Modo vs. Max


It’s been a while since I got tempted to go for Modo (Using Max ATM). Been researching a lot about it but as you know like any other big moves, it requires even more research (which I’m trying to pull out of you now haha). Most of the threads I’ve read about this go a long way back like 2012 etc. so I’m not aware where Modo stands with current versions.

The reason is I hear a lot about it being much faster and convenient to work with. Saving time is so important for me. But on the other hand I also hear a lot it’s not perfectly appropriate for game dev BUT you can get the job done with some scripts. Well this was for 2012-2013 and not sure how it has changed since then.

Is there anyone here whose using Modo particularly for game dev? Care to share your experience with it? :slight_smile:

Yeah, I’d like to hear too. It looks very nice for hard surface stuff (decent booleans for instance), but how does that relate to decent geometry for a game?

How much does it cost these days? Why is there talk about plugins and stuff?

There is an indie version available at Steam: MODO indie 901 on Steam

You can pay by subscription or the full price at once.

Don’t forget that MODO has has the new update announced today. :slight_smile:

Why don’t you try it and see if it fits you?

Because I don’t even know it’s interface and don’t have the time for it either so I want to hear from someone who has mastered it to hear if it’s worth investing the time and money into it or not. Can’t really see if it wins over Max with a small try.

@, Thanks. Seems like 901 is definitely a go for me.

Question, if I get 801 would I be able to update/upgrade to 901 without paying extra $$$ ? or how much more?

Modo beats 3ds any day of the week, and I have always preferred 3ds to the competitors for the longest time. The difference between Modo and the others, is that Modo is modern, and feel like it was designed recently, while the others feel like they were designed and then left it untouched for years.

FWIW I’ve had a fiddle with it. There is one serious issue which meant that I went back to Max … stability. It was very slow on the HP Pavilion i3-powered laptop I use when I’m having to ferry my wife to a friend’s house. I lock myself in the kitchen, be completely anti-social, and get on with my work while she and the friend are gassing to each other. When there are several clones onscreen, Modo really grinds to a halt on that machine. Max, on the other hand, has no major issues on it. Both can crash but Modo seems to do it with alarming frequency on lower powered systems if this laptop is anything to go by.

Comparing modelling functions, though, I am very impressed with Modo. Everything just seems easier to access than Max. If it wasn’t for the stability issues then I’d have given it far greater consideration.

Once I can afford to get an MSI GT80 Titan laptop without my wife killing me for ‘unreasonable behaviour’ then I’ll probably go the Modo route.

Peoples opinion about software shouldn’t matter to you, because what you feel as intuitive might be different for someone else. However if you are coming from Maya/Max, learning Modo shouldn’t be an issue, 901(due in May) is more of a game dev release then previous version, it supports MikkT tangent space. Modo has no modifier stack so all its modeling is destructive. 901 integrates Mesh Fusion so that’s a huge win if you do any hard surface modelling.

If you buy new seat 801(currently at 1500 USD) today, you’ll get a free upgrade to 901. If you dont have a license, its cheaper to buy a used 801 license(check in the foundry forum, marketplace subforum) and then buy the upgrade(495 USD). Modo upgrade policy is very generous , you could upgrade from earlier version to 901 for 495 USD, even if its from version 101(the first version of Modo). Modo used to be very unstable during it’s earlier years(101,201) but 801 is pretty stable for the vast majority of its user.

Bottomline you need to sit down and use Modo to see if you like or not before investing time,energy and more importantly money. FYI, new seats of Modo shortly after 901 release will increase to 1899 USD.

Why change something that works and is stable?

Because Autodesk isn’t a very likeable corporate entity and people are wanting to move away from them? Max hasn’t seen huge update with new version either and Autodesk is moving away from upgrades in the future. A commercial Modo license allows you to run it on Windows,OSX,Linux.

And they killed off Softimage! Them ■■■■■■■■.

