Modo Spaceships


Basic Modeling with Modo

Advanced User Interface and Modeling

User interface

  • Work Plane
    • * toggles Work Plane Visibility
    • HOME key toggles Workplane mode
    • Shift+HOME sets Workplane based on selection
      • When selecting multiple elements Modo will try to find the best work plane
      • Select three vertices and Modo will use the first to center the plane, the second for the z axis, and the third to get the x axis
    • END key toggles back to regular mode
    • tip : Work planes will be very important to help you clean and refine your meshes. 
  • 3D Viewport Properties
    • O activates the 3D Viewport Property Window (the letter O not zero)
    • Under Active Mesh, you can set different options for the items you select
    • Under Inactive Mesh, you can set different options for the items not selected.
    • Under Visibility, you can chose if different item types show up your viewport. Great way to hide cameras and Lights
  • NUM Pad Controls
    • 4-9 Changes the display shading modes 
    • 1 sets view to Top, pressing it again sets it to bottom
    • 2 sets the view to Front, pressing it again sets it to back
    • 3 sets the view to Left, pressing it again sets it to Right
    • . sets the view to Perspective, pressing it again sets it to Camera
    • 0 lets you see the other viewports, pressing it again will make active viewport full screen
    • + adds a subdivision level to your preview 
    • - Subtracts a subdivision level to your preview


  • TAB to  activate sub D preview, remember +- in NUM pad to change the subdivision level
  • - and = will change the size of your tool handle tip: not the numpad but the ones in your keyboard next to backspace
  • K will pop up current active tool handles
  • Actions Centers 
    • Action Centers control how a tool handle with behave in your scene.
    • Automatic mode, Modo looks at the condition of your selection and makes a best guess
    • Selection Mode, Modo will use different selections to try to find the best orientation for your handle
      • tip: This is incredibly powerful and will help you control your modeling so play around with it. 
      • Selecting an edge will align that handle to the edge
      • Selecting a polygon with align it to its own plane and base the up axis off its normal. (As in perpendicular to the face) Great for adding crown
      • Selecting multiple edges gives the ability to quickly eliminate S curves
  • Fall Off
    • Fall Offs are extremely powerful tool to influence a transformation gradually through the selection
    • Gives us the ability to make smoother movements across the whole model
    • tip: One of the tools that the earlier you master the better and faster you will model. 
  • Symmetry Modeling
    • Symmetry modeling lets us model both sides at the same time. 
    • It is found under Modo modes, next to fall off and work planes
  • Edge Weight 
    • Adding Edge weight can give you a quick way to make sharp lines
    • The Edge weight tool can be found under Vertex Map in the menu bar.
    • Select and edges and add weight to it.

Mat Cap Shaders

  • Mat Cap shaders are special shaders that help evaluate 3D forms quickly.
  • First we must add the Mat Cap Shader images to our scene using our presets
  • In presets their is a Matcap list, double click on any of the matcap you will like to use
    • Double clicking on the matcap won't effect our scene, all we are doing is loading the image into our file
    • tip: Dragging and dropping will actually assign the image as a Image map not a Matcap, making everything look incorrect
    • Images used in our scene can be found under images in the top right corner
  • To add a Matcap shader
    • Go to shader menu and select the Material you want to add a Matcap shader to.
      • tip: Click on 4 to activate shader selection mode and click on the shader you want.
    • Click on Add Layer and under Special you will find Matcap shader
    • Select on the Matcap you want to see.
    • In the Texture  layer properties you can choose the other Matcaps by clicking on the image

Quick Exercise

  • Add a Cube in your scene and subdivide it using the SDS subdivide tool by pressing D (can also be found in the tool box under basic.)
  • Activate the symmetry plane
  • After one subdivision move the vertices to make it look more like a speed form. Keep it simple and balanced
  • Sub Divide it again
  • Click on an edge loop and slide it closer to neighbor using the Slide tool under Edges
  • Press Tab to preview it's Subdivision
    • Notice how the closer the edges are the sharper they look. 
    • Press + to up the sub D preview level
  • Practice using fall offs, work planes and selection action center to move around the model


3D Form and Subdivision

  • Understanding 3D form
    • Remember to look at the model in a cohesive manner. The more the model is talking to itself, as in the corresponding edges and vertices have similar angles, the  better the result will be.
    • When you break down most designs they are actually quite simple shapes.
    • Keep the mesh as light as possible to give it smooth surfaces. 
    • If you notice, all the important Bold tips in this page, have all to do with finding relationships in space. 
      • The more you have vertices, edges and polygon talking to eachother the better the results will be. 
      • It is always better to move based off 3D properties as opposed to world space
  • Understanding Subdivision
    • When you press Tab you are seeing a preview of the subdivision, when you press D, you will apply the actual sub D to the mesh
    • Try to keep everything in quads for the time being.