Maya 2015 vs. Modo 801 vs Blender

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Hi,
i am using Mac OS X, so i can't use Max. I started couple of months before with Maya 2014. I had feel that Maya is best and other programs like Blender/Modo/SoftImage are just little brothers. Today i know that they can be maybe better in modeling (that is where i am interesting in - create game assets), but still not sure. I want to try master one program, but still can't decide where to put my effort. I know some tools are same in all 3D programs, but you know ....
Has anyone experience with latest versions of Modo and Maya? Are for instance in Modo any tools, which are really great and Maya is missing them? I don't care much about better shortcuts etc., just in funcionality. I heard even blender is really great these days.

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  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    There is no answer to this. Try them all, pick the one you like.
  • Tidal Blast
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    Tidal Blast polycounter lvl 4
    Yeah, I agree with WarrenM. However, I'm currently learning modo 801 and am having a lot of fun. Who knows, maybe you'll like it too.
  • Tiles
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    Tiles polycounter lvl 6
    Nobody said you have to use just one tool for the job. Blender is free, so it's the perfect gap filler. It's the jack of all trades. On the contrary, it is master of none. And it has a pipeline and plugin problem. There's rarely professsional plugins for Blender available.

    That said, i would go with Maya or Modo. And use Blender asides.
  • Spoon
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    Spoon polycounter lvl 6
    WarrenM wrote: »
    There is no answer to this. Try them all, pick the one you like.

    While I do consider this the ideal, I dont quite understand it as advice.
    I would say it took me almost a year to fully understand all the aspects of max I am using professionally. Refining the workflow, finding the scripts that fills in the gap, discovering some neat little trick etc.
    I am guessing it is the same for other software packages as well.
    No matter how nice it would be to understand all packages 100% and pick from that, there is simply no time to do that, imho.

    as for the topic, I would not advice XSI, as that is dying.
    Maya is a sure bet, you cant go wrong with it. Cant say much about MODO, as I jsut started tinkering with it myself a week ago.
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    No matter how nice it would be to understand all packages 100% and pick from that, there is simply no time to do that, imho.
    You don't have to master an application to determine if you like using it. I loved Modo from the moment I started it up. I don't like Blender, and I usually throw in the towel in under 15 minutes every time I try to learn it.

    Basically, you should try every app. Run through a few tutorials. If you're not liking what you're seeing, odds are you need to move on...
  • Spoon
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    Spoon polycounter lvl 6
    I see what you mean, and I, too, like to try out a lot of software, just to see "what it feels like". But, since I came from a maya background, with around 3-4 years of experience, I simply found max clunky and stupid. It was only because I was forced to use it via a job, that I came to love it, and now prefer that over maya. So I do think it takes some time to get comfortable with an app and I dont think you get that by just playing around with it, sadly.

    I think we do agree, im just drunk and need to type stuff
  • passerby
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    passerby polycounter lvl 7
    personally out of those 3 i would choose maya, it is what is going to fit into the pipeline the best.

    Blender is free so you can always use it along side, but what is really good is maya as your main package, than use modo for any more complicated modeling work.

    Also you dont need to understand 100% of a app, look at maya most people that use it only know about a small subset of what it can do. Since it does everything from modeling, real-time shaders, mental ray, dynamics, animation, and cool things like paintfx.

    Just try them each out, blender is free, the education/non commercial use maya is free, and i think modo has a trial.
  • Fomori
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    Fomori polycounter lvl 7
    I agree with Spoon. It can take quite a long time to properly evaluate a 3D app, especially if you're a generalist like me.

    To the OP: I would try and stick with Maya unless you gave a good reason not to. It will give you the best job prospects.
  • VESIUS
    Spoon wrote: »
    as for the topic, I would not advice XSI, as that is dying.

    It's essentially already dead, they killed support for it. Which doesn't mean you can't use it, but there'd be no sense in learning it.
  • Blaizer
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    Blaizer polycounter lvl 12
    Maya would be the BEST choice.

    Blender is free but it lacks of too many things i'm not gonna enumerate. And if you are a student, you may have the autodesk entertainment creation suite with a license for students (it's free). That includes, Maya, Max, Xsi, Motion Builder, mudbox, etc.

