April 1, 2009

COLLADA Plug-in for modo

GDC 2009 - Luxology LLC has unveiled a COLLADA plug-in for the soon-to-be-announced modo 401 during GDC. The latest version offers new features for exporting from modo and a new COLLADA importer, enabling users to preserve key attributes of their modo creations during file export and manipulation.
An XML-based, open-source file format that enables 3D digital content creation tools to exchange assets, COLLADA is used for streamlining mixed-application workflows. Luxology has maintained the original features of COLLADA, including support for animation and multiple texture coordinate sets and the inclusion of metadata for search operations.

The COLLADA tools in modo 401 have been tested using the Coherency Test Tool. Another important capability Luxology has written into COLLADA is support for modo's layered transform stacks, so that multiple transforms can be specified for a single item, allowing such constructs as orbital planetary motion to be represented with minimum overhead.

For additional pipeline flexibility, Luxology has built a "modo profile" technique into COLLADA, providing a text version of nearly all modo items and their internal channels and animation envelopes. The modo profile enables everything that can be exported from modo to be imported back with the exact same values, including additional modo-specific data that expresses items, channels and envelopes that are not part of the standard COLLADA file format specification. These human-readable modo profiles can then be directly edited using a plain text or XML editing tool. Additionally, the exporter can output profiles for Autodesk's Maya and 3ds Max, describing many elements that are not an official part of the standard COLLADA specification.

The COLLADA tools will be provided at no charge to all modo 401 users and will be included as source code examples in the modo File I/O Software Developer Kit so that game developers and others will be able to modify the tools or use this as a basis for supporting other formats as needed.