Modo+P, Cinema+RF, Element+SW

A bit of news is making the rounds, which has people a bit jazzed up with excitement and that news is Modo 10.1 coming and as a Public Beta at that to boot. Before getting too carried away with dances of joy at the prospect of trying out the new procedural tools, you might want to consider how it actually will fit into your pipeline and adjust your level of expectation. Doing serious testing is no trivial task and without trying to discourage you and crush your dreams, there’s of course another side here.

Of course demo videos always look fancy, but as it stands, this first implementation of the procedural tools has some not so minor limitations. For me the most annoying one is how awkward is actually to set up. I’m not going to spill the beans just yet, but you will find out how convoluted it can be to create a simple procedural spline extrusion. Second, as a whole it’s rather limited and crude. I’m all for procedural bevels and a few other things, but it’s not like you could model an entire model with it. There’s just a million situations where you will freeze the generated mesh to refine it further, access specific sub-entities and prevent the evaluation stack from getting too slow, which incidentally also has a lot to do with only being able to access stuff via complicated rigs. Third, there is only limited integration with other features, so as cool as the demos may make it look to edit the base mesh for bunch of replicator instances, you can’t do the reverse and edit replicators with the modeling tools.

While I’m sure this sounds terrible, it’s not as bad, though. Within a small box of “things you can actually do” it works reasonably. Yet the fact remains that at best it’s like five percent of what I would consider a fully fledged procedural modeling workflow. The Cinema 4D person in me would probably say they got it wrong, but on a greater level and as someone who over the years has used many other tools, I can see the bigger picture and potential for the future. It’s just nothing that would compel me to upgrade, assuming I actually had the money. Typical “I’ll wait for the next version” stuff, if you will. In any case, you have the chance to find out for yourself and make up your mind.

For those generally rather too lazy in some areas of modelling (I swear, I never even considered modeling a Tie fighter!), everyone’s favorite Andrew has jumped in and offers some free Star Wars models, released on Star Wars day no less (which, I’m sure, if it wasn’t for the latest movie and all the marketing around it having been such a massive hit, barely anyone would have noticed). It’s all set for Element 3D, but there’s the baseline OBJ files as well and a full set of textures, so you should be able to use it in pretty much any program.

Speaking of “any program” there’s a bit of news for Cinema 4D with the native RealFlow plug-in coming out some time soon-ish. I seem to remember this being announced like forever ago and now it’s finally happening. With X-Particles also having added some pretty impressive enhancements for liquid/fluid simulation in version 3, it will be interesting how this pans out…

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