Because it can be done better, which drastically speeds up workflow? Just because something works, it doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon.
This is the problem with the the Autodesk crowd, the products has become so standard, that the user base can’t say a bad word about them and praise them like they’re perfect.
And that is telling Autodesk that they can slack off and just let it run, without actually improving much between new releases, and then reap more money.

Experience with 3dsMax - 3 years, experience with MODO - 3 months.
TLDR: It was a difficult decision to switch main 3D software after all these years, but I don’t regret at all. Sorry for long read! :smiley:

User Experience
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3dsMax and MODO are **very **different.
3dsMax is more like good old hammer. It’s simple, robust and easy to grasp. But if you need something more complex/vary from original - you get ugly hammer with tons of glued thingies that tend to fall off. Also you don’t have direct access to internal stuff(vertex data, uv data and etc), you’re use tools to access it.
MODO is like lego technic(but not a toy). It’s simple, yet versatile and allows to use it in more creative ways. Also internal stuff is “unlocked” and on the table - you can see how exactly vertex normals are stored, get information per vertex/edge/poly directly and so on.

**User Interface **
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The main idea - you have different workspaces for different tasks and fast method to switch/cycle between them. Hold [ctrl]+~] to call circle menu and choose workspace by hovering over it.
It’s not a restriction - you could call menu from another workspace and use its tools in current workspace if you want to.

It’s very user friendly, highly customizable and smart. Same tabs and buttons could lead to different actions if ctrl/alt/shift is hold(For example “Create Copy” button visually switch to “Create Instance”).
Same hotkey could lead to different actions, depending on which selection is currently on(Bevel edge if edge selection, Bevel poly if poly selection. Of course you could change it however you want).
Every action you made is written in action history, so you can simply click on past actions and directly map hotkey to this actions.
You can add custom buttons, menus and etc **everywhere **! No restrictions at all.

Modeling workflow
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I prefer MODO way of doing things. In 3dsMax you are the end user of different pre-built tools + you can customize them a little bit. In Modo you still have same tools(much more actually), but you are the creator of tools: you’re able to change built-in tools significantly and then combine them into single action, then mix’n’match/layering different tools into single action and reuse it as basic hotkey’d tool.
In 3dsMax you have separate sets of tools for UV, Modeling, Sculpting, Retopo, Movement et cetera. In MODO tools are designed to be used however you want to use them! You can sculpt UV and particles(Yeah, really, google it), apply UV operations on mesh and so on.

Workplane. This beast let you work in perspective mode with orthographic grid precision. You can rotate working grid, align to another view/poly/edge/etc and work in this dimension, yet saving your viewing perspective.
Action Center is something like advanced pivot point for modeling - every action made in 3d is relative to this point. Like rotation, scaling, twisting and so on.
Sculpting is a good tool for organic modeling - you could create your base model from cube and then using multires(Like subdiv levels in Zbrush) sculpt high poly. Then with single click switch back to your lowpoly that get form and details from high poly.

**Rigging **
Way more intuitive than Max. I’ve tried to rig stuff in Max, but at some point decide that I can’t to everything in 3d and let it go. In MODO it’s actually fun(still difficult, don’t get me wrong, but easier to grasp and work with). I’m not a character artist by any means, but I had a lot of fun by creating this in MODO

Also you can see how useful color organizing could be - I animate only golden objects and export only purples :slight_smile:

**Animation **
Same as Rigging. Tried at Max, but really loved this in MODO
Character animation is simply outstanding! You can store different transform sets(ie Movement and rotation of bones) into “Actors” and then create “Actions” for each actor. Each actor action have separate unique timeline with animation, so you can easily swap/chain them and do whatever you want. You could have single file with dozens of animations stored in separate actions. Veeery handy to say the least.
Some tools were mind blowing for me - Motion paths(02:55) for example. You could change trajectory of movement/rotation by modifying real trajectory curve in viewport.

