A MODO artist learns Blender [Newest video: #7 Parenting]

Hey there. As someone who’s been working with CGI and VFX for years in C4D, Maya and MODO I decided to learn Blender.
In doing so I thought it might be interesting to document some of the differences I found notable, and point out where I specifically prefer one package’s approach over the other’s.
Each package has their own specific strengths and weaknesses and I’m intent on finding out how Blender can best fit in and complement my existing bag of tools. :slight_smile: MODO is very strong in the areas of modelling, UV editing, shading and rendering but has significant weaknesses in the realms of character rigging & animation as well as fur and hair - areas where I’ve seen quite impressive results in Blender. Those results were what motivated me to give Blender a real shot and I’m excited to see where it will lead me.

Now of course all contents of this video are of course entirely subjective and a matter of personal preference and taste. Workflows I might prefer in one application may seem uncomfortable to others and vice versa. :wink:

Moreover, I’m a complete Blender newbie, so if I’ve made any significant mistakes or overlooked anything important, I’d appreciate you letting me know. As I say in the video, I’m entirely new to Blender and it’s very possible that I make statements about some of its workflows and tools with limited knowledge of alternative options.

From a modeling perspective, also watch this one:<a href=“https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6uFpBe1oTU” target="_blank">

Thanks for doing this. MODO is one other software besides Blender that I’m very interested in. This sure helps.

Heh, I found that to be a really interesting video. I’m inexperienced with anything but Blender, so fun to see direct comparisons. Looking forward to any more future videos you make.

The 3d Manipulator doesn’t have click targets, but if you hold shift and click the axis it’ll do a planar constraint; eg hold shift and select the Z axis, it will move on both the X and Y. Works without the 3d manipulator too: grab, shift+z will constrain on the X and Y.

Great video. It’s nice to see someone who doesn’t just dismiss Blender’s methods simply because they’re different. I’ve heard many people say Blender is “unlearnable” just because it’s so different.

You make a great point about the discoverability of Modo’s features vs Blenders more hidden keyboard shortcuts. But you really hit the nail on the head when you say that the keyboard shortcuts, once you learn them, lead to a very fast workflow. I personally love them. I also think many of them are somewhat intuitive and aren’t that hard to remember. G, R, and S to grab, rotate and scale? Simple. All three use the same X, Y, and Z (plus shift modifier) in the same way? Perfect! If you hit R a second time for rotation, you get a trackball rotation of the object, which can be useful in some situations.

One thing you missed is the ability to simply type in dimensions or distances. For instance, if you want to move an object 2 units along the x axis, all you have to do is hit G, X, 2, Enter and you’re done. You can also hold Ctrl when performing most operations, and it will snap to the grid or some other intuitive increment. Holding shift will make movements more precise, and Ctrl+Shift will make the snap increments smaller (10x smaller for scale and grab, 5x smaller for rotation). If you’re more of a form/artistic modeler, these probably don’t matter. Because I’m an engineer in real life, I can’t not make precise movements, so I use these things all the time, even if I don’t really have to.

I think you’ll find this “fast workflow once you know the trick” thing to become a theme as you learn. Blender’s modeling tools are quite good, actually, and because you work with a stylus, you might find the sculpting tools enjoyable to use.

In any case, it’s really cool to see someone really giving Blender an honest try after using other commercial tools. It’s even cooler to see that you actually find Blender’s methods preferable in many ways! The fact that you’re documenting this is great as well. Looking forward to the follow up videos.

Happy Blending!


You know, I have worked with Blender since version 2.4, and I was not aware of the shift-manipulator axis trick to constrain on two axes. I always use shift-z/x/y.

Also for vid@10:15 there is a scaling transform manipulator:

Interesting video. Well done. Thanks
One nice small feature you can use is the SHIFT key modifier when you are moving or grabing stuff to be more precise. Also when sliding in the Value slider. You can also just CTRLC CTRL-V or CMD-C CMD-V on any field/value to copy-paste, no need to click and select text.

For rotation demonstration, it is a pity to miss this one.

You are not forced to press X. It is first coordinate set up when you type a numeric value.
Then, you can press Tab to setup next coordinate.
So you can also directly press G, Tab, 2 to set up Y value or G, Tab, Tab, 2 to set up Z value.

Does MODO have Blender shortcuts ?

Well I learned at least two new things watching that video.

Points I would add.
You can also constrain something to an axis by moving the object roughly in that direction and hitting the middle mouse button. shift to constrain to two axis.

Somebody else mentioned that you can after pressing g,r or s then x,y or z to constrain to an axis you can enter a numerical value. It is also useful to know that you can do calculations eg g, x, x, 3,*,1,.,5,+,1, will move the object 5.5 units on the local x axis.

