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Saving Images

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MODO saves images in various ways, depending on how the image is generated and/or applied. Understanding the individual instances will ensure that no image goes unsaved, or is inadvertently saved either.

Saving Rendered Images

When rendering by way of the 'Render' command (menu bar option "Render > Render" or by pressing 'F9') MODO obviously renders the image, but once finished, the image is in a limbo state within the Render Display window. It is cached to disk temporarily for you to preview; this is useful for the iterative process of adjusting scenes. However, the image itself is not truly saved (i.e. accessible to other applications) until the user specifically tells MODO to do so using any of the commands necessary for saving; the 'Save Image' and 'Save Layered Image' functions. Each time any 'Render' command is invoked, MODO will calculate all render outputs and render passes. Once rendered they appear in the 'Pass' and 'Output' lists of the Render Display (highlighted below).

Render Display Window

When using the 'Save Image' option, the currently selected (i.e. visible) render output and/or pass will be saved. Pressing the 'Save Image' button found in the upper left of the render browser area of the Render Display opens an operating system appropriate dialog window, allowing users to specify a location and filename for the image, and most importantly a format. MODO supports a wide variety of bitmap image formats, each with their own benefits and limitations. By itself, MODO support the following formats--

Format Name Extension Bit Depth
per channel
Compressed Type
Flexible Precision Image Format .FLX 32 bit Yes Lossless
Targa .TGA 8 bit + Alpha No  
Windows BMP .BMP 8 bit + Alpha No  
Radiance High Dynamic Range .HDR HDR Yes Lossless
JPEG 2000 .JP2 8 bit Yes Lossy
JPEG 2000 16-bit .JP2 16 bit Yes Lossy
JPEG 2000 16-bit Lossless .JP2 16 bit Yes Lossless
JPEG .JPG 8 bit Yes Lossy
Portable Network Graphic .PNG 8 bit + Alpha Yes Lossless
Portable Network Graphic 16 bit .PNG 16 bit + Alpha Yes Lossless
PSD (Photoshop Document) .PSD 8 bit No  
SGI RGB .SGI 8 bit No  
Tagged Image File Format .TIF 8 bit + Alpha Yes Lossless
16-Bit TIF .TIF 16 bit + Alpha Yes Lossless
16-Bit Uncompressed TIF .TIF 16 bit + Alpha No  
Open EXR .EXR HDR Yes Lossless


Render Display

When using the 'Save Layered Image' option (found by a LMB+click and hold on the 'Save Image' button to open the pop-up menu), MODO will save all available Render Outputs simultaneously, when pressed an operating system appropriate dialog window opens allowing users to specify a location and filename for the image(s), and a format as well. The following options are available--

Format Name Extension Bit Depth
per channel
Compressed Type
Layered PSD .PSD 8 bit No  
Multi-File PNG* .PNG 8 bit Yes Lossless
Multi-File PNG 16 bit* .PNG 16 bit Yes Lossless
Layered Open EXR .EXR HDR Yes Lossless
*Multi-File PNG saves all outputs with appropriate output name appended to each


Saving Render Passes

MODO's flexible Render Pass system provides users the ability to control virtually any aspects of a scene, and then render the results consecutively, producing multiple frames that can then be composed in an external image editing application if so desired. The Render Display offers two additional commands allowing users an automatic way to save multiples of Render Passes simultaneously. The 'Save Passes as Images' and 'Save Passes as Layered Images' commands. Both work identically to their single image counterparts, but will save all passes automatically using the naming conventions determined by the 'Output Pattern' options found in the 'Frame' subtab of the Render Item. Selecting either option will open a OS specific dialogue allowing users to specify a location, file name and format. The output pattern naming options will be automatically appended to the specified name when the user presses 'Save'.


