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Home >> The MODO Interface >> Preferences

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Accessible from the menu bar under "System > Preferences...", the MODO preferences define the default behavior for a variety of options and functions in MODO, further customizing the application to suit the particular tastes, needs and workflow of the individual user. The Preferences are organized into multiple categories that each deal with specific areas of customization for the application. Users can select any of the categories below to display the documentation that relates to that particular corresponding section.




Alembic I/O

Save Animation: The Alembic 'Save Animation' option, when enabled, will export the entire animated frame range in the Alembic file. When disabled only the current frame is exported.




COLLADA Export--
For user convenience, the 'Absolute Path', 'Merge Reference Items', 'Unit System', and 'Up Axis' settings are included in both their original locations on the 'Accuracy and Units', and 'Scene Export' panels, as well as in the COLLADA Export panel. Changing any of these settings in the COLLADA Export panel will also change the value globally, such that the new setting value updates in the original preference group panels as well.

Absolute Path: When this option is enabled, MODO will write all link references (such as those to images, MDDs and IES files) as Absolute Paths referencing their location to specific areas of a disc drive when saving files. When disabled, MODO uses relative paths to locate linked files.

Merge Reference Items: When utilizing Scene Reference items, users can enable this option to embed the referenced items into the scene file when saving, instead of having them remain external entities.

Unit System: Users can choose their preferred measurement units system based on several options. Once set, this is the measurement input method MODO will use for all numerical input values (this value is also exported in the COLLADA scenes Asset tag)-
SI- The International System of Measurement (abbreviated 'SI') is the modern form of Metric, complies to universal base units.
Metric- A universal system of measurement based on powers of '10' -millimeter, centimeter, meter, kilometer.
English- A historical measurement system based on Imperial Units -mils, inch, foot, yard and mile
Game Units- An arbitrary unit of measurement (defined by the 'Meters per Game Unit' setting).
Unitless- An arbitrary decimalized unit of measurement based on cubic meters, essentially 1 unit = 1m.

Default Unit: This option is dependent on the 'Unit System' and determines the default unit used when no unit is specified.

Meters Per Game Unit: When utilizing the arbitrary 'Game Units' systems, users can use this value to determine the scale of a single unit. This allows users to work with even whole numbers. So if a 1m equivalent is really 1.375 real world meters in MODO, users an simply enter 1.375 here and then specify units normally in the numerical input fields.

Up Axis: This option determines the major axis that is considered the default up direction for MODO. 3D programs typically use 'Y' as up, where CAD applications typically use 'Z' as the up direction. When importing geometry, if it is always 90° off, changing the up axis to match the originating application may resolve the issue. This can also be set on a per scene basis in the 'Scene Item'.

Save Hidden Items: Saves items that are hidden in the Items list (meaning that the eye icon is toggled off for visibility).

Save Cameras/Lights/Locators: This controls whether or not Cameras, Lights or Locators are saved with the scene.

Save Triangles as Triangles: Saves mesh items that are constructed of triangles using the COLLADA <triangles> element, instead of the more general-purpose <polylist> element.

Bake Matrices: The COLLADA format can represent MODO's stack (or layers) of multiple transform elements, such that more than one rotation, position, or scale can be applied to a single item in series. For compatibility with other applications, Bake Matrices will reduce such a transform stack down to a single transform by pre-multiplying the results before export.

Save Vertex Normals: Enables the saving of normals for each geometry vertex.

Save UV Texture Coordinates: Enables the saving of one or more UV texture coordinate maps for each mesh item.

Save Vertex Colors/Weights: Enables the saving of the 'Color' and 'Weight' vertex maps.

Save Animation: This option enables or disables the output of animation channels. When Save Animation is disabled, all item values are sampled at the first frame of any animated channels.

Sample Animation/Sample Start Frame and Sample End Frame: Creates a keyframe value at every frame within the range specified by the Start and End Frame settings. This option is useful when exporting to applications that do not know how to interpolate all of the animation channels in a given file.

Z-near and Z-far: The Z-buffers on 3D graphics cards have limited resolution, and so these settings describe the closest and furthest points that may be displayed for a given scene. Z-near and Z-far are not applicable for the types of rendering performed by MODO, but can be useful for interactive 3D applications where this information can be used to optimize the resolution of the hardware Z buffer.

Save MODO Profile: This option provides a human-readable form of virtually all of MODO's items and their internal channels and animation envelopes, and also allows the MODO COLLADA importer to re-import assets with the same MODO-specific items and their channels and envelopes. A full description of the MODO profile is beyond the scope of this document, so please refer to the Collada I/O documentation included with the File I/O SDK for additional details (available in MODO's help directory as part of the SDK).

Save Maya/3ds Max/Okino/XSI Profile: Determines whether or not application specific tags are exported or not.