    And modo... the app started as a subdivision modelling software, very very fast and very affordable (not like now). Since its very first version it had a huge lack of modelling tools, and some weeks ago, i downloaded the 801 trial, and it's all the same with some minor improvements for other areas such as particles, but not for modelling (it's a total disappointment for me, less viewport perfomance and bigger load times). I can say the modelling tools in modo are very simple, and weak (like all the other features), and we are forced to use scripts in order to get a fastest workflow.

    I'm in the need of using max because i can't do several things in modo. Sometimes is really frustrating.

    Maya has improved a lot in terms of modelling, but Max is still the best for that kind of task imho.

    I'm still using modo 302 because it has not improved anything. btw, modo 601, 701, and 801 have issues working with symmetry (something really annoying and time eater), i make some edge cuts on one side (very simple mesh), and the other side get corrupted with mesh artifacts.

    I think you don't need more than a week to evaluate a 3d app, and maya like max, comes with very good combo of videos to learn all the basics in minutes. Modo can be learned in 3 afternoons, dedicating at least 2 hours...

    So, i recommend: forget blender... try maya and modo, yes both apps, because they are right now like essential apps for our resume.
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    This is why you have to try apps for yourself. Most of what Blaizer said about Modo is incorrect or, at best, inaccurate. :) But you'll never know unless you try it...
  • Zack Maxwell
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    Zack Maxwell greentooth
    Having used all three to some extent, here's my opinion.
    Gonna make some enemies here, but I'd say Maya is hands down the worst. It's not necessarily a terrible program, but most of the tools outside animation are dated and weak, and many options straight-up aren't there, requiring scripts and plugins to get around. UV unwrapping in particular is an absolute nightmare.
    The only important point in its favor for me is that you pretty much NEED to use it to work in a studio. But that's almost like being forced to use Windows '95 because your studio does, at least as a modeler. Not to mention THE PRICE.
    If your circumstances allow any real choice here, I can't recommend it.
    One thing in it's favor is that you can very easily create scripted actions, and save them to the UI. You can even read the code executed by any normal function in order to integrate that into your own script. I can see how it might be a very powerful tool if you work for a studio with a heavy reserve of custom scripted actions. Of course that would further clutter an already terribly cluttered UI.

    Blender is much better for modeling, I personally love it. Not to mention it's completely free.
    The big issue here is that, as an open-source program, most other programs in your pipeline do not effectively integrate with it, like Substance Designer or ZBrush. In some cases though you can get a third-party plugin that adds a certain measure of support, like with ZBrush. On the whole though, pipeline integration is awful. It also cannot effectively import .FBX last I knew, which is really bad.
    Retopology is kinda crappy, but plenty of plugins exist for that. None of them so far can make it match Modo out of the box, though.
    It also has a bit of a learning curve, due to both the heavy reliance on hotkeys and the mediocre UI. The hotkeys are the true strength of Blender though, and well worth it.

    Modo is my new personal favorite. Even better than Blender for modeling, but also with great pipeline integration.
    801 also seems to have really strengthened some of the weaker points like rigging/animating.
    I particularly enjoy the retopology and UV mapping tools.
    Unfortunately you're stuck with the ugly yellow/gray theme.

    Max I tried the least of the them all, unfortunately. But this was because I really did not like it. It's definitely better than Maya at least for modeling, but it has a very messy and oversaturated UI, on top of relying heavily on the UI to get things done. Even Maya seemed to have a more streamlined UI, especially with the Pie menus and such.
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz interpolator
    Blaizer wrote: »
    I'm still using modo 302 because it has not improved anything. btw, modo 601, 701, and 801 have issues working with symmetry (something really annoying and time eater), i make some edge cuts on one side (very simple mesh), and the other side get corrupted with mesh artifacts.

    Yea symmetry in Modo is incredibly busted, you're essentially forced to use mirrored instances instead, and I doubt they'll fix it anytime soon. Did it actually work correctly back in 302?
  • Dataday
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    Dataday polycounter lvl 6
    I started with Maya, then migrated over to Blender for a brief stint before settling on Modo (as the primary 3d application).

    Modo is the wisest choice in my opinion. For starters, you have great modeling tools which work even better once you begin to delve into custom behavior and plug-ins, you have a great and highly efficient UV editor, extremely solid retopology tools/mode, sculpting and texture painting as well.

