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Nearly five years ago, I began a small project designed to allow me to take animation from Autodesk's Maya and bring it into Luxology's Modo.  At the time, Modo had just released version 201 which included a beautiful GI renderer, but did not support animation- it didn't even have a timeline.

I used some voodoo with blendshapes ( morphmaps in Modo terminology ) to get animation into Modo, even with motion blur after an undocumented feature was revealed to me by Modo's chief architect.  Stuart was so impressed with my efforts he gave me an enourmous hug at Modo's party during Siggraph '06 in Boston.

Admittedly, he was quite drunk at the time.

Some people were using Modomotion, but it was limited in it's usefullness.  I knew this, and I had done it more as to settle a bet with Luxology president Brad Peebler than anything else.

With Modo 301, Luxology added a timeline and support for .MDD files.  This made the very concept of Modomotion more viable.  I rewrote Modomotion to output .mdd files, and released it - again, still for free.

Immediately upon release, the complaining began.  It didn't work the way certain people wanted.  It wasn't fast enough.  I didn't provide enough documentation.

I never intended Modomotion to be a 'product'.  It was something I played around with because I like animating in Maya and like rendering in Modo.  I released it for free online because I could.  I wrote the tool to work the way I like to work.  In fact, my private version of the tool automatically creates my preferred directory structure and outputs files the way I like, but I conceded a little bit to other users.

I wrote Modomotion as a script instead of as a plugin because I wanted it to be availiable to as many people as possible.  I don't think most users at home are running 64Bit Linux flavors of Maya, which is the only way it would be released as a plugin.  To maintain a plugin across multiple versions of maya, across multiple platforms, in both 32bit and 64bit requires way more time and resources than I was willing to devote to a free project.

I decided to rewrite Modomotion in python, simply to learn more about Python in Maya, something that wasn't around before.  During Avatar, I was so engrossed in Motionbuilder, Maya advanced without me paying attention.  So I needed an excuse to do a Maya Python project, and Modomotion 3 was it.

Last year I released the rewrite and an accompanying video showing how it worked.  While Modomotion3 has had well over 2000 downloads, the video has been viewed 135 times.  Obviously, there were people out there downloading it and not watching the video.

The complaining continued.  On message boards, on Twitter, and occasionally someone would locate my website or email address and complain there.  I pretty much ignored it.  As I said, I created Modomotion as basically a hobby and for my own use, and distributed it because, hey, why not.

Then I got three emails within three hours from one individual, a student at a university on the West Coast of the US.  This is important once you take into account timezones.  He was trying to complete an important project, and had done no stress testing.  All his animation was done in a manor which wouldn't work with Modomotion.  He was now trying to export it out so he could render, and obviously it wasn't working.

The first email was asking for help.  It was slightly brusque, but that's fine.  I'm aware that if you send somebody an email you don't know, briefness is often a virtue.

The second email was slightly rude mixed with panic and pleading.

The final email was rude and full of insults, belligerence and even legal threats ( gotta love Americans ).

I got all these emails at the same time when I woke up in the morning.  I hit delete. And I decided I was done with it.  I announced I was pulling Modomotion.  I gave people a week to grab it if they wanted, and now it's gone.

It will not be coming back.

To quote an axiom recited by my friend Wes - 'Give people an inch, and they expect a mile.'

If you need a replacement for Modomotion, I would suggest PointOven .  It costs $99.  With that, you get support and can make all the requests you want.

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Reader Comments (6)

Man vou are sooooooooo RIGHT
April 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMrWyatt
Not all American's are a**holes... but clearly that one was ;)

I like the "Airforce One" movie version... "If you give a mouse a cookie... he'll ask for a glass of milk"

Hope things are well in royal wedding land.
April 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRichard Hurrey
Wow, I'm really sorry to hear all that. I know it's hard, but I think you just have to ignore most people, especially clueless, self absorbed students. I teach cg, make videos for students to make sure they have something solid to refer to rather than youtube, and most don't watch them. Some even complain that they don't want to spend all that time watching a video!

Anyway, I regretfully never tried modomotion3. I remember when you first made modomotion and thought it was amazing that a user cooked that up and flat out incredible that it was offered free to the community. It's truly sad that you caught so much grief for that, and even sadder that now that it's gone. Please don't take the experience as indicative of Americans, cg people, or the world. Assholes exist, and they are numerous, but there are decent people out here, too.

Btw, I remember '06 and you're right, Stuart was SERIOUSLY drunk. ;)
May 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZarathustra
Well done David If only everyone knew how to appreciate gifts.
September 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHarsh
Wow, I was looking for modomotion and I came here and read the whole post.
What to say, I am sad about it, it was a great script, and sadly I don't have a copy, but hey, I totally understand.

I hope this will be of some lesson for people who doesn't know what gratitude is.
March 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMario Baldi
Dam that's a shame, I was looking for the script as im trying to work it out my self at the moment. Fully understandable though :) ill have to keep persevering with my script. Can't believe people were giving you abuse for something they had for free! Sounds like you did some good work though!
August 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason

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