Review: recoil – dynamics for modo
It adds rigid body dynamics to modo’s toolset but does recoil push Luxology’s opus into the big league?
Price: £122 / $199 / €140 | Platform: Windows / Mac | Developer: Eric Soulvie
recoil can be used for stills as well as animations by stacking objects realistically
- Simple-to-use plug-in
- Rigid body dynamics
- Spring and motor effects
Luxology’s road map for modo is a long and winding one.
Many users expected modo 501 to be the big animation release, integrating dynamics and other bells and whistles that would make true character animation a reality.
While this didn’t come to pass, I for one applauded 501 for what it did provide. Now, several months on, we have recoil, a plug-in that gives modo some basic dynamics tools.
recoil is essentially a modo-specific retooling of the open-source Bullet physics engine, but only offers rigid body dynamics, at least for now.
Installation is simple; once complete, recoil is accessed from a new menu that appears along the top of the main window.
Various attributes, such as bounce and friction, can be edited on all dynamic objects, passive or active
From here you have the option to assign recoil-specific parameters to your models, the most basic being active or passive rigid body.
On top of this, various fall-offs, constraints and forces, as well as motor and spring parameters, can be used independently or combined for more complex animations.
There are also caching options that enable you to bake out one or all of the elements in your scene to keyframes.
This all sounds like a fantastic addition to modo–and it is, to a degree – but there are a few issues that prevent it being essential.
Firstly, in the time I’ve been testing recoil, it’s proven to be quite crash-happy; on occasion, these crashes have caused recoil-enabled elements to become completely corrupt and uneditable.
recoil, but without true emitters, the process is rather clumsy Particle effects can be faked with
Even when it’s running smoothly, the behaviour of certain dynamic objects has, at times, been just plain random.
In all, the reliability and stability of recoil is a little disappointing, especially when modo has been showing such great improvements in this area.
The odd crash is forgivable, but using recoil’s particular implementation of Bullet is more akin to playing Russian roulette.
Service packs and updates are no doubt planned, and these could improve the stability of the plug-in, but there’s one other major issue that remains.
I can understand that modo 501 shipped without dynamics, and there are many who’ll be happy that recoil has appeared to add the beginnings of this functionality.
recoil produces convincing simulations, so long as the scene isn’t too complex
However, I think releasing something as a plug-in that would benefit from heavy integration with the core app at a root level is not only risky, but also worrying for the future development of modo.
I can only hope that when modo 601 comes around, recoil is integrated into the main application, because the fragmentation of the code base when essential modules are released independent of the core app could prove catastrophic.
I can’t help but feel that recoil would be a lot more production- ready if it was as integrated a part of modo as the modeller or render engine.
• Simple to use
• Nice rigid body simulation
• Useful caching options
• Stability is an issue
• Complex objects cause problems
recoil is a fun and ambitious add-on, but stability issues (possibly stemming from its plug-in status) prevent it from being wholeheartedly recommended
on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 at 3:44 pm under Plug-ins, Reviews.
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Tags: Animation, dynamics, modo, modo 501, plug-in, recoil, review