What's New in the Modo 11.1 Series

Modo 11.1 has several new features and feature enhancements in addition to bug fixes. This page documents the new features and links to the appropriate page of the online help so you can get the information you need to start working with the new features right away. To read about bug fixes and feature enhancements, navigate to a specific release.

Alembic I/O Improvements

Alembic Streaming Improvements

Modo can now stream in geometry using Alembic Streaming Deformers and Alembic Streaming Meshes.

The Alembic Load Options dialog now has a Polymesh streaming options menu, which allows you to import geometry items and deformers into the current scene, enabling you to layout and render very large animated Alembic files exported from Modo and other Digital Content Creation software packages. In addition, particles, simulated meshes, curves, multiple UV sets, components of a mesh, and materials are also imported into Modo.

For more information, see Importing and Exporting File Formats.

Alembic Export Improvements

There have been multiple improvements made to the Alembic exporting functionality, which complements the Alembic streaming improvements, to enable better workflows. Performance when exporting scenes with many key frames, deep item hierarchies, and replicators has been significantly improved.

The Alembic I/O option Include Unique Suffix In Item Names has been added to improve how item names are handled by skipping unique suffixes enabling you to preserve your naming conventions through the cycles of importing, modifying, and exporting Alembic files. The Force Letters and Digits Only Item Names option has been added to assist you in filtering exported item names to digits and characters, allowing better compatibility with Katana and Nuke.

For more information, see Importing and Exporting Alembic Files and Alembic I/O.

Advanced 3D Viewport Enhancements

Advanced 3D Viewport

Performance improvements have been made to the Advanced viewport to speed up the frame rate.

The Display OpenGL Preferences now includes an AVP Allow Material Texture storage option. When enabled, it controls how the 3D Viewport stores its data internally in the textures or uniform buffers.

In addition, the following 3D Viewport properties have been added to improve performance: 

Shadows CSM - Sets the number of shadow buffer projections the Cascade Shadow Map system is allowed to use for the light source, allowing you to view casting curved shadows on curved surfaces.

Shadows Size - Sets the texture resolution used when depth projecting the shadows. The following options are available: Low, Mid, and High. By default, this option is set to High.

Shadows Filter - Sets whether the shadows are filtered. By default, this option is On.

Material - Overrides the Shader Tree materials being used in the scene. This setting provides faster rendering performance results in the Advanced Viewport when rendering a number of different types of materials. These options are also useful when working with a Unity Material or Unreal Material.

For more information, see 3D (OpenGL) Viewport and OpenGL.


Auto-Save Cancel Option

Auto-Save is now preceded by a 10 second countdown with an option to cancel. The Cancel button and countdown appear in a small box on your current 3D Viewport. Pressing Cancel skips the current Auto-Save and launches at the next regularly scheduled Auto-Save interval.

For more information, see Auto-Save.

Auto-Save Incremental

You can now set a number of incremental Auto-Saves in the Preferences > Auto-Save options. Consecutive auto-saves are now numbered and do not overwrite previous auto-save files. These file versions are prefixed with the version number and new auto-saves shuffle all the older numbered files down. For example, the most recent auto-save of MyFile.lxo is renamed 1_MyFile.lxo, the second most recent, 2_MyFile.lxo, and so on.

In addition, Auto-Save saves the current Preview rendered state, allowing you to pick up a progressive render from its last saved point when you open an auto-saved scene, rather than having to start the render again.

For more information, see Auto-Save.

Direct Modeling

Topology Pen Improvements

The Topology Pen tool has a number of new options to improve the re-topology workflow. We have added a new Mode called Smoothing, several new Falloff options, new Smoothing options, and the following Miscellaneous options: Copy Discontinuous UVs and Keep Vertices.

For more information, see Topology Pen.

Smooth Tool Improvements

The Smooth tool has new options to improve smoothing positions along boundary edges and corner vertices. Lock Boundary, Lock Corner, Lock Sharp Edges, and Sharp Angle options have been added. It is now available as a Procedural Mesh Operation.

For more information, see Smooth.

Sculpt Smoothing Improvements

The Smooth mode of mesh sculpting is improved to maintain border edges and corner vertices of border polygons. The Lock Corner option locks the vertex positions at corner vertex where the valence is two or more.

For more information, see Smooth and Locking Borders and Corners

Loop Slice Improvements

The Loop Slice tool now has a new option Select New Polygons. When enabled, this provides better visibility to see the selected polygons. A guide color is displayed for the slicing edges of the selected polygons.

For more information, see Loop Slice.

Falloff Weight Tool

A new Falloff Weight Tool has been added, which creates a weight map and has similar functionality as the Soft Selection Falloff tool. Using the weight map generated by the Falloff Weight Tool is very useful for modeling, texturing, dynamics, rigging, and more.

For more information, see Falloff Weight.


Watch the following video for an overview.

