Modo Walkthrough: Primitives 3 – Tube, Solid Sketch and Text


The tube primitive is a tool that creates a spline with a cylindrical primitive round it. The variables for the tube tool mostly control the cylinder.

The tube is placed by clicking in the viewport and then clicking a second time to determine the end point of the tube. Further points can be added by clicking to add more nodes to the spline.

Using the tube tool
Using the tube tool

There are three modes available in the tube tool: Add, Edit, Delete. Add lets you add nodes, but you can also edit nodes by clicking on them and moving them around. Edit lets you move nodes around without the risk of accidentally adding new nodes. Delete lets you delete nodes.

The node co-ordinates let you change the position of the currently selected node.

Sides/Segments/Radius does the same thing as it does for the cylinder, i.e. you can change how many segments and sides are found on the cylinder between each node point. Radius changes the radius of the cylinder around the spline, and can also be done using by click-dragging the right mouse button.

Twist determines how much rotation of the cylinder there is between the two nodes.

0 degrees twist vs 45 degrees twist
0 degrees twist vs 45 degrees twist

By length changes the rotation from being between the two nodes, to across the entire tube.

Caps adds a polygon at the end of the tube to close it off. Deselecting this leaves the ends open.

A tube with the caps option selected
A tube with the caps option selected

Closed adds extra geometry between the first node and the last node to make a complete loop

A tube with the closed option selected
A tube with the closed option selected

Profiles add a predetermined shape to the tube which can be selected by clicking one of the profile icons.

Scale makes the profile more pronounced; repeat adds repetition of the profile between each node, rather than along the entire length of the tube; reverse inset inverts the inset and makes areas that were previously smaller larger; reverse direction flips the profile 180 degrees.

Solid Sketch

Solid sketch is a tool that is used to rough out shapes before refining them.

The easiest way to explain this is through a series of pictures documenting a workflow. When you first select the primitive and click in the workspace you are presented with a sub-d square. This is essentially a node with a bunch of sub-d geometry around it.

The first geometry of a solid sketch primitive
The first geometry of a solid sketch primitive

The next step is to add further nodes, by clicking where you want the geometry to extend to.

Solid sketch with additional geometry
Solid sketch with additional geometry

To add geometry that isn’t just in a straight line, click on the node that you want to add to and then click where you want the extra geometry to be.

Adding extra geometry to a solid sketch
Adding extra geometry to a solid sketch

Edit Mode
This mode allows you to add and change the nodes of a solid sketch primitive.

Destroy Mode
This mode allows you to delete nodes, note that you can not delete the initial node.

Subdiv Mode
This determines how much geometry you will see on the screen, i.e. how much subdivision you want to see. Level 1 gives relatively little smoothing, level 2 offers more. None removes all smoothing.

Rotate Handles
Allows you to turn on the rotation handles.

Current Node
Allows you to select which node you are working with. This is also possible simply by clicking on them in the viewport.

Auto Align
This improves the geometry curvature.

Auto merge
According to the manual this merges geometry together when nodes get too close to each other, but I have been unable to get this to work.

This repels geometry, adding this to a node will essentially remove the geometry around it.

Text Tool

The text tool is fairly straight forward and fairly obvious, but it will be covered here for completion.

This is the text that you want to create

This is the font you want to use


This is the distance between each letter in the text you are using.

This determines whether the text originates at the top, middle or bottom of the origin.

This determines whether the text justifies itself to the centre, left or right of the origin.

Determines which axis the text is placed on.

Output type
Text polygon produces polygonal text faces, whereas bezier produces something akin to vectors.

Determines how many text polygons should be created. Word creates a new polygon every word, line for every line, character for every letter.

Inverts the normal direction of the text.