**Conclusions **
After some time MODO I can’t get back into 3dsMax - it feels like old mammoth and I can’t recall any feature I miss from 3dsMax. Maybe architectural and rendering pipeline in 3dsMax is better, but I simply have not tried this in MODO since I switch to gamedev.
You have to change your working mindset to fully “unlock” MODO
Probably the most important thing is the learning materials… I’ve tried MODO 2 years ago and did not understand it at all. This time I’ve tried official video series(free) and they does their thing really good!
Worth mentioning that I had hundreds of crashes in 3dsMax and I have zero crashes in MODO, boyah!

And again, sorry for wall of text :slight_smile:

Erm “we” the max crowd didn’t say anything, it’s the new users who struggle to learn it and are constantly jumping from one program to another and open threads to discuss which is better X or Z. (The same crowd that opens threads about which engine is better but can’t even echo a “hello world”. :stuck_out_tongue: )

I know Max needs some improvements but in the end if you don’t like or can’t wait for new updates go use Modo or something more ‘new’.

I liked the new updates in Modo, but in general Max can do all that (apart from that mesh blending). In the end though, a 3d modeling program has a limit. People used to model 15 years ago and produce the same quality as today, the problem is not the software…

How are the “new users” as you call them, that switch softwares telling Autodesk that they can slack off? If anything, they’re doing the opposite.
I don’t see why you’re talking about whether it’s useful to start these threads or not, if they want to discuss it, let them, does it really matter to you?

I agree completely that many new users are missing the point, lots of them think that a good software will automatically make them good, but that’s not what I was discussing at all.
Furthermore, just because you can make something the same in other softwares, it doesn’t mean that you should choose an inferior one, let them hear what others have to say before starting, that way there won’t be as many of them jumping around between softwares.

I’ve been using 3ds as my primary modeling tool for years, and have always preferred it to the competitors, but I have always thought it was outdated and not modern at all, which is why I seek out something new, that has a modern interface and a new fresh take on how 3d modeling should work. I’d rather have my whole work flow feel nice and modern, rather than having to deal with old interfaces that needed a revamp years ago. It took Autodesk until 2013 to include the ability to let us rebind the way you navigate using mouse! That’s just rubbish. And there are huge bugs that has been around for years, though many versions of the software, that they just don’t care about fixing, even though people should be able to expect the best when paying this much for a software.

I don’t say that Modo has tons of features that 3ds doesn’t, I’m pretty sure it lacks some features since 3ds has been standard, together with Maya for way longer. But it’s just so much more modern, and can speed up even the simplest repetitive tasks, which saves me tons of time. And in game development, as many other fields, time is money, and I prefer not to waste more of it on Autodesk.

Couldn’t have said it better. I’m in a similar position, I used 3ds for years, but now that I have moved on to Modo, I could never go back. It would feel like going back to windows 95 when you’re used to 8.1.

Umm, is that good or bad?


You keep repeating the same old things, I don’t see how 3ds Max is slower than Modo when it comes to game dev, what exactly takes more time in 3ds that you call it Win95?

It’s all about efficiency. You can create masterpiece 3d model even in notepad by typing coordinates and then parsing this into vertex data, but it’s faster and more enjoyable to create in 3d software package. If some tool allows me to create same models faster, more enjoyable and in more logical to me ways then I tend to choose this software instead of old one. Because in the end of the day I will spend a lot of hours with this software and I want it to be as much comfortable and efficient as possible.
Yes, everything I made in MODO I still could create in 3dsMax without problems, but it simply takes more time due to above mentioned reasons.

What EXACTLY? Workplane, action center, falloffs, customizing basic tools, layering different tools into single one, better selection tools, more responsive UI, conditional hotkeys, fast circular maya-like user menus.
It just some quickies out of head, of course there is more. But the point is that combining all these you simply work faster — it’s not about particular tool or uberfeature that “kills” 3dsMax.