Tech Re­views

Animation Magazine - - Opportunities -

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.

Todd Haberkorn

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