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nice article! i love seeing the breakdowns.
Pure, Focused 3D Modeling
Silo brings 3D modeling zen to artists via a clean, focused environment and a streamlined toolset, honed over years of development. It was initially born of our own frustration with the needless complexity and slow, unmanageable workflows of all-in-one graphics software. We single-mindedly devoted Silo to modeling, discovering that the modeling workflow could be made much simpler without sacrificing any power. This unique approach has attracted in equal number students, hobbyists, and professional artists in film, games, architecture, and other fields looking to maximize their production. (Read interviews with professional artists using Silo.)
At Silo’s heart is an innovative, robust, and 100% customizable polygon editing toolset, suitable to both organic and hard-surface modeling. This polygonal base mesh is used to drive subdivision surfaces if desired: just hit C and V to navigate between subdivision levels and the base mesh at any time. Those coming to Silo from other applications will find that, despite having fewer tools, Silo isn’t lacking any functionality. Instead, basic modeling tools such as Tweak, Cut, Bevel, Extrude, and Slide intelligently adapt to the task at hand based on context, drastically cutting down on the time spent switching or hunting for tools. (Watch context-sensitivity in action with the Cut Tool.)
On top of this core toolset we’ve added non-destructive brush-based displacement painting (especially useful for high res meshes or directly editing subdivision layers), advanced uv unwrapping, and the unique Topology Brush which lets you literally draw a new edge flow onto a 3D surface. Intuitive, advanced selection tools including Tweak, Loop, Ring, Path, Grow/Shrink, and Soft Selection are key to a fast, fluid workflow. (Watch how Tweak lets you instantly grab and adjust points, edges, and faces to organically reshape the model.)
Silo’s careful design and its focus on pure modeling allows it to have a free, uncluttered feeling which is simply not possible in larger applications. Whether you are working to precise specifications or sketching out your thoughts, it is much easier to do so in a calm, focused modeling environment. This benefits professionals who are coming to Silo to escape slower, more complex software. It also benefits hobbyists and students, who are able to learn everything they need without having to deal with anything they don’t need.
Advanced Polygonal Modeling
Silo offers a comprehensive set of interactive, context-sensitive tools for rapid polygonal modeling. The workflow is focused on having a few powerful, intelligent tools, rather than a separate command or option for every conceivable function. Additionally, “sticky key” functionality allows tools to behave differently if a hotkey is held down. Key modeling tools include Break, Tweak, Cut, Bevel, Slide, Scale, Extrude, Polygon Tool, Edge Tool, unlimited Undo and Redo, and more. Modeling can be performed with or without manipulators, including the Universal Manipulator which combines rotate, scale, and translate into a single manipulator.
Comprehensive Selection Tools
Robust selection tools are the key to great modeling, and a quick look at the Selection menu shows Silo’s development has focused heavily on this area. Some highlights? Multi Select mode allows users to select vertices, edges and faces without changing selection modes. Tweak selection allows a user to grab, move, and deselect a component with a single click. That and many other tools work with Soft Selection, which smoothly distributes changes throughout a shape. Paint, Area, and Lasso selection types are supported. Select Visible and Select Thru functions are both available – by default, use the left mouse button for Select Visible commands, and the middle mouse button for Select Thru. A separate Undo is available for cycling through recent selections.
Designed to fit into any pipeline, Silo is the most customizable modeler available. That includes complete customization of the mouse, keyboard, and graphical interface, allowing it to closely emulate other applications a user may be familiar with, or perform tasks (such as assigning up to 40 different commands to a typical mouse with keyboard modifiers) which no other application can. Favorite tricks include assigning undo/redo, grow/shrink selection, and to the scrollwheel, or simply putting frequently used commands on the right mouse button with modifiers. Silo’s button pages allow users to create their own multi-page interfaces, and assign any command to any image. The interface and color scheme are also highly customizable. Customizations can be easily imported, exported, and shared. Even the Primitives menu can be customized with frequently used models or settings.
Subdivision surfaces offer a smooth, high polygon shape, and are easily accessible in Silo. Using default shortcuts, simply press c to subdivide as many levels as you want, and v to unsubdivide. Modeling can be performed in real time at any subdivision level with updates shown directly on the subdivided shape. Edges can be creased to keep them sharp at all subdivision levels.
Cross-Platform With A Single License
Silo is registered per-user, rather than per-computer or per-OS. A single license allows a Silo user to have Silo installed and registered on up to three computers, in any combination of Mac and PC.
Silo supports import and export of .sia, .sib, .obj, .3ds, .dxf, and .fac, as well as the export only of .stl, .pov, and .rib.