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AFR: How did Luxology get started? Can you tell me a bit about that and your background?

Brad Peebler (BP): Sure. The founders of Luxology are Allan Hastings, Stuart Ferguson and myself. Actually, Allan and Stuart have known each other since they were kids and grew up working on computers and doing some pretty cool stop motion 8mm animation. They have been working on that kind of stuff since middle school. They are more than just programmers. They are graphics junkies like the rest of us. Some of Allan's early modo renderings hold up well, even today, to literally hundreds of excellent customer renderings submitted to us.

Anyway, we have been together now for over 15 years as a team. Along the way we were fortunate to have built two great products: Lightwave and modo.

So your background includes Lightwave?

Yes. I joined NewTek when the company was in Kansas, as a product support technician manning the phones! In some ways not much has changed (laughter). I still spend as much time every single day using our software, creating stuff for tutorials and making sure new features not only "work" but fit into the flow of using modo.

So as a team you guys founded Luxology after being together at NewTek. You know, the market is already quite busy with many superb 3D packages, what was the main reason for creating modo?

The main reason we created modo was to create something we would really like to use ourselves. There was plenty -- and still is plenty -- of 3D software out there that works from a "feature" standpoint. But we created modo for artists who want to work in a software package that really works as expected and promotes the feeling of flow.

What do you mean exactly by "flow"?

Our user interface (UI) is so fluid, for example, that artists can mold the UI as they move from task to task. Need a side view here with a background image of the side of a person's face and then an item list along the bottom? No problem, just arrange it and then change it for the next task.

Where does modo fit into this busy market?

modo is accessible in its price point for the enthusiast...and yet offers truly professional quality output in the form of super clean models and high-quality images. We are the only [3d] application that tightly binds modeling, painting and rendering into a fused workflow. You can model, for example, and see the renderer update!

And what about larger pipelines?

We, of course, designed modo to work well with other applications. In today's world people are using whatever is best for the task or project at hand.

A lot of Hollywood and visual effects studios work with a wide variety of 3d tools, including custom tools. How does modo fit into and improve those pipelines? What are the benefits?

You are right. Pipelines are becoming more porous.

And studios are realizing that keeping their artists happy and productive is vitally important. We designed modo to work well for artists and that is one way modo makes its way into a studio -- kind of from the bottom up.

You mean, from the artist, right?

We have people write us and say they go out of their way to look for projects just so they will have a reason to use modo. So another way to answer your question, one of the biggest benefits to using modo is that artists are wearing a smile and looking forward to their work every day. I am not saying modo makes 3D "easy", I am saying that using modo is a very rewarding experience, sort of an endorphin generator.


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