    All this for more than half the cost of what a normal Maya license goes for these days. Maya has perhaps thee best viewport on the market right now, great snapping tools and a large assortment of plug-ins. Its animation functionality pretty much sets the bar, but thats it. It doesnt really cover most of the pipeline, and its modeling tools are weak compared to the others.

    Blender has the potential to be a very solid application for all the basic necessities, but its not really there yet. Its extremely inconsistent in design and messaging from those in charge, it makes a great addition to another 3d application, but not really worth making as a primary tool unless you dont have a choice.

    With the money you can save using modo, you can easily add in additional tools to make the pipeline even more solid, such as substance designer and painter. You may even find Mari a solid addition to the pipeline later if they ever push for it to be more accessible. Modo has some pretty solid plug ins and community support. It will cover most of your game art needs, for baking I would use Substance Designer and or handplane.

    Its just smarter and more effective in the long run. That said though, knowing Maya is always a good idea for both employment purposes and just knowing what the "standard" is these days. Even if Maya was priced equally with Modo, I'm not even sure the cost of dealing with Autodesk would make it worth it... as remember they are more beholden to share holders and not necessarily their consumers. You dont come out of that "relationship" feeling or mutually respected.

    @polyhertz, For the most part I have had almost no issues with symmetry. There was one time when making some pipes with the pipetool that the topology on one of the pipes became messedup, but it was as simple as using the mirror tool to fix that issue. Theres also a plugin that you can use that fixes any loss of symmetry if for some reason it breaks. I havent had it happen to me yet but I have the plugin just in case and have tested its use by intentionally breaking symmetry. Works fine.
  • Blaizer
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    Blaizer polycounter lvl 12
    WarrenM wrote: »
    This is why you have to try apps for yourself. Most of what Blaizer said about Modo is incorrect or, at best, inaccurate. :) But you'll never know unless you try it...

    Well, each one have their opinion, and as an experienced user i shared my point of view. If you are the typical modo fanboy, then i excuse you :)

    I don't think what i said is incorrect or "at best", inaccurate. Facts are facts, and i argumented them. You in contrast, like too many other times, it seems you don't like to read bad and real issues about the app you may love. Let's be more objetive and less passionate. With time, newer and better apps will arise, and we can't be using the same app for all our whole life.

    I think you may be quite young, so for your information, when modo appeared, i recommended it here. Silo was said to be the very best in subdivision modelling apps by Silo fanboys. Right now, Hexagon and Silo are DEAD.
    PolyHertz wrote:
    Yea symmetry in Modo is incredibly busted, you're essentially forced to use mirrored instances instead, and I doubt they'll fix it anytime soon. Did it actually work correctly back in 302?

    Well, i can say you older versions works better (401, and 501 were very bad versions). It's very weird to see a mesh corruption working with simmetry mode in modo 302. In newer versions they added a mesh clean up for fixing errors, but at the end... Seneca's script works better. It's a shame.

    The 302 version loads almost as fast as the paint of windows, and i don't run into simmetry issues. There are some cases/modelling operations that will end in errors, but in 302 we can avoid them changing our way of modelling.

    But with these last versions, is horrible. I need to delete one half of the model, and do a simmetry constantly. Nor the simmetry fix tool works well in these new versions, it leaves too many vertices untouched :S. I can't stand that kind of issues. Luxology launches more than 5 service packs, they solve some bugs but they generate more.

    edit: when an app needs more than 4 SPs is for some reason...
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    Blaizer

    You're probably right. I'm just a fan boy with no real world experience using Modo. Thanks for setting me straight.

    For the record, I've bitched incessantly about Modo's shortcomings - particularly in the areas of mesh smoothing and normal map baking. But I have a really hard time wrapping my head around the idea that the modeling tools are weak. That's just so far off from my own experiences that I really can't formulate an answer. Modo is the best modeling app I've ever used, symmetry issues aside.
  • igi
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    igi polycounter lvl 10
    uhm, really modo didn't improved since 302 at all? Okay I agree that it improved only little bit game-art wise and they're adding such very basic features one by one and even they are not able to do that correctly at first shot. Benefits like control over surface shading and export selected are the biggest changes comes to my mind since 302 which is kinda disappointing, considering the amount of time we waited for such basic features. Normals are still broken within synced workflow, meh. But I still prefer modo, so it might make me a fanboy so don't take my suggestion seriously.
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    As a final word on Modo's modeling tools, I'll just leave this here:

