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Luxology unveils Modo 701

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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Luxology has announced the feature set of Modo 701: the first major update to the 3D modelling, rendering and animation package since the company’s merger with The Foundry last year.

The release bears the influence of Luxology’s new development partners: mainly in ways that will be welcome to long-term Modo users, but in one, probably less so.

New logo, new capital letter
First, the branding stuff. We thought we detected a new logo in the teaser screenshot posted earlier this week, and there’s a typographical change to match: the former modo now officially gets a capital letter.

(In fact, it gets four, since the press release writes the product name in all capitals, to match The Foundry’s other products. For the sake of our own house style, we’re compromising on ‘Modo’ here.)

New particle engine, new audio tools, newly unlimited rendering
Next, the substantial stuff. The bare-bones feature list Luxology has released confirms that Modo 701 will indeed feature Audio playback and a dedicated Dynamics layer, as hinted at by the screenshot.

What the screenshot didn’t hint at was the main new feature: a new procedural particle engine.

It looks nice in the teaser video above: more for motion graphics than visual effects, though it’s hard to tell at this stage whether that reflects the presets or the capabilities of the engine itself.

There are also major performance enhancements (the release quotes a figure of up to 175x, although it doesn’t say exactly what for) – something echoed by the quotes from beta testers – and unlimited network rendering.

And, as Luxology announced earlier this week, there will be a new Linux version of the software.

New price, too
The less welcome news is that the price is going up $300: to $1,495 for an individual licence or $1,795 for a floating licence: something ascribed, in part, to the cost of The Foundry’s development work on the Linux edition.

According to Luxology’s FAQs: “New licenses are increasing as a result of increased development costs of additional OS support, now unlimited network rendering, and a more complete end-to-end feature offering.”

The company comments that it expects that “for the majority of customers, prices will remain the same or decrease slightly” – presumably as a result of the unlimited network rendering, and planned price cuts to its Power SubD-NURBS plugin and XfrogPlants bundles. (By roughly 50% and 40%, respectively.)

Obviously, that’s more likely to hold true for studios than one-man shops or freelancers.

However, if you buy Modo 601 now (or upgrade from a previous version), you get a free upgrade to 701 when it ships – so if you don’t benefit financially from the changes, you do get the old price for one more update.

More news to follow
As yet, no release date has been announced. Luxology says that it will be fleshing out the feature list over the coming weeks, and will be holding a Modo 701 webcast on Monday 25 March to show off the new tools.

You can read the official press release underneath the image below.

Visit the Modo 701 webpage
(Includes demo videos, pricing FAQs and a registration link for the webcast)

130313_Modo701
 

PRESS RELEASE (Excerpts)
Leading computer graphics and visual effects software developer Luxology is pleased to announce the forthcoming release of MODO 701.

This brand new major release of MODO will significantly enhance the modelling, sculpting, animation, effects and rendering workflows and continue to add value with a number of new features.

Over the last year, the development team has listened to a huge amount of customer feedback and subsequently made significant enhancements to the core functionality in this new version.

MODO 701 highlights

  •  Procedural particle engine with an easy to use pre-set workflow
  •  Audio playback and a sound channel modifier, bringing animations to life
  •  Schematic improvements, reducing scene graph complexity
  •  Dedicated dynamics simulation layer, significantly improving performance
  •  Simplified complexity of materials and layered shaders
  •  Large scene performance improvements by as much as 175x
  •  Preview render synchronisation improvements, over 50x faster in large scenes
  •  New Python interpreter, making python execution many times faster
  •  Unlimited network rendering

Additionally, following a substantial internal engineering effort and with the assistance of partner, The Foundry, MODO will soon be available on Linux, bringing it to all three platforms.

Brad Peebler, Co-Founder of Luxology comments: “We’ve made such big improvements to the existing architecture of the software in MODO 701 that 601 users will notice a huge leap forward. We’ve also added some really cool functionality like the new particle system. This release will truly deliver on the philosophy that perfection comes through refinement. As always, we have pushed the limits and can’t wait to find out what you all think.”

Hagop (Kane) Kaneboughazian, Senior Animation Director at Viscira says: “MODO 701 has the fastest, most highly interactive and powerful render engine available today – to me it’s almost real-time, which is kind of freaky. A lot of improvements have gone into this release that will be really useful for 3D content creators. The foundation of MODO 701′s particle system is going to open the door for insane capabilities and features to the MODO community.”

Jeffrey Jasper, Digital FX Supervisor & Technical Lead, NEW DEAL STUDIOS comments: “The performance improvements and added features in MODO 701 have our artists jumping for joy. The rendering improvements in both preview and final rendering are also phenomenal. 701 just feels so fast!”

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