Modo: Pros, Cons, Quirks, and Links

Published in
3 min readSep 21, 2018


Modo screenshot from iMaterialize

Modo is an incredible 3D graphic design software made by Foundry. It’s got a versatile offering of animation, rigging, modeling, painting, and sculpting tools that contribute copiously to the world of 3D design. It’s geared towards professional usage in the film and gaming industry. This is a tool for problem solvers.

Modo, like many of the other 3D software solutions out there, started in the era of Amiga computers. It was born in Mountain View, California, and developed by a team that called themselves Luxology, LLC. Getting acquired by The Foundry (an international visual effects software company) was a relatively recent step; this hand-off happened but six years ago in 2012. Since then, Modo has helped big-name clients like Pixar, Mercedes-Benz, Google, ILM, and Sony Pictures Imageworks to create complex visual effects and animation.

So what are the things that keep Modo users loyal? For one, customizability is something they’ve got down pat. Not just the user interface but the tools themselves are highly customizable using Tool Pipe. Being able to script in Perl, Python, and Lua languages also adds another dimension of tailor-made creative construction. Organic and hard-surface modeling is another strong suit — some of the best tools in the game can be found here (with hotkeys that actually make sense and even work on tablets!) In general, the shortcuts and workflow options provide a very high potential for efficiency. Modo also has a very good native renderer, so you might be able to get a finished product just from one software. And last but not least — it comes with a whole library of video tutorials!

Modo used to include ready-made upon setup a cool thing: imageSynth, a Plug-in for creating seamless textures in Adobe Photoshop. However, they’ve since retired this plugin. Modo is sometimes criticized for being a little troublesome in the texturing process, so that’s a shame. There aren’t great tools for fluids or liquid simulation, either. This software doesn’t play around: it assumes a knowledge of 3D design and thus might not be suitable for beginners. Of course price is also an issue: after the free trial, it’s either a $399/year subscription or $1,799 for a perpetual individual license. While it’s nice they give you the option, it’s still a lot of money.

Ok, now for the helpful part. Check out some of the resources and support available to the wonderful users of Modo:

Want more info, news, and insight into the world of 3D? Read this article and others like it on iMeshup’s blog!