modo bubbble logo

Frequently Asked Questions

Home >> FAQ

back next

Have a problem that's perplexing you with MODO? It's likely others have had the same problem, take a look through the Frequently Asked Questions page for a possible answer.


Why does Internet Explorer give me an error every time I open the documentation?

For security purposes, Internet Explorer disables the execution of scripts that are served locally (i.e. from your local system, not the Internet). If you are viewing the documentation from your local drive, you will need to 'Allow Blocked Content' each time the documentation is accessed. Advanced users may wish the enable the "Allow Active Content to Run in Files on My Computer' setting in the Advanced Internet Options dialog.



How can I customize my interface?

Users can customize their interface easily, but before doing so, understanding the functions of the 'Thumb' and 'Widget' are essential. Those functions are covered on the 'Layout Controls' page of the documentation. Additionally, users can follow a walk through of building a custom interface on the 'Customizing Your Layout' page.

How can I map my own keyboard shortcuts?

Keyboard shortcuts can be assigned within the Input Editor found in the menu bar under "System > Input Editor". An easier way to accomplish the same task is to utilize the 'Command History' viewport. To map a command to a custom key, users can simply fire the command in MODO, by either invoking the command from the menu bar or within the MODO UI itself, then within the 'Command History' viewport, locate the appropriate command and RMB+click and choose the 'Map Command to Key' option from the contextual menu. This opens the 'Key Assignment' dialog where users can define the particular key they wish to use. Press 'OK' to set the new definition. Users should note that this new value is saved in the MODO configuration file (MODOXXX.cfg). Removal of this file will also remove custom keyboard shortcuts.

How can I change my viewport colors?

Viewport colors are changes first within the Preferences section "System > Preferences" under the "Display > Colors" section. Users can modify the colors to their liking and then use the 'Save to Scheme' button and assign a new name to the color scheme. To actually apply the scheme to a viewport, users need to LMB+click within the target viewport to select it. Selected viewports are denoted by the orange highlighting of the Thumb icon. Then in the menu bar, select the command "View > Viewport Color Scheme" and choose the named scheme defined earlier in the Preferences.

How can I change the default lights in the 3D viewports for modeling?

MODO offers users the ability to adjust the default lighting in 3D viewports using the options found in the menu bar under "View > Edit Viewport Lights". Once the function is active, users can LMB+drag in the viewport to change the current lights position. Additional properties are available in the Tool properties form for 'Color' and 'Intensity'. The option 'Current' defines the particular light being edited. Users can use the commands "View > Add Viewport Light" and "View > Remove Viewport Light" to modify the number of lights visible.

Why does my 'X' keyboard shortcut not work?

Certain keyboard shortcuts require MODO to be in a specific state or mode, such as the timeline shortcuts require MODO to be in "items' selection mode or the brush tip pie menu requires a paint tool to be active. Make sure the proper tools is selected, if necessary, and the correct selection mode is active before applying the keyboard shortcut.

After I've changed an option, how can I return its setting to the default value/state?

Each animateable attribute value is preceded by a small dot or circle that defines its keyframe status. Users can RMB+click on the option to open the contextual menu and select the 'Remove All' option returning any attribute back to its default state.



What is a bounding box?

The bounding box is the virtual rectangular volume encompassing all the geometry in any Mesh Item layer, defined by the maximum and minimum vertex values on all three axes.

What size should I make my object?

In most cases models are best created at real-world scale. The way lighting attenuates in a scene is all based off of real world values. To get the most realistic results building to the correct size will produce the best results, However, there are situations where working to scale will have benefits, such as when modeling anything smaller than a few millimeters in size should be scaled up, or anything larger than a few city blocks should be scaled down, items getting beyond these sizes push the boundaries of MODO's accuracy. You defiantly don't want to be modeling sub-atomic particles or entire planets to actual scale.

How do I insert an image into my viewport for modeling?

Users can insert custom background images into a viewport using the Backdrop item added in the Item list viewport. Within the Background items properties, specific images can be applied and the settings determine how it is displayed in the 3D viewport. For more, please reference the 'Modeling with Images' page of the documentation.

How do I change the default behavior for a tool?

By default, tools should remember its settings between uses, where the last used settings become the defaults for the next application. If users wishes to change the system default values for a tool this can be done within the 'Tool Pipe' viewport. With the tool active and the appropriate new settings defined, RMB+click over the command name in the Tool Pipe and choose the 'Save Preset' option. Keep the default name value in the resulting save dialog to overwrite the default behavior (Make sure only the tool you wish to modify is active, having additional Action Center and Falloff settings will be included if also active).

Why do my OBJ files import as all triangles/why can't I edit my imported OBJ file?

