Mechanical Color's Replay for MODO
Mechanical Color recently released Replay, a new tool for MODO, that allows you to create macros and scripts without writing a single line of code.
For those new to the world of macros and scripting, a macro is the simplest kind of script that consists of a linear list of commands that are executed in order. If you're a Photoshop user, think Photoshop Actions. It's the best place to start on the path to creating custom tools and automating tasks.
MODO has a built-in macro recorder that has served me well over the years, and without it, I may have never taken the plunge into scripting. If you are unfamiliar with MODO's macro recorder or could use a refresher, take a minute (literally) and watch this video where I recreate one of my Pushing Points Hatchet tools using the built-in macro recorder in MODO.
Once you feel comfortable with macros, you can transition to Python scripts, which will open the flood gates to endless possibilities. When I first started writing python scripts, I would often start by recording a macro and then manually transcribing it in NotePad++. While not the most challenging of tasks, I found it to be a massive time suck.
So, if MODO already has a built-in macro recorder, why would one want to add Replay to their toolkit?
Well for starters, Replay is more than just a recorder. It's a new way of recording, editing, converting macros to python scripts, and as mentioned earlier, you never have to look at a single line of code. Replay offers functionality that I've wanted since I first started recording macros in MODO.
There are so many things to love about Replay. Here are some of my favorite features:
Replay records commands and values the MODO recorder doesn’t. This makes adding Replay to my toolkit a no brainer. If you start using the built-in macro recorder, you will quickly find that some commands aren’t recorded, or values that are too small won't be recorded properly. While Replay wont record everything, it does a far better job than the built-in recorder.
I can re-order the recorder commands by simply dragging and dropping in the Replay command list. In the past, I would need to edit the macro file in a text editor. I can also stop recording, make edits and then start recording again. This might be one of my most used features of Replay. I commonly make mistakes while recording, and this feature allows me to pick up where I left off instead of having to start from scratch.
Being able to suppress dialogs is key to clean and efficient macros and scripts. It saves the user from having to perform multiple clicks and lets the script run through all the commands without the user having to interact in any way. Using the column next to the command in the Replay palette gains you access to multiple options for dealing with dialogs including suppressing them.
Converting a recorded macro to a python script is a simple export process. This is HUGE! I no longer have to manually add the lx.eval('') to every command. Not only is this a massive time saver but it removes the possibility that I mistype, which is an all too common problem I have when scripting.
Replay also makes it easy to run the macros and scripts you've created from a handy drop down list and a quick option for mapping your macro to a key. It's small, easy to overlook features like this that show just how much thoughtful consideration went into creating this tool.
Watch this short video to see some of these features in action:
Mechanical Color has created something that demystifies the creation of macros and simple python scripts. Replay could have saved me countless hours over the years if it had been in my toolkit.
If you have any desire to automate portions of your MODO workflow, I'd highly recommend exploring what Replay has to offer. For more information, visit the official Replay site here: Replay Site
Want to get started with automating your workflow? Be sure to read Adam O'Hern's post here on Pixel Fondue where he suggests a logical, step-by-step approach to learning to customize, automate, and ultimately develop full-fledged API plugins for MODO. Click here to access the post: MODO: Automation 101