The Life of a 3D Nomad… How to run Modo on Mac OSX from a USB thumb drive.

Recently, I found myself in the situation where my work machine surpassed my personal macbook pro’s processor power and speed. I really didn’t want to leave my precious Modo 501 personal license on my work machine when I left in the evenings, so I had a dilemma… either work on my old mackbook pro for all my modeling and render at snail speed, or get my 8 core mac at work running Modo.

My dilemma was further complicated since I wanted to keep my modified configs, key mappings, plugins, scripts, and assets wherever I used Modo, whether at home or work. After a little research on the Luxology forums and through search engines, I came up with the solution. I decided to buy an 8GB USB thumb drive and lift the desktop strings from my Modo Software.

There were a lot of tutorials on how to do this as a server setup using python scripts and also as a USB thumb drive, but only in the Windows environment. The Mac OSX platform did not allow environment variables to be defined in the target path of an alias which meant that I had to find a different way to achieve the same result. Below is the process that I used in order to accomplish this task using the powerful unix shell that Mac OSX is built on.

Before starting to create the script, you need to set up the file directories on your USB thumb drive to house the Modo Application and supporting files. I set up my directory tree as follows:
(Please note: My shell script is designed for this file tree hierarchy. You will have to edit the script if you want a different file tree system)

USB Thumbdrive Root/

Once you have the directories in place, copy over your modo501 app into the Applications folder, along with your assets, plugins, scripts, license file, etc. Now it’s time that we can start building our script that will launch Modo from the USB stick. The process is pretty simple, see below:

1) Open a terminal and navigate to the root level of your USB thumb drive.

cd /Volumes/[USBdriveName]/

2) Create the modo Launcher shell script file.

touch modoLauncher

3) Open your favorite terminal editor and paste in the script. I used Pico.

pico modoLauncher

4) Copy and paste the script below: (NOTE: You will need to edit the thumb drive name with that of your USB thumb drive. You will also need to edit the temp directory path. I place my temp folder on my desktop since I don’t want my USB stick to fill up with large quantities of temp files as I render.)


open /Volumes/[USBdriveName]/Luxology/Applications/ --args "-dblog:/Volumes/[USBdriveName]/Luxology/System/dblog/ModoDebugOut.txt" "-debug:verbose" "-license:/Volumes/[USBdriveName]/Luxology/System/license" "-config:/Volumes/[USBdriveName]/Luxology/System/main/temp.cfg" "-path:prefs=/Volumes/[USBdriveName]/Luxology/System/preferences" "-path:temp=/Users/[YourUserName]/Desktop/AutoSave" "-path:user=/Volumes/[USBdriveName]/Luxology/AppSupport/" "-path:content=/Volumes/[USBdriveName]/Luxology/Content/" "-path:asset=/Volumes/[USBdriveName]/Luxology/Content/Assets"

5) When finished editing the script, writeout the lines on exit and save the script. Next, you need to make the script an executable file.

chmod a+x modoLauncher

From now on in order to launch Modo from the USB thumbdrive, simply double click the modoLauncher shell script on the root level of your thumbdrive. The terminal should open and execute the open command on the modo app passing the argument parameters through changing all your paths to launch modo from the USB stick.

Enjoy your Mac OSX version of Modo on the go!