MODO has an option to import OBJ files as a 'Static Mesh', which makes it much easier to deal with multi-million polygon objects. This option limits the modifications available to only Items mode transforms. However, the process also triangulates the geometry when generating the 'Static Mesh' from the imported geometry. Users that wish to further modify imported OBJ files should make sure this option is disabled (the default state) before importing any OBJ format geometry.

When I duplicate an object it changes size, Why?

Understanding the difference between MODO's component and Item selection modes is very important to successfully using MODO. Users that aren't sure of the differences can read more about it here. Basically, what often happens, users will scale an item layer accidentally while in Items mode, not realizing it. Subsequent duplicates will default to the zero base transform values, changing the size of the duplicated objects. If this happens, users can use the "Freeze > Scale" option in the items properties panel before duplicating the item layer.

Why are my Replicators positioned away from the Point Source when I assign the Prototype?

Replicators base their position information in relation to the Prototype's 'Center' position. If the geometry was created at an arbitrary position away from the Center, users can use the 'Center to Bounding Box' commands to easily reposition the Center, or simply Center the geometry using the appropriate command.




How do I find out my models dimensions?

Absolute dimensions for the overall bounding volume of any selection can be found using the 'Dimensions Tool' command found in the menu bar under "View > Dimensions Tool". Invoking the command will display the values over a ruler display directly in the 3D viewport. To confine the display to a specific section, simply select it, using the appropriate selection mode. When nothing is selected, the Dimension will default to the overall bounding box volume of all visible items.

How do I scale my model to a certain size?

Users can scale objects, based on the selections bounding box volume using the 'Absolute' palette found at the bottom of the 'Snaps' tool palette. Use the 'Grab Size' command to find the current size, then enter the new value in the appropriate input field and press enter to apply the new dimension.

How can I snap items in a scene?

MODO has a snapping function that is based on the snapping of tool handles. Proper snapping requires an understanding of Action Center settings. The snapping functionality is covered on the 'Snapping' page under Precision in the MODO Toolbox section.


Alignment and Positioning--

How can I accurately align my object onto the surface of another object?

For simple geometry in the same item layer as the target surface, users can use the Tack tool with the 'Move Connected Vertices' command enabled. For more complex object, it will be easier to use the 'Drop Action' functionality found in the Animate interface tab. Both the source and target need to be separate item layers. Then users can set the 'Center' of the source item to the appropriate position in relation to the geometry; typically using the command "Edit > Center to Bounding Box > Bottom". Next, set the 'Drop Action' function to the 'Place and Align' option. Finally, with no tool active, simply LMB+click on the source mesh and drag it over the target surface and release the mouse button setting the object to the surface.

I can't get a background constraint to work, how should I set it up?

Background constraints foremost need some background geometry. The target geometry needs to be in the foreground, meaning in the Items List the layer is visible and selected. If you're not familiar with foreground, background and visibility states, please reference the Items List page of the documentation. To enable Background Constraint, press the 'F11' key and choose 'Background' from the Constraint Mode options. By default, the Background constraint only constrains tool handles. To constrain geometry as well, on the Tool properties form choose either 'Screen Axis' or 'Vector' options under Geometry Constraint. More about these options can be found in the 'Constrain to Background' section on the Snapping page of the documentation.

How can I specify specific positions for elements?

This is dependent on the particular selection mode. While in Items selection mode, users can define the position of individual layers in the Items properties panel, this sets the Center position to the specific location with the associated geometry remaining in proper relation to the Center element. Individual vertices can be explicitly positioned in the 'Info and Statistics' viewport. For Edges and Polygons, transforms are applied as an offset from the present position using the Move tool, to assign a specific position, simply 'Center' the selection prior to applying the offset.

How can I tell what size my object/selection is?

See "How do I find out my models dimensions?"



My Item isn't rotating/scaling from where I want it to?

This is likely because the Center isn't positioned correctly in relation to the geometry. Users can use the 'Center to Bounding Box' commands to easily reposition the Center, or Simply Center the geometry using the appropriate command.

Why don't my deformers show up?

Users can define how [MDD, Morph and Weight] Deformers display on a per viewport basis. Be default most viewports are designated to not display *animated* deformers (only the 'Animation' and 'Rendering' interface tabs do). Users can open the options panel for a particular viewport by hovering the mouse over the target viewport and press 'O' on the keyboard. On the viewport options popover, users need to set 'Enable Deformers' option at the bottom of the 'Drawing and Control' section. If they still aren't working after doing so, make sure that users are working in 'Items' selection mode when adjusting the deformer values.



Do I still need to de-gamma my images with Color Management?

No, color management completely eliminates the need to remove gamma from images, this is all done automatically in the background. Gamma settings are still present for image adjustment purposes, but for the most part should be left at the default 1.0 value. For more information on Color Management, please see the overview page.