    http://snefer.blogspot.com/
  • Codexus
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    Codexus polycounter lvl 7
    Modo is my favorite, Blender is more than fine for its price but requires an open mind and unless you actually give me a substantial amount of money, I won't subject myself to Maya ever again.
  • fandiwhuang
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    fandiwhuang polycounter lvl 6
    im both maya and modo user but i think i like modo more .
    modelling in modo is total beast and the user interface is just better .
  • eld
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    eld polycounter lvl 11
    Blender is the one guaranteed to stick around!
  • repete
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    repete polycounter lvl 4
    The guy is freaking awesome :poly101:
    WarrenM wrote: »
    As a final word on Modo's modeling tools, I'll just leave this here:

    http://snefer.blogspot.com/
  • Gheromo
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    Gheromo polycounter lvl 6
    I used to be Maya user primarily during uni and consider myself as quite experienced user, however after trying Modo I dont see myself using Maya as primary package ever again, unless have to at work. Cant speak of blender, I never tried it properly.
  • Tidal Blast
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    Tidal Blast polycounter lvl 4
    Tor Frick is a monster and Modo is king.
  • Joopson
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    Joopson Polycount Sponsor
    Are there any good "getting started" videos for modelling in Modo that all the modo users here would recommend? I've tried to jump in, but it felt very imprecise to me, and I closed it after a few minutes trying to extrude in the direction of the normals. Surely I'm just missing something, though.
  • Dataday
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    Dataday polycounter lvl 6
    Blaizer wrote: »
    Right now, Hexagon and Silo are DEAD.

    Side note: It appears it hasnt died completely after all. There's news of new development... but it might have come a tad too late, at least with the tarnished reputation. Theres always demand for good modeling apps.

    http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=175&t=1166786&page=1&pp=15
    Joopson wrote: »
    Are there any good "getting started" videos for modelling in Modo that all the modo users here would recommend? I've tried to jump in, but it felt very imprecise to me, and I closed it after a few minutes trying to extrude in the direction of the normals. Surely I'm just missing something, though.

    There are a few. The video tuts are not as vast or beginner level as many of the other applications, but they do exist.

    I highly recommend:

    1. Digital Tutors training videos, they do a great job at teaching Modo.
    http://www.digitaltutors.com/software/modo-tutorials

    2. Modo Steam Edition videos made by the renounced Modo Master, Greg Brown.
    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=202604023

    3. Modopedia
    http://www.modopedia.com/

    4. Hopping into the Modo Steam Edition chat channel via the Modo SE hub, and talking directly with Greg Brown or any other Foundry rep thats there.

    5. The Foundry's (Luxology's) Doc Page-wiki (with tuts).
    http://docs.luxology.com/modo/701/help/pages/gettingstarted/BeginnerTutorial.html

    I recommend turning off the Track Ball rotation as well, as it has some strange behavior that takes getting used to. Its a big turn off for a lot of new Modo users. Also look up how to use the Action Center menu, as this will set the behavior of what you select and what you get. For example setting it to Selection under action center will have your selection result in a type of local transform widget, of which you can pull out along the direction of the normals.
  • passerby
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    passerby polycounter lvl 7
    @dataday silo is dead, the idea of silo is great, and i love the concepts it uses, but been years since nc showed any kinda support, and is bug ridden.
  • Harbinger
    Every time somebody mentions Silo it's like a punch in my gut... absolutely loved that little app back in the day. RIP little buddy.
  • Dataday
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    Dataday polycounter lvl 6
    passerby wrote: »
    @dataday silo is dead, the idea of silo is great, and i love the concepts it uses, but been years since nc showed any kinda support, and is bug ridden.

