Modo 501 is looking fantastic. I downloaded it today, and I can’t wait to put it through it’s paces. I’m especially excited about the revamped painting and sculpting, since it means I can stay in one app as opposed to jumping back and forth between Maya and Mudbox or ZBrush. But more that that, I feel like Modo is exactly where Blender will be once the 2.5 series is put to bed and gives birth to a stable 2.6. Everything is scriptable and it’s extremely simple to make new commands, or commands that properly refire when using interface sliders. I think my favorite part is, I’ve yet to find a feature I don’t like that I couldn’t disable or otherwise change its behavior. Even the default space bar behavior (which switches between component editing modes) is changeable; mine is set to pick item mode now. Not to mention, one of the new guys at work, Rowan, is a Modo master. He’s been invaluable in finding out where things are.

It’s a pretty steep learning curve both modeling and scripting-wise, particularly for someone who’s only really done 3D scripting through the Maya and Blender APIs. Also, while every tool I use when modeling seems to exist in Modo, the names and methods for use are so different that it’s taken me all week to find the first quarter of my usual bag of tricks. But I’ve also picked up a few new ones, like Background Constraint with Vector direction. Holy crap, did I not know I wanted that feature so badly.

Blender’s always going to be there for me, but at least until the 2.5 series stabilizes (and the input manager stops getting stuck when I sculpt, making sculpting impossible), I have a new swiss-army knife for work. Oh, and Luxology: thank you for making my ordering process amazing. I’m not going to say why I’m so happy with you on this blog, but if more companies behaved like you I’d be a happier person all around.

It’s funny, though– I’m not finding with Modo that I fight the learning curve as much as I do when I move to, say, Houdini. Modo draws from all the best parts of Blender, Maya, and Lightwave, so it just works for my head. Here’s to being more efficient with modeling tasks in 2011!

By the way, the new Gorillaz album (the one recorded on an iPad) is up for streaming. I like it a lot more than Plastic Beach. In fact, it feels a lot like D-Sides, which is one of my favorite collections of their music. If you’re a fan, definitely check it out. And if anyone knows what iPad software Albarn used to master these songs, please let me know.