Saving Animation Sequences

Saving an entire animation of still images individually would be pretty tedious, thankfully, there are several options for saving sequences automatically. Utilizing the 'Render Animation' command from the menu bar (''Render > Render Animation') presents three options for saving-- 'Image Sequence', 'Movie' and 'Layered Images'. Choosing 'Image Sequence' is highly recommended; this allows users to render entire animations of individual frames that can be assembled in a video editing application that accepts them. It also provides an easy means of updating frames without having to re-render the entire sequence, should the need arise (additionally, it offers the ability to recover from system crashes, allowing user to pick up where the system left off, without the fear of a corrupted video file). When invoked, an operating system appropriate dialog window will open allowing the users to, again, specify the File Name, Location and File Format. The 'Image Sequence' and 'Layered Images' options offer identical file format options as their respective commands from the Render Display window (listed above). The 'Movie' option provides choices specific to the users platform and operating system.

Render Outputs--

Individually, file location, name and format can also be specified within each Render Output. This is useful as it is saved within the file and is therefore portable and persistent across MODO sessions. MODO only utilizes the 'Output Filename' option when the 'Render Animation' command is invoked. Once specified, and the command initiated, a pop-up requestor will prompt the user if they wish to use the filename as specified in the render output. Select 'Yes' to use it, and 'No' to specify an alternate name.

Tip icon

IMPORTANT: Users should note that pressing 'F9' or utilizing any of the other various render commands will not automatically save images as specified in a 'Render Output'. Only the 'Render Animation' command utilizes this option.


Saving User Created Images

MODO offers users the ability to create bitmapped images directly in MODO eliminating the need for an external image editing application. Within nearly every image loader and image browser viewport, users are offered options to create a 'New Image' or 'Image Sequence' (Alternatively, these commands are also available in the menu bar under the 'File' option). When utilizing either command, a operating system specific dialog will open prompting users to choose a filename, location and format. Once specified, another dialog opens allowing users to choose various options related to the image.

New Still Dialogue

Once the user clicks 'OK' or presses 'Return', the image is saved to disc. It's important for users to understand that this file is not imbedded into the MODO file itself, but acts like any other imported image remaining linked to the saved external file as specified. This newly created image is effectively a blank canvas for users to use for painting, sculpting and baking (or any combination thereof). The image appears within the images viewport and is immediately available as a texture layer for placement anywhere within the shader tree. However (!!!) any modification made to the image once created will not be saved unless the user specifically requests MODO to do so. Files can be saved several ways. First, by way of RMB-clicking the image in the image viewer palette, and choosing either the 'Save' or 'Save As' command. Secondly, by way of the menu bar commands 'File > Save Image' or 'File > Save Image As'. In the case of scenes with multiple images, the highlighted or selected image in the image viewer palette is the image saved when utilizing either command. Lastly, if any modifications have occurred to images present in MODO when exiting the application, users will be prompted if they wish to 'Save' the changes, overwriting the files previous saved state.


Saving 3D Images

PNG Anaglyph Optimized mode
  Side By Side
PNG Side By Side mode

MODO has the ability to save scenes rendered in stereo into any of the supported bitmap formats. In order to do so, the 'Stereo' option must first be enabled for the 'Camera' item in the properties viewport under the 'Camera Effects' subtab. Adjustments can also be made to the 'Interoccular Distance' and the 'Convergence Distance' if necessary. The 'Stereo Composite' option then determines how the two rendered images are combined to produce the final stereo image, covered fully in the 'Stereoscopic' section of the Camera Items documentation. Once enabled, each time a render command is invoked, the two images will be rendered consecutively representing the left and right eye views. These two images are combined as defined and displayed as a single slot in the Render Display window. Using the controls above the display window, users can choose to view the 'Left', 'Right' or combined 'Stereo' image. As with the other options, whatever is currently visible to the user will be the image that is saved.

Tip icon

TIP: Users often ask which is the best format to save in. Unfortunately, there is no one correct answer as it is highly dependant on the intended use; particular workflows impose specific requirements. Visual effects work is enhanced by the additional information afforded by HDRI formats such as HDR and openEXR, but these formats also require the greatest amount of storage space. Advertising and visualization are often further edited in imaging applications such as Photoshop. The layered PSD format could be a good choice, but the 16 bit flavors of TIF and PNG can afford additional editing leeway with their extended bit depth. Any of the compressed formats will help reduce the amount of disc space necessary, especially when storing long image sequences, but lossy formats may also introduce compression artifacts that can reduce quality of the final deliverable. For best results, users should thoroughly test their chosen format to ensure they receive the intended outcome.



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