Falloff Weight Tool

Convert Falloff Cache

We have added a new Convert Falloff Cache tool, which allows you to convert internal falloff weights generated in Element Falloff and Soft Selection Falloff into a regular weight map. The internal cache stores falloff weight values for the last operation with Element Falloff or Soft Selection Falloff. This tool is enabled only when one of these tools is used on the active meshes.

For more information, see Convert Falloff Cache.


Watch the following video for an overview.

Convert Falloff Cache

File I/O

Setting, Loading, and Saving Scene Thumbnails

The Scene Item properties have two new options, Set Thumbnail and Load Thumbnail, enabling you to take a snapshot of your current scene from the 3D Viewport, Preview Viewport, and the Render Display and embed a thumbnail image into the LXO file.

For more information, see Scene Item.

Create Scene Templates and Load from the Preset Browser

You can now create a template scene by renaming any *.lxo scene file using the extension *.lxt and load these scenes from the Preset Browser.

For more information, see Preset Browser.

General Workflow Improvements

User Channels

The Modo now allows you drag and drop channels onto mesh items in your scene to turn them into User channels. For more information, see Add User Channels.

GL Viewport Workflow Improvements

Disable GL Textures and GL Color Overrides

The Shader Item now includes aGL Display option to toggle on and off the display of textures in the Camera View to improve readability and performance when working on complex scenes. In addition, the Material item now has a new GL Override option. When enabled, Modo uses the defined GL Color values to change the color of specified polygons displayed in the Camera View without affecting the rendering in the Preview Viewport. This is useful when working on complex models containing a number of parts, which you want to apply different colors to.

For more information, see Shader and Material.

3D Viewport Matcaps, UV Textures, and Environments

The 3D Viewport now has a Viewport Textures menu, allowing you to quickly select Environments, Matcaps, and UV Textures to display in the 3D Viewport. The UV Textures are used for UV Diagnostics. These changes do not affect the scene; they only change the viewport itself. This allows you to quickly view your scene with a Viewport Texture without having to add them to the Shader Tree.

For more information, see Viewport Textures.

Procedural Modeling

New Mesh Op - UV Create Operator

The UV Create tool works by projecting the polygons from a 3D space into the 2D (UV) space. The basic operation is the same as the standard UV Create Toolbox tool. In this release, you have the ability to create UVs using the procedural modeling process.

For more information, see Create UV Tool.

Square Option for Radial Sweep

The Radial Sweep tool now has a new Helix Generator Square option allowing you to align segments along a square. The Radial Sweep tool is also available as a procedural mesh operation.

For more information, see Radial Sweep.


Watch the following video for an overview.

Radial Sweep - Square

Smooth Mesh Operator Improvements

A new procedural Smooth operator has been added to improve smoothing positions along boundary edges and corner vertices.

For more information, see Smooth Tool Procedural Mesh Operation.


Maximum Progressive Render Time

A new Max Render Time option has been added to the Progressive Rendering options to limit the rendering time when saving a frame to a disk. This option is used by the Preview Viewport with the default option settings enabled and with the Render Animation option enabled.

For more information, see Render Item: Settings.

Scripting the Preview Viewport

The Preview Viewport can now be scripted (run) from a command line using Modo CL. There are now a number of new commands available to render a preview to an image, image sequence, and movie.

For more information, see Modo SDK.

Preview Convergence based on Primary Render Output

A new Convergence option has been added to the Preview Viewport. When enabled, Preview checks that the image has converged to the minimum requirement (meaning the quality is good enough) before rendering the next frame. Setting this value produces faster results.

For more information, see Preview Viewport.

Preview Full Resolution Zoom

Zoom functionality in the Preview Viewport has been improved. You can now zoom in for a closer look without affecting the camera's position with a middle scroll wheel mouse. The view now snaps to 25%, 50%, 200%, 400% while scrolling your mouse button.

For more information, see Preview Viewport.

Unreal Bridge Plug-in

Server and Client Plug-in

Modo now has the ability to communicate with the Unreal Engine in real-time. To improve the workflow for Game Engine users, you can use a network protocol to share data between Modo and Unreal using the new Modo Bridge plug-in. The connection between Modo and Unreal can be on the same machine, across multiple machines on the LAN, or even possibly remotely. An entire scene or selected elements from a scene can be pushed bi-directionally and updated between the Client and Server. Mesh geometry, normals, UVs, textures, materials, as well as scene hierarchy, lights, and cameras can be synchronized between both applications.

For more information, see Modo Bridge for Unreal Engine.

UV Tools

UV Coverage Indicator

A new UV Coverage value is displayed at the bottom right corner of the UV Editor, which shows the amount of uniform UV space of the total region that is covered by geometry. This option is useful to game workflows, when trying to maximize the amount of texture space being used for the target surface. When you use a UV editing tools, the coverage is updated at the end of the editing process.

