modo image by Adam O’Hern
Backpack Modeling
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Backpack Modeling

Video Tutorial for modo 401 by Adam O’Hern

As many an industrial designer knows, modo is an excellent tool to illustrate designs for internal design reviews, client approval or marketing. We asked Adam O’Hern to create this video tutorial that walks through many of the real-world tools and techniques that he uses when illustrating his concept designs as a working industrial designer. The design he created is a backpack, which not only offers the opportunity to introduce “soft goods” modeling techniques, it also has some hard bits and interesting details like cords and stitching. The methods used by Adam have applicability to a wide range of textile-oriented designs including handbags, gloves, flexible athletic gear and soft recreational equipment.

This tutorial was developed for modo 401. Users of later versions of modo will find the tutorial useful, but will have to adapt some instructions to new techniques found in more recent versions of modo.

modo image by Adam O’Hern

The set includes over two hours of instructional video footage, and also includes incremental step-by-step modo files for each video that let you jump in at any stage. Some Photoshop brushes are also provided as a bonus. This series emphasizes real-world techniques for soft-goods design in modo, including rapid form development, Subdivision surface model detailing, image-based sculpting, texturing, and rendering. The videos are narrated in English and are designed for people with at least an intermediate knowledge of modo.

modo video by Adam O’Hern

Overview of the Backpack Video Tutorial.


Purchase the Backpack Modeling Video Tutorial

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Backpack Modeling Video Tutorial


3 video segments
Total running time: 2 hours 1 minute

Experience Level:

Intermediate modo user

Software Compatibility:

modo 401 (sp4 or later) and Photoshop. This Video Tutorial was developed using modo 401. The concepts can also be used in later modo versions.

Product Format:

Videos are 1280 x 720 QuickTime (H.264).
All files delivered via electronic download.


Upon purchase your Training Video and associated files will be available for download through your Registered Training page. The Training Video is licensed to each individual and is not a studio-wide license. If you have a coupon code, please enter your code in the next step.


Detailed Descriptions of Video Tutorial Segments

sketches by Adam O’Hern

Video Segment 1

Form Development

Topics covered include:
Setup: Importing of backdrop images, and the creation of a basic form, or “buck” around which to build the backpack.
Basic Volumes: Rough forms are quickly built for the main compartment, using sculpting tools, edge bevel, polygon bevel, loop slice, edge slice, and others.
Volume Slabs: Once the rough forms are completed, they can be used as a starting point for creating the final “slab” forms that will comprise the final design.
Other Slabs: Creating the basic geometry for the shoulder straps, waist straps, and the back rest.
modo image by Adam O’Hern

Video Segment 2

Modeling Details and Sculpting

Topics covered include:
Minor Details: Adding small folds in fabric and reflector pieces.
 Straps: Building the various nylon straps that hold the backpack together, using edge extend, bevel, slice, background constraints, and other handy tricks.
Buckles: Covers importing geometry from SolidWorks and/or Rhino, as well as building the buckles manually in sub-d.
Details: The zipper pulls and bungee straps on the sides of the backpack help to bring the concept to life, and they're surprisingly easy to do using the versatile “bridge” tool.
Sculpting: Adding the folds into the fabric on the side of the backpack can be achieved quickly and efficiently using an image-based sculpting method called “displacement mapping”.
modo image by Adam O’Hern

Video Segment 3

Finishing & Rendering

Topics covered include:
Procedurals: The nylon materials on the backpack are achieved using a type of map called a “procedural”, in this case we’ll be using “grid” in various ways to achieve complex bump maps across our various materials.
Stitching: Stitching can add a lot of depth and character to your model, particularly if you’re able to use stitching to introduce a colored accent. Here I use a simple two-step Photoshop method to implement clean, smooth stitches simply and predictably.
Render: In this video we’ll set up our render for final output, and even take a look at the final outputs in Photoshop, so you can get the most out of each render!
Conclusion: Parting words from the designer.



Adam O'Hern

Recently we had a chance to interview Adam O’Hern, an industrial design consultant based in Santa Monica, CA. He specializes in corporate visual brand language development, and has worked on products ranging from laptops to power tools, audio gear to bathroom fixtures, lab instruments to lint rollers, and classroom toys to medical robots.

Find out more »


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