The more I speak with modelers, the more I get that Modo is really the modeling tool of choice—primarily in the hard-surface corners of the industry.
Foundry’s latest release, Modo 11.1, builds further from 11.0v1 in the modeling tools like Mesh Fusion booleans compounded with the procedural stacks that Modo uses. But, it has also eased a couple modeling tasks that are infuriatingly tedious: Retopologizing and UVing. The topology pen is used to draw out new polys and edgeloops while retopologizing. This pen has gotten better with new falloff controls, which provide a gradient of influence as you refine and move new vertices or edgeloops. The same falloff can be used as you smooth results of the retopo.
UV creation and manipulation has been one of Modo’s strong suits, so it’s not surprising that this received some development love. Laying out UVs is similar to a game of Tetris as you try and fit UVs into positions that most efficiently utilizes the 0-1 UDIM tile. Modo now offers onscreen feedback of how much coverage the UVs are using as you move things around. A new transform gizmo provides all the transform controls you need without switching tool.
There is now a “brush,” for lack of a better word, that allows you to paint across UV edges that will split the UVs—the width of the brush indicating an offset for how far the UV vertices will move apart. Holding a modifier key will sew the UVs back up. You are literally painting down the seam to split or sew. It’s way better than the select and click a tool. In a similar vein, you can dynamically tear UV pieces away with a key combination and drag.
Troubleshooting UVs is even worse than laying out UVs. So Modo 11.1 has a set of tools to detect overlapping UVs, twisting UVs in the same island, and flipped UVs. It’s incredibly beneficial for avoiding technical errors in games, and cranky texture artists everywhere.
A huge thing, especially when it comes to environments with lots of things in them, is the texel-size distribution. Modo comes with a tool to determine the density based on the number of pixels per meter. This is to avoid having a building with super low-res textures, and a basketball next to it with amazingly high-rez textures. Basically, it’s a way to normalize the size distribution of your textures.
These are the principle take-aways for Modo 11.1, but believe you me that there is a veritable laundry list of new features in Modo that would make the annual subscription cost worthwhile. I didn’t even touch on the live connection between Modo and Unreal. Imagine selecting an object in an Unreal world, and having Modo open with that object. You edit it—or replace it—and you go back to Unreal, and it’s there! Also, ModoVR just went into Beta in early August. By the time this review hits the streets, it may be out. Keep your eyes open for it if you are developing content for VR. Website: www.foundry.com/products/ modo/new-releases
OActor Todd Haberkorn talks about bringing Natsu the fire wizard and other popular anime characters to life. By Charles Solomon
ne of busiest voice actors and ADR directors in the business, Todd Haberkorn has done American animation ( Ben 10, Sofia the First), videogames ( God Wars: Future Past) and audio books (Dave Barry’s The Worst Class Trip Ever). But he’s best known for his work in anime, especially as the voice of Natsu Dragneel, the brawling fire wizard in the smash adventure-comedy Fairy Tail. Haberkorn talked about his work during a break at a recent recording session. “I had been acting on stage and in films and television since I was 10, and I knew it was something I wanted to do, but I had no idea that voice over was an option,” he recalls. “I was so immersed in cartoons as an audience member that I never thought about actors voicing the characters. I just thought, ‘These are amazing stories and I love these characters!’”
He took a friend’s suggestion to apply at Funimation, although he confesses: “I didn’t know what anime was.” Haberkorn is of mixed European and Asian ancestry: He’d been teased about his voice as a child because he didn’t sound like the other kids in his native Texas. But the folks at Funimation liked the way he sounded, and he quickly became one of their lead actors.
Haberkorn’s characters range from Yuichiro Tajima, the exuberant little league star in Big Windup!; to Death the Kid, the symmetry-obsessed son of the Grim Reaper in Soul Eater; to Ling Yao, the prince whose body is taken over by the evil spirit who embodies greed in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood; to Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, the one charac-
use live-action mixed with animation. comic-book art of Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tomine and Joe Daly.