Modo combines all of the most basic modeling tools, Extrusion, Bevel and Inset, into a single tool; “Bevel”, bound to the B hotkey. Learning how to use this tool more effectively will vastly improve your speed, since this single tool comprises the majority of your basic work shaping a model. Learning each of these tricks below more than doubled my own recorded modeling speed in Modo.
- Lock to Extrude or Inset
Normally dragging in the viewport will control both the Extrusion (referred to by the tool as “Shift”) and Inset of the Bevel tool simultaneously, but holding Ctrl while dragging will lock it into one or the other based on the first direction used, removing the need to rely on the much slower 3D handles for precise control. Dragging up or down will control the Extrusion, while dragging left or right will control the Inset. This also works while left-clicking in the viewport to initially activate the tool.
- Activate without input
After pressing the B key, instead of left-clicking in the viewport to activate the tool, right-clicking will activate the tool without simultaneously applying any input. Useful if you intend to use the 3D handles, and don’t want to accidentally drag and apply some beveling while activating the tool.
Alternatively, you can go into System > Preferences > Tool Settings > Global Flags, and turn on “Auto Activate”. This will cause all tools to instantly activate when used, without requiring you to click in the viewport.
- Reactivate Bevel Tool
Holding Shift while clicking in the viewport, with the Bevel tool already active, will reapply the Bevel tool. Allowing you to add an additional Bevel without having to drop and then reactivate the tool. This even works with the locking trick above by holding both Ctrl and Shift simultaneously while clicking and dragging.
- Reapply last Bevel
Middle-mouse clicking in the viewport with the Bevel tool active will instantly reapply your last Bevel. For example, if you Extrude up 10cm, then middle-mouse click, it will create an additional upward Extrusion of exactly 10cm.
- Perfect Bevel
If you want to force an actual Bevel, you can hold Ctrl while dragging either of the 3D handles. This will simultaneously control both the Extrusion and Inset equally, creating a perfect Bevel.
- Edge Bevel
Edge Bevel can still be used with faces/polygons selected, affecting all the edges bordering your selection. This is useful in certain situations, especially in avoiding having to swap selections while shaping a model, or quickly beveling all the edges that border a cap piece. Simply pressing B though will automatically choose the proper Bevel method based on your selection, in this case faces. To use Edge Bevel with faces selected, you would normally need to choose it in the menu.
By default, Shift-B is bound to Polygon Bevel, which is functionally useless since it cannot be used with anything but faces/polygons and B alone would work the same in that case. I recommend going into the System > Input Editor, and changing Shift-B to Edge Bevel instead. Simply double-click the binding inside the menu, and type “tool.set edge.bevel on” in the command window.