No, don’t look away. It’s not scary at all. However, the awesomeness may cause the skin to tighten across your face as the excitement in your teeth push you jowls back over your head. If you have teeth. If you don’t, don’t worry, because we can sculpt some in and render them gold faster than ever before.

How? Today Luxology releases modo 501. It’s got some major enhancements, some tiny enhancements and some other enhancements that will make you stand up and start clapping your elbows together. We’ll take a look at the new features, but since the box still has the wrapper on it, we’re wondering what you want to know more about. Are these the features you’ve been waiting for? Hit it!!

The modo 501 interface

Many use modo to render their models, but modo goes a lot further than that. You can Model, Texture, Sculpt, Paint, Render, and Animate. 501 comes with RayGL™ enhancements to spill the realism of realtime rendering into the other viewports you use in modo. Along with that, you get mouse-over rendering so whatever your mouse is over in the render viewport, renders first, Ca-Ching. There are also addition presets for sculpting brushes and materials, a load of presets. If you animate, modo 501 has a new rigging editor making it all a little easier to make the relations, plus you can group the objects and keep them independent of other groups whereby reducing the amount of work you’re doing on the set-up.

The udated modo 501 interface. RayGL dishing out more realism across viewports. (Click to Enlarge)
The updated modo 501 interface. RayGL dishing out more realism across viewports. (Click to Enlarge)
Applying material oclussion in the modo 501 interface. Lots of preset with their own Properties (Click to Enlarge)
Applying material oclussion in the modo 501 interface. Lots of preset with their own Properties (Click to Enlarge)
New sculpting brushes in modo 501. Fast and smooth polygon painting. (Click to Enlarge)
New sculpting brushes in modo 501. Fast and smooth polygon painting. (Click to Enlarge)
The Render Region tool makes it easy to constrain the modo 501 Preview renderer or final render to a specific area of your screen
The Render Region tool makes it easy to constrain the modo 501 Preview renderer or final render to a specific area of your screen

Pixar Subdivision support

You also have a fresh dose of Pixar Subdivision (PSub) support in modo 501 as well. This allows you to do your modeling in Maya or 3ds Max, then import the models to do the rendering. This also greatly decereases the amount of polygons compared to regular subdivision import. Here’s how it works. The new FBX, based on FBX2010.2, can exchange the semi-sharp crease data on Pixar Subdivision surfaces between modo and Maya, 3dsmax. Take a look…

Here we see the original model in modo 501
Here we see the original model in modo 501
This model was transferred from modo 501 to 3ds Max 2010 using Turbosmooth and FBX 2010.2 file transfer
This model was transferred from modo 501 to 3ds Max 2010 using Turbosmooth and FBX 2010.2 file transfer
This model was transferred from modo 501 to Maya using Smooth Mesh and FBX 2010.2 file transfer
This model was transferred from modo 501 to Maya using Smooth Mesh and FBX 2010.2 file transfer
SubD vs. PSub import
SubD vs. PSub import
SubD vs. Psub import rendered
SubD vs. Psub import rendered

Occlusion texturing

Wondering if there’s now a way to make certain areas of your model look different than other areas? Wonder no more. The new Occlusion and Occlusion texturing does it. It’s like spitting stain into the crevices of that architectural piece your rendering or weathering the edges of a rusty old engine. Best of all, it’s all done modomagically with options to boot. Take a look at the possibilities.

Gun with no occlusion applied in modo 501 (Image: Peter Ericksson)
Gun with no occlusion applied in modo 501 (Image: Peter Ericksson)
Gun WITH occlusion applied in modo 501 (Image: Peter Ericksson)
Gun WITH occlusion applied in modo 501 (Image: Peter Ericksson)
Various Occlusion textures in modo 501 (Image: Simon van de Lagematt)
Various Occlusion textures in modo 501 (Image: Simon van de Lagematt)

modo 501 what’s new

The focus on modo is definitely speed and generally making it easier to use, but the updates are as plentiful as warm honey in blazing furnace of bees. We touched on a few of these features above, but here’s a breakdown of a good bit of the rest.

Workflow

  • Pixar Subdivision surfaces have been added for sharper creases and improved transferability
  • Sculpting tools now work on multi-resolution meshes, facilitating both coarse and fine adjustments to surfaces as needed
  • The advent of RayGL™ brings even greater realism in modo viewports, effectively merging modeling and rendering
  • Animation rigging is simplified with a visual connection editor
  • Users can direct the Preview Renderer to work (first) on areas under the mouse. The Preview Renderer will also now progressively resolve to near final image quality.
  • New “One Click” modeling tools and improved Snapping accelerate common modeling operations

Performance

  • Rendering is both faster and cleaner. modo 501 gains, on average, a 30-40% increase in rendering speed, which benefits both final rendering and texture baking operations across the board. Depth of field quality is enhanced, bump and displacement mapping is crisper, Fur can now display Kink and Frizz effects, and a new Occlusion texturing option generates worn and weathered effects automatically.
  • Sculpting stroke performance is enhanced
  • Animation playback is approximately 2X faster on some rigged scenes

Extensibility

  • Improvements to the modo SDK enable third party developers to introduce totally new items, commands and tools into the modo workspace
  • Plug-ins can now create geometry parametrically, which can be also converted to a mesh. A sample ‘gear’ generator plug-in is provided with numerous options for gear spacing, spoke placement, etc.
  • Procedural textures can create keyframed, multi-channel textures
  • Tool plug-ins extend the modo toolset by providing new ways to create and edit geometry
  • Command plug-ins enable the development of native C++-based actions

Other

  • Includes an introductory release on 64-bit Mac OS X
  • The documentation for modo has been extensively improved and is now online. A comments and ratings system facilitates community participation in the documentation process.
  • A large amount of new content is included with modo 501, including large libraries of 2D and 3D procedural textures

And to top it off, you’ve gotta catch the video overview of rendering performance and the rendering features. As you’ll see, there are big speed gains, but not necessarily in the GPU…mmm-hmmmm. So, Luxology is now in cahoots with Intel to boost raytracing performance on the CPU. Brad Peebler, CEO of Luxology, explains that and breaks down the new features as well.

View the whole set of new modo 501 improvements on Luxology’s Youtube channel.

The best thing about modo 501

The best thing about modo… the price. It and their support are not changing at all. Here’s what you get:

modo 501
price – US $995.00
upgrade – US $395.00
license – for both Mac and PC
maintenance cost – NO annual maintenance fees

That, right there is FABULOSO. A pricing/service model more software companies should follow, imo. We’ll leave it at that today and wait to hear from you about the features you’re most excited about. In the meantime, gasp in awe at the following images.


Author

Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.