I can't get Color Management to turn 'on' when opening older MODO scenes?

To ensure 100% compatibility when rendering older scenes, Color Management is disabled automatically. If you wish to manually enable it, the 'Gamma' setting on all image maps will need to be returned to 1.0 as well as the output gamma on the Render output. Next selecting the 'Scene' item (the clapper board icon at the top of the Items list), define an color control in the 'OCIO config' section (such as 'Nuke Default'). Then under the Default Colorspace settings for each bit-depth define the appropriate colorspace as these settings will then be applied to the images in the scene. For more information on Color Management, please see the overview page.

I've applied some preset materials to an object, but when I duplicate it, the clone is just gray, why does this happen?

Material Presets default to limiting their application to a single mesh item, by way of an Item Mask. Disabling the Item mode masking function in the material Group item will alleviate this problem. Simply change the item name listed under the 'Item' to '(all)' to resolve the issue, allowing the textures to globally affect the scene.

How can I get rid of those terrible splotches in my render?

Splotchiness is generally an indicator that the number of Irradiance Rays is too small to accurately depict the surrounding environment when calculating Irradiance Caching. Try increasing the value to better capture the surrounding lighting. Lowering the Irradiance Rate and increasing the Irradiance Ratio can also help in certain scenes. Enabling the multi-iportance sampling within the global illumination settings can also help to increase the sampling quality of IC global illumination.

Why is my 'X' surface so noisy in a final render?

Noise that is confined to a specific area, be it a shadow, a reflective surface or a transparent object are typically the result of the number of samples related to that particular option. MODO offers a extremely flexible shading solution providing user the ability to adjust the number of rays used to calculate individual effects. The default values will provide speedy renders but on occasion don't provide enough sampling latitude to produce smooth results. Lights that generate soft shadows individually have a 'Samples' setting that when raised increases overall rendering quality. The Material item offers a 'Samples' setting when rendering soft reflection as does the Refraction Roughness setting. Volumetric light do as well. When trying to reduce noise in a scene, typically there is some investigation required to determine the likely culprit. Noise related directly to shading can be reduced by reducing the Shading Rate and noise produced by geometry (such as using replicators of fur) can be reduced by increasing the amount of Antialiasing. Keep in mind that when increasing these settings, render times will almost always increase as well.

Why, when I add a Replicator, do my Irradiance pre pass times go through the roof?

When rendering lots of very tiny detail using Global Illumination, the default calculation method, 'Irradiance Caching' (IC) will calculate the irradiance value every time a surface normal changes. When there is a lot of detail due to Replicators, Fur or Displacements, the expensive IC calculation will take much longer to generate. Users should assign affected surfaces to use the less expensive Global Illumination option 'Monte Carlo'. To do this, create a 'Selection Set' of all the affected geometry. Add a Material Group item to the Shader tree and place it above the 'Base Shader' item. In the Material Group properties, set the 'Polygons Tag Type' to 'Selection Set' and under 'Polygon Tag' select the previously created Selection Set. Next, add a Shader to new Material Group "Add Layer > Special > Shader" and in the Shaders Properties, set the 'Indirect Illumination Type' to 'Monte Carlo'. Fur by default will utilize Monte Carlo shading. The Fur Item itself as an option 'Use Irradiance Cache' that disables this behavior.

My scene won't render, what can I do?

The number one reason MODO fails to render a scene is the user has run out of available memory. Often times this is due to simply too many, often unnecessary polygons. To reduce the memory overhead, users can reduce the number of subdivisions for Subdivision Surfaces geometry in the Item properties panel for certain high res objects. If 'Adaptive Subdivision' is enabled, try to disable that and set the subdivision level manually for each item. When using Displacement, users can set the 'Displacement as Bump' option enabled in the Render items under Settings, and reduce the number of subdivisions. The resulting image will have far fewer polygons but be visually similar to the higher level render. Also Fur items offers a 'Fur Frustrum Culling' option the removes all fur outside of the camera view. If there are no reflective surfaces in the scene this can be a huge memory saver. Other options include rendering multiple 'Limited Region' sections and assembling them in an image editor.




comment balloon Comments (3) RSS Icon

Concept Art of Joe MacCarthy March 2, 2015 at 9:13 AM

Can somebody recommend a hardware spec for a Mac Pro laptop to run Modo on?

Concept Art of Joe MacCarthy April 22, 2015 at 11:49 AM

I am trying to build a primitive in a scene. I keep getting the warning that no active meshes are selected? I cannot add a primitive. Do I need to start over with a new file?

Nigel Doyle May 7, 2015 at 11:57 PM

Joe - These questions should be asked in the Modo forums.


back next