Back in December 2013, The Foundry released a MODO Steam Edition of its 3D modeling, paint and rendering tool that was geared towards game makers. The success of that release has now led the company to announce both MODO indie and MARI indie on Steam, offering a new, and cheaper, way for users to have access to the 3D and painting software. fxguide talks to The Foundry about features of the indie releases and, importantly, their restrictions.

So what’s included with MODO indie and MARI indie? The Foundry stresses that the indie versions are scaled-down but still feature-rich. And that’s true - both MODO indie and MARI indie have significant functionality and can be used for commercial purposes.

MODO indie screenshot.
MODO indie screenshot.

One of the main differences between the full and indie versions of MODO and MARI is that the indie file format is licensed to you as an individual. This means that you can only open your project - an indie project can’t be opened inside the full version of the software. Each indie file is locked down to that person’s license, so you can’t take that asset and give it to someone else. No one else can work on that file.

Here's a look at the specific MARI indie restrictions:

  • Project file (.mra) linked to Steam account / cannot be shared with other users
  • Export texture resolution size limited to 4k and 8-bit color per channel
  • Allowed export formats: .psd, .png, .tga, .jpg
  • Output formats no longer available .exr, .tif, .tiff, .hdr, .dds, and .ptx
  • Python scripting disabled
  • Object count is limited to 3 objects
  • Custom shaders not allowed

The main MODO indie restrictions include the following (many of the existing limitations in MODO Steam Edition have actually been reduced for MODO indie:

  • Commercial for-profit use allowed for individual use, or individuals of a sole-proprietorship organization where only one license of each variant is allowed
  • OBJ and FBX export limit expanded to 100k polys
  • Source (.lxf) files are encrypted and locked to an individual Steam user ID/license
  • Limited Bake and Render resolution to 4k
  • Export is FBX and OBJ only
  • Can only save in .lxf format, although can still import all formats.
  • Image save formats limited to .png and .jpg, .tiff and .exr
MARI indie screenshot.
MARI indie screenshot.

Despite those restrictions, the release of MODO indie and MARI indie could be considered ‘game-changing’, in that they bring some of the most powerful and agile modeling and texturing tools to a whole new market. “We’ve seen Unreal Engine and Unity and others push down to make their products more accessible to all these independent game developers,” The Foundry’s product marketing manager for MARI and MODO Shane Griffith told fxguide at SIGGRAPH Asia recently. “We wanted to create something that was accessible to Steam and Steam games and also more commercially accessible.”

“The release is for individual commercial purposes,” adds Griffith. “You can create content as a freelancer, and not just for games. Anything or any market and output and share that content in a TV project, say. It’s about the individual. I as an individual can still do commercial work, but I want to do freelance work as a hobbyist, but I want to make something from it.”

This video from The Foundry shows how a character can be made with MODO and MARI indie.

Of course, one major reason the software will be more accessible is price. Here’s how the pricing for indie releases will work via low-cost monthly subscriptions, one-time perpetual licenses, and as a multi-product bundle:

MODO indie:
- Perpetual license: $299
- Bundled with MARI indie $379
- Standalone subscription options: 1 month, 3 month, or 6 month subscription priced at $14.95 / $11.95 / $9.99 per month, respectively.
- Bundle subscription options: 1 month, 3 month, or 6 month subscription priced at $23.49 / $18.79 / $15.49 per month, respectively.

MARI indie:
- Perpetual license: $149
- Bundled with MODO indie $379
- Standalone subscription options: 1 month, 3 month, or 6 month subscription priced at $12.49 / $9.99 / $8.25 per month, respectively.
- Bundle subscription options: 1 month, 3 month, or 6 month subscription priced at $23.49 / $18.79 / $15.49 per month, respectively.

The Foundry has a full Q&A about the new releases on its website.


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  • michal

    Any article about Foundry sale?