Thursday, December 16th, 2010 Posted by Jim Thacker

Luxology ships modo 501

Luxology has released modo 501, the latest full-point update to its modelling, rendering and technical animation package, balancing an extensive list of new features with a focus on smarter workflow.

Key additions to the latest release include support for Pixar Subdivision Surface, multi-resolution sculpting, and the option to work with large, disk-based map formats when texturing.

Raytracing performance has been improved by 30-40%, according to the official press release (the beta testers we spoke to actually reported slightly higher gains), while the new RayGL mode enables users to work in a hybrid raytraced/OpenGL view, “effectively merging modelling and rendering”.

While some users will be disappointed to find out that character animation has not been added, there is a robust new node-based schematic view for rigging, indicating Luxology is still moving in this direction.

Luxology has also released a greatly extended SDK for the software, which is already being used on the development of a tree-generation plug-in and an implementation of Bullet physics.

Not just new tools
Despite the lengthy feature list, the company says that the focus of the release is not purely new tools.

“The first version of modo wasn’t very feature rich, but all the features were refined, and that impressed people,” said Luxology president Brad Peebler when we spoke to him earlier this year. “Then we got caught up in this race to cram features in, and 201, 301, 401 were about massive feature lists.”

“With 501, a lot of people were telling us not to add new features, but to make everything better. To ‘make it more modo’ was the phrase they were using. And so we did a lot of that.”

Modo 501 is available now for Windows and OS X, price $995.

Read a full list of new features in modo 501 here