Maxwell and Modo Rendering Questions

I have received several questions on why I prefer Maxwell over Modo for rendering purposes?  For clarification, I think that both Maxwell and Modo are great renderers and are capable of doing just about anything you want when it comes to render output.  

My choice for Maxwell as my preferred renderer is based on several considerations.  My first, is how Maxwell integrates with my workflow.  In almost every design situation, I find that I finish my designed object in FormZ; regardless of which design program I had started my design with.  Add the fact that I really love how FormZ allows you to EASILY assign and align materials, as well as assign lights to your object, and that Maxwell makes a plug-in for FormZ, makes it a no brainer for ease and time savings.  If Modo were my final stage on a regular basis then I would probably be using Modo’s renderer. On the other hand, Maxwell has a plugin for Modo as well!

My second reason for Maxwell, well, Maxwell just makes a whole lot of sense to me!  For me, Maxwell is much easier to use vs. the renderer in Modo. Photo-realistic renders using real-world camera type terminology and understanding with really great results!   That said, Maxwell is a bit slower to achieve the end render result vs. Modo, but that has little bearing on my workflow. Maxwell can crunch in the background while I am working on some other design in FormZ.  

So why do I use Modo?  For those objects that are organic in shape. Sub-D modeling is great for this kind of design work.  You could design a guitar body that is a bit more complex in shape, convert it into a nurbs object using the “Power Sub-d Nurbs” plugin for Modo, bring it into FormZ and cut out your cavity controls, pickup cavities, etc., with great precision. In Modo, the control, pickup and neck pocket cavities would be very difficult to model.

My New Found Love - FormZ 7

For years I have been using Rhino as my CAD software of choice.  Adding T-splines plug-in to the mix just added to the joy!  T-Splines opened up a whole new world for me; the beautiful organic shapes that I was able to achieve vs. just using Rhino was a life saver.  Needless to say, this type of modeling that T-splines introduced to me caused me to look around to see what else was out there with regard to achieving organic shapes with the ease that a NURBS modeler (Rhino) could only dream of.  Looking high and low, I found Modo.  

Modo is a sub-d modeler which lends itself to really opening up the doors to organic shapes as well as non-organic shapes.  Soon I was finding myself preferring Modo for my organic modeling needs over T-splines.  In Modo, you can model just about anything you wish and render your design with great rendering accuracy.  The problem in Modo is creating accuracy for an object ready to use on a CNC. This is where Rhino with T-splines really shines; you can do both types of modeling within the same program.  But Modo has a more robust and advanced set of tools vs. T-splines, not to mention, I think Modo is way more fun to use.

The fact that I loved modeling in Modo so much, the next question for me was "is there a CAD design software that I might like better than Rhino?" Don't get me wrong, I think Rhino is a great program and I will never knock it.  Rhino has been very good to me and I still use it for many things!  But somehow I just felt Rhino as my main modeler was not the best fit for my personalty and work flow. As I looked high and wide, trying every CAD software I could find that had a trial download; I found FormZ 7.

The body below was modeled in Modo and exported into FormZ 7 using Luxology's "Power SubD-NURBS" plug-in which translates the object into a NURBS object.  The neck was modeled in Form Z and then attached to the body.

I have been using FormZ 7 for about 6 months now and though it is not perfect; quirks and all; I really fell in love with this particular design software.  I am even finding ways to design in Form Z that reduces my need for Modo!  Also, rendering in FormZ 7 is kick ass! The ease and power using either RenderZone or especially "Maxwell Render" plug-ins makes Form Z an absolute pleasure to design in.  Oh, and did I say that Form Z works both on Mac and Windows platform? This is a big plus for my workflow!

In the near future I will post some easy beginner tutorials on this site geared for guitar design.  For more advanced guitar design, I will be posting some guitar / bass design tutorials for sale at the Warr Guitars "Store" web site.