While modo (and the modo community) offer a wealth of free material presets, there’s always going to be a time when you’ve made your own adjustments and want to save your secret recipe-material as a preset for later use. In this quick tip we’ll give you a rundown on saving out your custom material to use in the future…and make sure it doesn’t get lost with updates or changes to your system.

Create a Material Preset Library in modo


1) We’ve tinkered with our material settings for the last 30 minutes and have found the absolute perfect material properties for a component of our model. In this case, we’ll call our new material ‘Pink Fury’.


2) If we go up into the shader tree and right click on our Sphere Material Group, we’ll receive a drop-down menu. In this menu there is an item called ‘save preset’. Go ahead and click that option.


3) After clicking ‘save preset’, we’ll be presented with a standard save dialogue box with the option of creating a location for the saved preset. For this, we’ll create a new folder called ‘myTestFolder’ on our desktop. Do not save your preset folder in your modo Assets directory, because if you ever forget that they’re there, they may be removed with any updates to modo or changes to your system. Be sure that your own asset (library) folder is somewhere safe on your hard drive that can be found easily. This is a key step for making sure that you don’t lose your precious presets!

We’ll get back to this in a minute.


4) To test our new material preset, we can go ahead and delete our existing material within our Sphere Material Group, and click ‘M’ for material to add a new default (grey) material group to our sphere.


5) Now that we have our sphere ready to go again, we’re going to open up our preset browser and locate our new Pink Fury material. Head to the bottom of the list and click ‘add path..’. From here we will locate our new preset in our ‘myTestFolder’ (or in your case, an asset folder somewhere safe on your hard drive separate from the modo assets folder).


6)Now that our material is linked to our preset browser (if it isn’t, start over and make sure that your path is correct), we can go ahead and drag it into our Sphere Material Group to bring back our original Pink Fury material.


7) But now what about our material preset icon? Right now it doesn’t communicate what the material is for future use—it’s simply a black box.


8) Next, we’re going to use a render to create our preset icon. Adjust your render settings so that the output image size is 500×500 pixels and click ‘render’.


9) Now head back over into the preset browser, and right click the existing material preset icon for our Pink Fury material. Scroll down the menu until you see ‘replace icon with last render’.


10) Now you should have a solid foundation for creating a custom material preset library, saving it safely on your hard drive, and having great-looking, scalable icons to help find them again. If you find yourself with enough presets that you need to create multiple folders with your library folder, just go ahead and repeat step 5 after organizing.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.