For more information, see Create UV Tool.

UV Box Transform

A new UV Box Transform tool has been added, which allows you to quickly move around groups of polygons in UV space. This tool, while active, draws a rectangular bounding box around the component selection in UV space, to which you can apply transform actions.

For more information, see UV Box Transform Tool.


Watch the following video for an overview.

UV Box Transform

Distortion Compensation

A new Distortion Compensation option has been added to reduce the distortion automatically to produce cleaner UV maps. This is useful when working with primitives that do not have equal radius values. The aspect ratio and related area size of UV polygons conforms to the 3D polygons. This option as been added to the following primitives: Cube, Cylinder, Capsule, Sphere, Torus, and Ellipsoid.

For more information, see Working with UV Maps.


Watch the following video for an overview.

Distortion Compensation

Split Command

A new Split tool has been added allowing you to split UVs along the selected geometry (along selected edges, around polygon selection boundaries, or on vertices). It doesn't offset the UVs, but once split, you can move the polygons independently.

For more information, see Split, Move, and Sew UVs.

Split and Sew

The Split and Sew tool is now more interactive. The tool now acts as a brush, with a radius. "Painting" over vertices in UV space can split them apart, with the brush radius controlling how far they are offset from their starting position. Holding a modifier key sews the edges together instead of splitting them.

For more information, see Split, Move, and Sew UVs.


Watch the following video for an overview.

Split and Sew

UV Tear Off Qualifier Key

Qualifier keys have been added to enable the Tear Off option to separate and move your selection of polygons to a new position on your UV map. Holding down the Ctrl/Cmd + Shift keys, while dragging, temporarily enables Tear Off mode.

For more information, see Working with UV Maps.

UVs to SVG Real World Scale and Units

The Export UVs to SVG feature has been enhanced to give you better control over the real-world size of your SVG output. This can be helpful both for creating templates to create UV-based textures in external applications, and for applications like packaging or shoe creation, where a pattern with accurate real-world dimensions must be created from a mesh's UVs.

For more information, see Export UVs to SVG.

UV Relax Improvements

The Boundary option has been added to the UV Relax tool, which includes a number of options used to relax boundary UV vertex positions, replacing the Lock Boundary and Straighten options used in our previous release.

For more information, see UV Relax.

UV Overlapping Selection

A new Select Overlapping Polygons tool has been added to assist you in detecting errors with UV mapped polygons. This tool provides three options to assist you in locating these errors - Cross Intersection, Self Intersection, and Flipped.

For more information, see Select Error UVs.


Watch the following video for an overview.

Overlapping Selection

Texel Density

A new Texel Density tool has been added to improve the Games workflow. This tool enables you to quickly scale the size of UV islands or individual polygons such that they span roughly the same number of texture pixels per meter of real size. This is useful when you are dealing with texture density mismatches, in some cases you may either have differently sized UVs or textures, resulting in visibly over-detailed or under-detailed areas relative to the rest of the asset or scene. Making the texel density more uniform can help maintain a standardized level of texture detail across an asset or environment.

For more information, see Texel Density.

New Default UV viewport Settings

The default viewport display settings to view UDIM Tiles on an UV map have been updated. The UV viewport now shows a 0 to 1 space by default, instead of -1 to 1. The UDIM tile number display is enabled by default, but it is only shown if more than the 0 to 1 space is shown.

For more information, see UDIM Workflow.

Vertex Normal & Baking Improvements

Use Polygon Area Smoothing Option

A new Use Polygon Area option has been added to the Material item, which enables you to smooth vertex normals to correct shading problems. Modo calculates the weight contribution of vertex normals and averages that value by the polygon area. Use this option to improve smoothing and shading for a mesh that has large polygon faces connected to small polygon faces. For example, when there is a fine beveled face beside a big face.

For more information, see Material.

Vertex Illumination Baking Type and Output Options

The Vertex Illumination Baking tool has been renamed Vertex Shader Baking. In this release, new Bake Type and Output Channel options have been added to this tool. Use these options to control what Modo bakes and where it stores the result of the bake.

For more information, see Vertex Shader Baking.

Object Space Normal Maps

To improve the Games workflow, we have added Object Normal maps to encode the texture direction in absolute terms in object space. This is typically used in games workflows for static, non-deforming objects (environment, props, and so on) to quickly render in the game engines.

For more information, see Effect - Texture Item.

Baking Aids

Items now have a contextual menu for baking certain mesh features. A number of baking tools are available in the Mesh Operations list from the Bake contextual menu. From this menu, you can bake occlusion, illumination, normals, displacements, texture effects, vertex shadings, vertex curvatures, and bake to an Alembic file. The bake commands start a process of generating UVs, packing them, doing a bake (through a bake item) and then save the resulting bake to an image that can be added to the Shader Tree automatically.

For more information, see Creating Bake Items using the Toolbox Baking Tools.