• Price: 475 . 210

  • Company: Luxology

  • Pros: An elegantly designed, refined 3D system. Offers the core features that professional 3D artists expect.

  • Cons: The interface is best suited to widescreen displays, and the Shade Tree list can be confusing.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

The market for 3D modelling applications seems to be reaching a plateau in terms of complexity and efficiency. Programs that pile on the technology suffer in terms of ease of use. On the flipside, programs that are simple to use are often found wanting in the features department.

Luxology’s Modo is a new breed of 3D program that attempts to buck the trend. It recognizes that the 3D artist sometimes has too many controls to tweak – an approach that makes for a promising program.

The first incarnation of Modo (dubbed 102) featured a modelling environment for polygonal subdivision surfaces. There’s no need for NURBS – anything you can do with NURBS can be done with subdivision surfaces. Modo boasts good modelling tools, and the workflow is clean, flexible, and speedy.

The new version of Modo (called version 201) adds rendering, texturing, and 3D painting. It establishes Modo as a solution that’s well on its way to becoming a comprehensive 3D solution. Its main limitation is that it doesn’t include animation.

 border=0 /><p>Modo’s real-time preview gives you speedy interactive feedback on all rendered aspects of your scene.
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In terms of modelling, Modo is more streamlined than many current 3D applications. However, the new rendering feature really impresses. 
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The rendering parameters in most 3D programs are horribly complicated – Modo gets rid of most of the chaff and presents a simple set of parameters for adjusting output. 
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The software has a robust hybrid scanline/raytrace renderer with integrated depth-of-field, global illumination, and subsurface scattering. You can add a motion blur effect, despite the lack of animation. It’s startlingly fast, even with global illumination enabled. A simple antialiasing and sampling level scheme provides control over image quality, and you can create images up to 32,000 pixels square.
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