    Oh I agree with your sentiment, but what appears to be the case is that "now" they are developing another version of it. Dead usually means theres no further development, so if the link I posted is true, then its not quite dead, speaking from a technical POV. I have no attachment to Silo nor have I ever really felt the need to use it.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    Dataday wrote: »
    I recommend turning off the Track Ball rotation as well, as it has some strange behavior that takes getting used to. Its a big turn off for a lot of new Modo users.
    And I'll chime in for the opposite school of thought; it's worth giving it a chance. This explanation can help understand what is going on:
    modo uses a rotation method known as ‘trackball rotation’ by default. This is by far my favorite way to work, and I highly recommend getting used to it. Basically it means that when you drag to rotate the viewport, the behavior is based on where you drag. Imagine the viewport is overlayed with a giant trackball. If you click and drag the middle of the trackball, things rotate from the middle. If you drag the edge of the trackball, things pivot sideways, as if you’re turning the trackball from the side, like a steering wheel. Click anywhere in between, and the effect is somewhere in the middle. The beauty of this system is that it works perfectly from any angle: you can flip your model upside-down, and work on it the same as if it were right-side-up. People who are not used to trackball rotation find it difficult to control simply because they’re not used to it: give it time, and you won’t want to go back! — Adam OHern writing for CADjunkie.com

    And yes Action Centers are fantastic; I'd recommend learning the hotkeys for some of the common ones. By default you have alt+x for local and alt+z for element.
  • Spoon
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    Spoon polycounter lvl 6
    Bek wrote: »

    And yes Action Centers are fantastic; I'd recommend learning the hotkeys for some of the common ones. By default you have alt+x for local and alt+z for element.

    I have always disliked trackball myself, but now that I have forced myself to use it for a week, I am already starting to like it over the contrained rotations.

    Thanks for they hotkey tips!
  • PolyHertz
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    PolyHertz interpolator
    Modos trackball rotation would be so much better if they would implement angle snapping for it (like found in ZBrush, 3DCoat, Sculptris, and Blender). I find it very disorienting without a way to get the viewport back into an exact position.
  • Bek
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    Bek greentooth
    I used to be annoyed about that too coming from max where you would click on a part of the viewcube to snap to that view. After awhile I stopped worrying about it though.

    If I ever want a snapped view I just ctrl+space to go to right/front/top orthographic views. Haven't felt the need for precision beyond that in the perspective view.
  • MmAaXx
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    MmAaXx polycounter lvl 5
    Coming from 3DSmax, I use blender because I can use it wherever I work and because is so powerful, don't mention the fact it is a portable software.

    here is my works did in blender recently. http://mmaaxx.artstation.com/
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 8
    I have my own 3d Max license and have pretty long experience with it but didn't updated it for years already. Just don't see a reason since I actually prefer Blender. It takes me less clicks to have the job done.

    I believe around 2009 - 2010 Blender was even a bit ahead of Max, before Autodesk woke up and did an essential advance. Many new features like Shader fx while being definitely more advanced were somehow silently possible in Blender long before.

    Blender recently updated its fbx export/import and it finally became more or less interchangeable with Max/Maya pipeline. Still you need one of those to edit/ transfer vertex normals for example.

    Didn't work in Maya since the middle of 2000 years . That time I had a strong impression you have to hire programmer first, before doing something there.
  • Neox
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    Neox polycounter
    hm thinking more and more about blender as well, but there are some things that i really miss

    like set flow for an edge
    or even simple stuff such as just straighetening (many edges at once) or relaxing uvs, the unfolding with seams is cool and all but if i change stuff and want the rest of the shel to relax around my changes, how would i do that in blender?
  • Nitewalkr
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    Nitewalkr polycounter lvl 8
    I believe this thread was intended to obtain some advice regarding which one should the OT go for, not which one is suited better for us. Ofcourse if you ask people which one is the best you are going to get mixed advice as this thread.

    If you ask me, use what you are comfy with.

    EDIT: You do however need to learn a certain type of workflow and get a full grasp of it.

    Truth be told, I am a Maya user and used to work with Softimage XSI.

    Autodesk Maya; The only thing that I use it for is final lowpoly texture. These days I can do that almost everything in zbrush so I dont even bother using any 3d software until it comes down to low poly transfer, rigging and animation. Now my workflow is as follows; Zbrush, 3d Coat, Maya + Photoshop.
  • myclay
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    myclay polycounter lvl 4
    @ Neox

    have you seen this Blender UV tutorial yet? if not its around 25 minutes and in my opinion totally worth seeing.
    [ame]


    for the straightening -this addon is a total joy
    [ame]
  • kneedeepinthedoomed
    For an indie developer, I think Blender is a no-brainer.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 8
    Neox, for straightening UVs I use "follow active quad" ( you need to make a single quad straight first) . I think it had been in Blender long before any similar things in other soft. Never needed relax in Blender. "Ctrl+V" or "E" and sometimes pins do pretty all I need when move an edge

