors or the aforementioned forms. You can add, subtract, split, join and extend panes to provide whatever set-up suits you best. A single pane can also contain more than one item through the use of 'tabs'. Of course, pre-set layouts are available, and the default '201' is the one that modo starts with, which gives you access to pretty much all the tools. There are other simplified layouts and well as those specific to Modeling, Rendering and Painting, as well as more 'expert' layouts like '3D Sparse', which relies almost completely on keyboard shortcuts.

01 - The jewel in modo's crown: top right is an OpenGL preview (very fast) for Camera positioning, top left the live Preview Render with HDRI and Radiosity. Bottom pane shows the scene overview / setup view.

This interface attention to detail also extends to other "non-geometry" items, like lights, cameras and object manipulators, for example. In visualization, a lot of time is spent setting up cameras and lights, and taking trips between the item itself and its properties palette. With modo's Advanced tool options, a lot of these adjustments can be made in the OpenGL interface itself. The camera object, for instance, can have its focal length and field of view adjusted by clicking and dragging on handles on the camera itself. You're given visual feedback of these properties directly. The transform handles are similarly well-equipped: movement on a plane while in perspective view is catered for by another two grab handles, and properties like scale, displacement and rotation have direct numerical readout in the OpenGL views. (see image 01)

02 - In contrast to the bathroom image (see page 3), this HDRI render by Seth Richardson relies more on a single, powerful HDRI to simulate natural daylighting.

Speaking of OpenGL, modo has one of the fastest implementations we've ever seen: 'blazing' doesn't do it justice. Meshes that would choke many other leading 3d applications are handled with consummate ease and complex architectural models could be manipulated easily on our test machine -- a Mac Pro 2.0 GHz with the standard GeForce 7300 graphics card. There's also the option of Advanced OpenGL (if your card supports it), which allows the display of blended textures, and bump and normal maps directly in the workspace.

Next: Construction


pages | 1 | 2 |3 |


Home > Features > Product Review: Luxology modo 202




NBC on iTunes





  | Corrections | About Architosh | Awards & Press Reaction |
| Site Map |

Privacy Notice | Contact Us | How to Advertise | Corporate Sponsorship |
Copyright © 1999 - 2008. BritasMedia Publications. All Rights Reserved.
Architosh™ and the ToshLetter™ are trademarks of BritasMedia™

Quantified - Quantcast