Formatted Arrays: This option breaks up long lists of values into related groups on separate lines, which makes the output text easier to read.

COLLADA Import--

Import Units: This option, when enabled will read and apply the 'Unit's' information from a COLLADA file to the imported MODO scene.

Import Up Axis: This option, when enabled will read and apply the 'Up Axis' information from a COLLADA file to the imported MODO scene.




FBX Compatibility--

Use FBX 2013 Loader: When this option is enabled all FBX files opened will use the 2013 version of the FBX loader, when disabled modo will use the older FBX 2010 version of the loader.

FBX 2013 Export--

Export Version: Users can choose which FBX format versions they wish to export to when saving FBX format files from modo.

Export Type: This option controls what elements from the scene will be exported. All Items within the scene, only the selected elements, or selected elements and their hierarchies (children).

Save as Text Format: When this option is enabled, modo will generate human-readable TXT formatted FBX files. However, keep in mind TXT readable files can be many times the size of binary encoded FBX files, the format generated when this option is disabled.

Save Geometry: When this option is enabled, modo will export all polygonal geometry (mesh) items.

Save Cameras: When this option is enabled, modo will export all camera items.

Save Lights: When this option is enabled, modo will export all light items.

Save Materials: When this option is enabled, modo will export materials as best as possible (due to the nature of different rendering systems, complex material setups cant be transferred, but baking can be used to create image maps that can be transferred..

Save Polygon Parts: When this option is enabled, modo will export polygon 'Part' tags.

Save Selection Sets: When this option is enabled, modo will export defined selection sets.

Save Mesh Smoothing: When this option is enabled, an FBX specific command is used to compute geometric normals upon export. It is known to increase export times on large meshes, and therefore should remain disabled unless the users is certain it is necessary.

Save Smoothing Groups: When this option is enabled, any vertex smoothing maps assigned to geometry will be exported.

Save Morph Maps: When this option is enabled, modo will export Morph Maps as compatible Blend Shapes the FBX format.

Save Animation: When this option is enabled, modo will export keyframed animations.

Sample Animation: When this option is enabled modo will re-sample the animations resulting in a baked type of animation with continuous keyframes defined by the 'Animation Sample Rate' at either every frame (1x) or twice for every frame (2x).

Export Actions: This option toggles between not exporting 'Actions' per actor, or to convert the 'Actions' into FBX format 'Takes'



Image I/O

HPGL Plotter I/O--

Projection: Since HPGL is a flat, 2D format, the 'Projection' option defines the plane that is converted to for the final export. 'Automatic' will try to determine the best guess plane, with options to define a specific plane or the UVs for the object.

Scale: Users can define a default scaling amount when importing HPGL files, eliminating the need to manually scale drawing after they are inserted into a scene.



Image I/O

Image Format--

Default Image Format: Users can use this option to determine the default format when saving MODO generated bitmap images. Users can select alternate format types in the file save dialog, this option only determines the default when users enter the 'Save as' dialog.

Image Cache--

Limit Image Load Size: When this option is enabled, MODO will limit the size of large bitmap images when imported an rendered, based on the setting of the Maximum Image Load Size. As large images are loaded they will be resized so they take about the same memory as a square image with the given dimensions. This can be useful if you're editing a model that's been textured with very large maps and don't need to see them in detail. The preference should be used with caution, however, as it will affect rendering.

Maximum size that an image will be loaded: Determines the maximum pixel length for any image imported. Images larger than this setting will be resized to fit the specified value.

Image Tile Cache Size: Amount of space dedicated to holding resized images in memory. The more images loaded and resized, the more memory will be necessary to hold them all.


Quality: This option determines the image/compression quality of images saved from MODO into the JPEG format (jpg file extension). 100% is maximum quality possible with JPEG, lower values will reduce the file's overall size, but also degrades image quality.

Sub-Sampling: The JPEG file format compresses images by separating the color and luminance (brightness) information. Most people are more sensitive to contrast than they are color variations, so this information is separated into 'channels' where each can be compressed differently; this compression amount is expressed through the sampling or sub-sampling value. The default save option "4:1:1" represents each channel where the luminous channel has 4x as much information as two combined color channels. This can make image files quite small, but produces softness on areas of high color contrast. The "4:2:2" option provides double the amount of color fidelity and the "4:4:4" has the highest quality, saving the same number of data samples for each channel, but also produces the largest of the JPEG compressed file sizes.

JPEG 2000--

Compression Rate: This option determines the image/compression quality of images saved from MODO into the JPEG 2000 format (jp2 file extension). 100 is maximum compression possible, Low values will increase the file's overall size, increasing the value toward 100 will decrease the file size but also degrade image quality.