    As of Set flow Autodesk does have some advanced features over Blender after 2010. But you could use loop cut ctrl+R and subdivide/loop cuts number and smoothness options in tool parameters to place edges evenly after initial edge cut .
  • RobeOmega
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    RobeOmega polycounter lvl 6
    myclay wrote: »
    @ Neox
    for the straightening -this addon is a total joy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYZnGIql2UI

    As someone in Blender who has manually selected every line and scaled it back to the X or Y axis can I just say.

    My life was a waste :o
  • Dataday
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    Dataday polycounter lvl 6
    Don't forget Modo Indie is out now as well, which is a full featured and commercially viable version of the original Steam Edition. Minor limitations include: 100k poly export limitation, no current plugins and modo specific save files are restricted to the steam id.

    Regarding Blender, its still lacking the polish and even intelligent design in some places, well most places really, but its also extremely functional despite that. Its a good idea to hold off using it until the new keymap is in.
  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 8
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 8
    I have an impression that many good tools/ideas appears nowadays as open source ones at first and then commercial big boys do something better . Like content aware thing in Photoshop that came 6 years after similar "Resynthesizer' plugin had appeared for Linux version of Gimp. Or any photo-stitching . exposure adjusting tools that also were available many yeas before Photoshop implemented it.

    Same goes for Blender. it had it's own pretty nice retopo, snapping, painting, uv tools long before similar things started to appear in Max for example.
  • kneedeepinthedoomed
    Thanks for the mention of these blender addons. Should make life a lot easier.

    edit: Modo Indie actually does look like a pretty good option as well.
  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 8
    gnoop wrote: »
    I have an impression that many good tools/ideas appears nowadays as open source ones at first and then commercial big boys do something better . Like content aware thing in Photoshop that came 6 years after similar "Resynthesizer' plugin had appeared for Linux version of Gimp. Or any photo-stitching . exposure adjusting tools that also were available many yeas before Photoshop implemented it.

    Same goes for Blender. it had it's own pretty nice retopo, snapping, painting, uv tools long before similar things started to appear in Max for example.

    well, you have only a handful of developers for say maya or max and on the other hand you have way more end users that are developing solutions to their own problems. so its only natural to have alot of good ideas pop up as "user created content"
  • Torch
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    Torch polycounter lvl 8
    Modo...feckin Modo, it rocks. I've used Maya for years, started learning Modo recently and have been pleasantly surprised. Maya's modeling tools don't even touch it!

    EDIT: I've only really scratched the surface, but some stuff I've seen already, e.g. Element move, the workplane, etc. is really nice.
  • [Deleted User]
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    [Deleted User] insane polycounter
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • gnoop
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    gnoop polycounter lvl 8
    I've got indi Modo license and understand absolutely nothing even after couple weekends of learning.
    It's my personal threshold. If I wasted a weekend for a tool and still can't get anything useful I tend to believe it's not because of my IQ , ha-ha, but rather something wrong with the tool itself "made by artists for the artists" maybe at another planet .
  • Tidal Blast
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    Tidal Blast polycounter lvl 4
    gnoop wrote: »
    I've got indi Modo license and understand absolutely nothing even after couple weekends of learning.
    It's my personal threshold. If I wasted a weekend for a tool and still can't get anything useful I tend to believe it's not because of my IQ , ha-ha, but rather something wrong with the tool itself "made by artists for the artists" maybe at another planet .
    • Choose the right tab for the job (Modl, Model Quad, Paint, topo, UV, etc.)
    • Choose the right selection mode (vertex (1), Edges (2), Polygons (3), Materials (4) and Items (5).
    • Make a selection
    • And choose the tool you want to use. You can either use the board on the left or hotkeys.
    • Then, either drop the tool with Q or hold shift and click in viewport to repeat.

    Press O and edit various viewport settings depending of your needs. Toggle on and off the grid or wireframe, etc. And make sure that you understand that Modo has what is a called a workplane that allows you to drop object on a surface quickly and efficiently.

    The Modo for 3DS max users tutorials are quite good for an introduction.
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