Developed by a team of engineers originally working at NewTek (makers of LightWave), modo was first presented in 2004, and is characterized by a modern architecture and interface and by a set of tools particularly oriented towards designers and digital artists.
While generally not suitable for actual manufacturing, the polygonal modelers allow a freedom and flexibility not found on standard NURBS CAD modeling tools, and for this reason they are used more and more by industrial designers for quick 3D sketches and for exploring forms and design variants directly in 3D.
This sixth major release of modo features a significant number of improvements and additions, making it an end-to-end solution that can be considered as a possible alternative to established software packages like 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Maya and Lightwave.
Among the new features are the much-awaited character animation tools – with full-body Inverse Kinematics, Pose Tool, Skeleton Tool and layerable deformers.
From a design perspective, the already comprehensive set of modeling tools has been expanded with an upgraded Pixar Subdivision Surfaces implementation, soft selections falloffs, new geometry constraints and dedicated Re-Topology tools.
The rendering engine benefits from an enhanced render window, new rendering passes, the Rendering Booleans tool, which allows to easily create cutaways and technical illustrations, and the Rounded Edge Shader, which allows to render the hard edges with a more realistic rounded appearance without the need of creating additional geometry with fillets, bevels or edge loops.
New special effects include volumetric sprites, particle clouds, enhanced replicators and blob items, and the Recoil module is now included in the standard version of the software and features both rigid and soft body dynamics.
The new version also includes a number of workflow enhancements and performance improvements, and supports the 3D mouse by 3Dconnexion.
With the release of modo 601, Luxology has also made available a set of new CAD Loaders which allow to import XT, IGES, and STEP files.
modo 601 is available for both Mac and Windows, and can be purchased directly from Luxology’s store.
The price of the full version is $1,195, and for a limited two-week period owners of previous versions can upgrade to modo 601 for $395, saving $100 off the regular update price.
For a comprehensive tour of the new features you can visit Luxology’s website.