Design Visualization

Modo 901 Expands the 3D Content Creation Universe

1 Jun, 2015 By: Randall S. Newton

Enhancements to The Foundry's latest release include the incorporation of MeshFusion, which was formerly a plugin.

The new edition of The Foundry's Modo, released May 27, ups the ante in the crowded field of multipurpose 3D content creation software. Modo has developed a diverse set of users in fields as varied as industrial styling, game character design, animation, and rendering for commercial art. Modo 901 delivers new features for all these users, while at the same time improving under-the-hood basic performance.

In a surprising move, The Foundry is recommending a specific computer and graphics card to Modo 901 users. "We recommend using the HP Z440 Workstation with an Nvidia Quadro K4200 graphics card," the company said in a prepared statement. "This combination gives you the performance you need for advanced GPU [graphics processing unit] functions now available in Modo 901."

Modo has a following among professionals in manufacturing, as well as in media and entertainment. Image courtesy of Mike James for The Foundry.

It is easy for CAD users to think of general-purpose 3D modeling tools such as Modo as being all about the artistic side, dismissing them as tools for making shiny blobs — or blobby monsters. But expectations are rising: that blobby monster may need to be printed in 3D; the cherry-red car hood model may be headed to both the factory and the advertising studio. Turning an artist's vision into a final product — whether that product is a film character or a physical product — requires precise geometric manipulation as well as free-form styling.

MeshFusion Now Included

One of the biggest additions to Modo 901 is the folding in of MeshFusion, which was sold as an add-on when introduced for Modo 801. MeshFusion offers precise control over subdivision surface (SDS, also known as Sub-D) models, often used to create "watertight" models using Boolean operations. Forcing geometric surfaces to play nice is tricky in any 3D modeling approach, but SDS is gaining favor across the industry. MeshFusion provides interactive intersection as well as addition and subtraction of SDS objects. Users can control the blending between two objects, and edit the assembly instructions. It also comes with a library of preset primitives to use in constructing an object; the final output is a watertight mesh suitable for further editing in Modo or exporting to an STL (stereolithography) file, the lowest-common-denominator format for 3D printing.

MeshFusion uses Boolean operations to provide precise control over subdivision surface models. Image courtesy of The Foundry.


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About the Author: Randall S. Newton

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