Home > Features > Product Review: Luxology modo 202


modo was conceived initially as a modeler and its toolset is a veritable playground for constructing geometry. Polygonal modeling is modo's stock in trade, and more organic forms are catered for by the Subdivision Surface (SubD) tools. You won't find any NURBS tools here as you would in Maya, but that's no drawback: there's nothing you can make using NURBS that you can't also make with SubDs. And for many 3D pros they feel SubDs are far more user-friendly, as anyone who's had to contend with splitting and trimming NURBS surfaces will attest. SubDs allow for the simple creation of complex surfaces by manipulating polygon 'cage' objects-- the smooth Subdivision surface is then derived from the polygon cage. The beauty of this approach is that only the cage is manipulated, using easily-understood polygon editing tools. (see image 03)

modo 202's modeling toolset is extremely broad -- not all of it will be of interest to the architectural modeler, admittedly -- but it's still fascinating to see some of the extremely cool tools on offer (there are several videos at www.luxology.com). In keeping with Luxology's task of re-thinking the application from the ground up, the problem of drawing effectively in 3D space has had some consideration. modo uses workplanes, but a little different than your standard CAD working planes. In the drawing space you have a grid and a workplane. All object creation takes place on the workplane, and the orientation of the workplane depends on your view into the workspace. The workplane will snap to XY, XZ or ZY planes, depending on which one is most perpendicular to your 'line of sight'. It's a neat system that allows you to work from within a single perspective viewport. There are other things you can do to a workplane: it can be aligned to any polygon in the scene (like your old 3-point workplanes) or it can be aligned perpendicular to the current camera view. This latter gives you the option to draw directly wherever you're 'looking'.

03 - Possessing some of the finest Subdivision Surfacing modeling tools available, modo 202 produces detailed, clean meshes.

Another feature that will be of interest to architectural modelers are modo's snapping facilities. Since 'The SketchUp Revolution' it's hard for some of us to imagine modeling without snapping or inferencing. Three types of snap are offered: grid, guide and geometry. Grid is your standard affair, although executed with modo's characteristic flair. Guides are a three-D version of Photoshop guides: lines drawn in 3D space along which any tool's Action Centre will snap. These can be rotated to any orientation, but don't appear to have the ability to have snap increments along their length. Geometry snapping allows you to snap the Action Centre of the current tool to either points, the centerpoints of edges and the centerpoints of faces. Not completely comprehensive, but useful to have around.

You probably noticed the term 'Action Centre' in that last paragraph. This is another key modo concept. It's basically the 'pivot point' for any tool. The Transform tool, for example doesn't have to be centered on an item in order to work. You can click to set it anywhere, and this will obviously effect the transformation produced – particularly evident when rotating. Also linked to this idea is tool falloff. This allows you to proportionally scale the influence of a tool along a user defined axis. Setting falloff for the Scale tool, for example will actually produce a Taper tool.

Next: Painting and Conclusion


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Home > Features > Product Review: Luxology modo 202




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