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Rockfish: A Complete MODO 601 Project

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Rockfish: A Complete modo 601 Project

Video Tutorial for modo 601 by Andy Brown

In this tutorial we give you the opportunity to take a project from start to completion in modo 601. In the process you'll get a flavor for the options available to you, and we'll explore many of the new features in our latest release, including numerous re-topology tools as well as rigging and hard and soft body simulation features.

This project involves sculpting, modeling, painting, rigging and animating a Rockfish. Rockfish is a common term used to describe a number of fish species that have a venom gland, but from a creative perspective the most interesting thing about them is their colorful markings which will make them a joy to paint and render.

The most important thing about this project is the Rockfish's ability to demonstrate how modo's toolset and UI allow for an almost seamless progression through the project, allowing you to jump from one task to another with ease. It's an encapsulation of the modo experience, an experience where workflow is key.

MODO video by The Foundry

Sample results from the Rockfish Training Series.

Note: These tutorials are delivered online in 1280 x 720 QuickTime (H.264) format and are available for download through your Registered Products page after purchase.  The modo software is loaded into your Product Evaluations page.


Purchase the Rockfish Training Series

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Rockfish Video Tutorial


7 videos segments
7 starting scenes, 7 intermediate scenes, and 9 finished scenes so ROCKFISH can be picked up at different points
16 images
A MDD plugin by Matt Cox and MDD file.

Total running time:

4h 12m 10s

Experience Level:

All levels. Basic knowledge of modo 601 and Adobe Photoshop CS5 recommended.

Software Compatibility:

modo 601

Product Format:

Videos are delivered at 1280 x 720 resolution. All files delivered via electronic download and a fast Internet connection is strongly recommended. Narrated in English.


Upon purchase your training materials will be available for download through your Registered Training page. The training course 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

  1. Video Segment 1

    (35m 10s)

    Video 1 starts the project by re-using an existing mesh. The shape of this is then edited using many of modo's fast polygon editing tools, as well as falloffs and edge tools, to create a starting point, or base mesh, for our Rockfish model. With this base mesh defined we then use modo's multi-resolution meshes and sculpting tools to sculpt the details of the fish including the gills, eyes and mouth.

    MODO video by The Foundry

    Sample clip from video 1 on modeling and sculpting the Rockfish.

  2. Video Segment 2

    (29m 47s)

    Video 2 takes the model that was created in the first video and rebuilds it so that it can be easily textured and animated. Using many of the new Re-Topology tools in modo 601, including extensive use of the Topology Pen, we rebuild the surface so the polygons correctly define the details of the fish, and are aligned in such a way so that they will deform naturally when the model is moving.

    MODO video by The Foundry

    Sample clip from video 2 focusing on the Re-Topology tools.

  3. Video Segment 3

    (39m 47s)

    In video 3 we complete geometric modeling using modo 601's powerful polygon modeling toolset to add some subtle details to the model and build the eyes and fins.  Great attention is payed to the structure of the polygons and the continuity of the surface. Along the way we have the opportunity to utilize Action Centers and the Workplane as well as other key tools that underpin modo's polygon modeling workflow.

    MODO video by The Foundry

    Sample clip from video 3 showing additional modeling on the eye area.

  4. Video Segment 4

    (25m 10s)

    We may have created all the polygons but we haven't finished the modeling. In video 4 we use Photoshop to paint image maps that apply transparency and displacement to the fins in order to reproduce their thin, ragged and spiny appearance. In order to do this we must first UV the model. Using modo's beautifully integrated UV toolset we create the UVs necessary to not only create the displacement and transparency, but also UVs that can be used in other elements of the texturing process.

    MODO video by The Foundry

    Sample clip from video 4 on painting transparency maps.

  5. Video Segment 5

    (35m 14s)

    One of the most appealing things about a Rockfish is its bright and vivid coloration. In this video we paint and texture the fish in an attempt to re-create it. We start by using modo's replicators to build and bake a brush that we can use to paint the fish scales. We then use that image to modulate the application of layers of color which we eventually bake into a final color map.

    MODO video by The Foundry

    Sample clip from video 5 shows painting the fish's scales.

  6. Video Segment 6

    (52m 53s)

    With the model complete we can now make it move. In video 6 we use a wide variety of modo 601's new rigging tools to rig the fish for animation. We use a combination of joints, transform deformers, falloffs, morphs and relationships to get the fish to swim believably. One of the most challenging aspects of this project is how to animate the fins, so in the second half of this video we explore how to use Recoil Soft Bodies to simulate a swimming motion.

    MODO video by The Foundry

    Sample clip from video 6 on creating a group to normalize the fin deformers.

  7. Video Segment 7

    (37m 9s)

    Almost complete but fish need something to swim in. Our final video covers building, texturing and animating a simple underwater environment. We sculpt a seabed and then use Recoil Rigid Bodies to place rocks in natural formations around it. We then texture the environment with volumetrics, caustics and particles, and finish the project by looking at how we can set the scene up to output useful passes to a compositing application like NUKE.

    MODO video by The Foundry

    Sample clip from video 7 on using rigid bodies to populate the underwater environment.


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