Compression Level: PNG format uses a lossless compression scheme similar to ZIP. Value span from 1 to 9, with 9 being the greatest amount of compression. Compression amount won't affect the visual quality of the images, but will affect compression and decompression performance, which can be useful when playing back image sequences.

OpenEXR Export--

Compression: When saving OpenEXR images users are provided with a number of different compression offerings, from uncompressed, to Lossless, to lossy compression types. It is best to test setting for the intended purpose to make sure the format chose is compatible with the intended target.

Tile Size: When the 'Generate Mip Map Levels' option is enabled, the 'Tile Size' option defines the size of the pre-generated tiles of the resulting Mip Mapped EXR image. 16 or 32 sized tiles are good values for textures that will ultimately be used in MODO.

Generate Mip Map Levels: If this option is enabled, mip-map levels will be generated when saving OpenEXR files from MODO. Mip-mapping is a optimized collection of pre-calculated image maps that are filtered and scaled and used to reduce image overhead when loading and rendering high resolution files. When disabled only the full resolution file will be saved.

OpenEXR Loader--

Limit Tile Memory: When the 'Limit Tile Memory' option is enabled, users can use the 'EXR Tile Memory Limit' setting to define a maximum amount of memory that MODO will use to load all EXR images into a scene. When disabled, MODO will fully load all EXR images into memory.

EXR Tile Memory Limit: When the 'Limit Tile Memory' option is enabled, users can define an upper memory limit used to cache OpenEXR mip map tiles. When the maximum amount is reached, the EXR image loader will discard the oldest tiles based on when they were last used. If a tile is required later on, it will be reloaded into memory and other older tiles will be discarded (if necessary).

Cache Tiles to Disk: When the 'Cache Tiles to Disk' command is enabled, purged Mip Map tiles will be stored the the drives temporary directory in a raw, uncompressed format until they are needed again. This reduces overhead associated with opening and decompressing full size EXR images. This information is destroyed and recreated each time MODO is closed and started, respectively.




LightWave I/O--

Load SubPatch as Subdiv: When this option is enabled, any geometry generated in LightWave using 'SubPatch' geometry smoothing technique will automatically convert to MODO's standard Subdiv when imported.

Save Subdiv as SubPatch: Conversely, any geometry modeling MODO as a Subdivision Surface can be converted to LightWave's Subpatch mode upon export to LightWave format.

Content Directory: LightWave supports a content directory structure to ease in moving scene files around. When loading scene dependent on Content Directories, it is helpful to specify the LightWave equivalent path prior to loading and saving the file to aid MODO in locating the appropriate assets (namely image maps) into and out of MODO.

Save Flat Transforms: Saving full MODO scenes to LWO object files means saving out all the meshes to mesh layers. Typically the item transformations applied in MODO are not applied to the mesh, so it will be positioned as if the item mode rotation, scale and positioning were all reset. Turning this option on freezes all the layers of item transformation, so the entire hierarchy will be exported as if modeled in that pose.  Sometimes this behavior is undesirable if users will be rigging the layers later on.

Texture Conversion: This option attempts to reproduce the LW texturing in the Shader Tree. Use this if exporting textures unchanged back to LWO is not important.



Video Format--

Default Video Format: Users can use this option to determine the default format when saving MODO generated video files. Users can select alternate format types in the file save dialog, this option only determines the default when users enter the 'Save as' dialog.



STL Object Export--

Interpret units as: The STL file format has no inherent scale information, so systems generally default to several standard values. Depending on the target, users can use the "Interpret units as" option to define a scale unit when exporting STL format files.

Save as ASCII: When the 'Save as ASCII' option is enabled, saving a file will generate the less common ASCII (human readable text) format. When disabled, resulting STL files will be saved in the more common binary format.




Wavefront Object Export--

Save Meshes as Groups: Determines whether the export utilizes the 'G' group tag when enabled or 'O' object tag when disabled to define geometry sections within the file.

Save Material File: When this option is enabled an additional MTL file will be generated when exporting OBJ files that contains the basic surface definitions and links to textures. When disabled the MTL file will be skipped.

Save Deformed Geometry at Current Scene Time: With this option enabled, MODO will freeze the current deformation state of the exported element at the current timeline position, producing a deformed mesh.

Export Units: Users can determine a scaling amount for exported elements automatically by choosing from the various 'Export Units'.

Wavefront Object Import--

Import as Static Mesh: When this option is enabled, OBJ geometry will be imported as un-editable Static Mesh items. Useful when importing huge geometry files that can slow down scene interactivity.

Import Groups as Separate Meshes: When this option is enabled, defined Groups within the OBJ file will generate multiple Mesh item layers for each.

Suppress Import Options Dialog: This option, when enabled, will suppress the popup window that opens when importing an OBJ file.

Import Units: Users can determine a scaling amount for imported elements automatically by choosing from the various 'Export Units'.



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