Hey very interesting video. I first saw it come up over on the Luxology forum.
I also came to Blender quite late after many years in VFX and games using the main commercial apps. I’ve been loving it so far. Once I took the time and patience to delve deep it was a real revelation. Incredibly natural and fast to work in once I got the hang of things. The animation and rigging tools are indeed superb. I think it might possibly be my prefered app to animate in right now. It’s my favourite poly modeler now without doubt.

First of all, thanks to all of you for the amazingly helpful feedback! :slight_smile: MODO’s great and forthcoming community is seriously one of its major features for me and it’s reassuring to see that the Blender community also is super nice about helping a newbie out. :yes:

Before I address any feedback I received on the first video, here’s a quick follow-up where I talk about some component selection-related confusion I came across right after recording the first video. :wink:
I’m trying hard to keep each of these videos to a digestible length. This is definitely not the frequency I intend to keep up for these videos - just consider this one the second half of the first video. :stuck_out_tongue:

The Circular select don’t allow us to rotate the model, it’s stupid !

For the preselection you have an addon by matpi, edit preselect and clicking on the edge is fast.


Something wrong with blender there not retaining the selection, normally it does retain the selection when you switch.

As per your other problem in the properties panel (N) you need to disable Overlays under Mesh Display Faces / Edges so when you switch to edge mode only edges are displayed but you’ll lose face highlight when you’re in face mode only the face dot will be highlighted. You can increase the dot size if it’s too hard to see

Hello, Chris. I left the comment on Vimeo, but I’ll post it here also.
Blender also has some kind of pattern selection (like in MODO), check menu “Select -> Select More/Less -> Next Active”. And also you can select all the polygons (vertices/edges) between two selected ones, this feature is called “Shortest path”. I don’t remember right now the default shortcut for it (cause I also use a graphical tablet instead of a mouse, but I prefer LMB-selection, so I rearranged the shortcuts a bit), mine is Ctrl+Shift+LMB, very convinient.
What I miss from MODO is Action centers, very powerfull feature, very convinient and fast to use. There is similar (kind of) feature in Blender, Transform Orientation, but I find it a little akward to use.

Selection is one of Blender’s weakest spots I think. It has a lot of feature parity with other applications, but the lack of a coherent design between them holds it back substantially. It is mostly just the result of snowballing new tools into a design paradigm that didn’t scale, and nobody has cared enough to refactor it. As a result, it’s a clunky mess compared to just about anything else as far as selection goes.

Anyway, the Blender-Way[SUP]tm[/SUP] for some of the other things you brought up:

  • Hold Ctrl when selecting between two polygons and it’ll select the shortest path between them. It doesn’t need to be in a loop, but without preselection highlighting it tends to get unpredictable if you try to do anything more complicated. It stupidly toggles selection too, which can get frustrating. Works in all selection modes though.

  • To do a pattern selection, select two polys, and hit Ctrl+Shift+Numpad +/-

  • I think to understand the behavior when selecting is to realize that you can run operators in any mode. If you want to bevel an edge you can just select two connected vertices in vertex mode and bevel it; Blender will see it as an edge without you explicitly being in edge mode.

  • With the above in mind, you can even hold shift while clicking the selection mode icons, and have multiple modes active at once; eg shift click vertex and face select, and you can select both vertices and faces without changing modes.

Funnily enough, compared to LW9.6 and below, (gave up on Lightwave after that), I think the selection in Blender is really good.
I was majorly confused when I first started, but once I understood how to navigate in 3D space and learned just a few important shortcut keys, Blender started to come together much quicker for me. I think the biggest aspect of getting to grips with it is accepting you have to “unlearn” how you used to work. Trying to force yourself to adopt the same workflow can drive you mad and does neither you, or the software, any favours. Having used Blender for a while, I finally appreciate what that “stupid” 3D cursor is for, (used to baffle me), though there are a couple of things LW modeller had I wish Blender had, I have to say, overall, I find modelling in Blender far more intuitive. That was a real surprise for me, I expected to “settle” for how it worked. :slight_smile:

I have to say when I first started I remember it was the 3D cursor that said strange and alien to me, popping about the screen every time I wanted to select something. But I love using it now.
I just decided I had to knuckle down and learn the default settings if I wanted to understand and properly use Blender. I found that I very quickly came to appreciate and really like the default mostly and have no problem jumping back and forth into other apps. It works well for Blender and the way it’s set up I think. It also feels very comfortable on the arms and wrists for me.

Several years ago I needed to quickly adapt to using Softimage for a large in house project and so I took a short cut by adopting the Maya control option. It probably made sense in that situation looking back. Especially considering the incredibly short adoption time available. But anyway it just made it so much damn harder to follow any tutorials or even worse get quick help from more experienced users in those first weeks. Also I would keep imagining I was still using Maya which I think created even more unnecessary confusion and frustration. I knew I didn’t want to do it that way ever again if I could help it. At least not for a tool I might be planning to use seriously for the long term.

@Chris_Offner builds, or try if loading factory settings helps (File->Load Factory Settings).
If this still doesn’t fix the issue, better report a bug.