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Product Review: Autodesk Mudbox 2012

In this feature article Architosh again reviews Mudbox in the month of December, checking out what is new in Autodesk Mudbox 2012

About a year ago we reviewed Mudbox 2011 and since it was the first time we reviewed this particular application we noted its background a little. As well as a general introduction to the program. The program was originally created by Skymatter and had a Weta Digital background.  This is now the fourth release of Mudbox by Autodesk since taking over the application in 2007 when it was acquired.

What’s New in Mudbox 2012

Autodesk Mudbox 2012 continues to advance itself and in this year’s release the design software giant added support for 64-bit Linux in addition to Windows and Mac OS X 10.6.x support. In this update Autodesk touched on all three major areas of Mudbox (sculpting, painting and posing) adding useful improvements, but in general the largest updates are concentrated in the area of 3D painting and posing.

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Before we get into those we’ll briefly touch on some general improvements. Version 2011 added 64-bit support for Mac and now as we mentioned we have the same for Linux. A big new improvement in this update is the ability to create and edit stencils. You can bring in images to use for stencils directly from the Mac clipboard.

Autodesk also has introduced new single-step “round-trip” workflows for other related Autodesk software, such as: Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Softimage. Imagining a scene origin from your DCC software of choice, you can export to Mudbox to add painting or sculpting effects and detail and then merge back to your digital content creation (DCC) software. That improves work flows for those working with Autodesk DCC suites. There is a new Send To option in the File menu.

Another useful and related new feature is the new Maya-like “Hot Menus” introduced in Mudbox 2012. Clicking the spacebar quickly creates a “heads-up” hot menu system. For whose who do not use such menu systems it may take getting use to. (see image 01).

01 - Autodesk Mudbox 2012 features new "heads-up" Maya-like hot menu system.

Some significant minor changes include the ability to use tools like Grab and Pinch to manipulate stencils to more closely conform to the shape of your model. There are new selection tools with region and lasso modes. This gives you more control over how you control your model. (see image 02).

02 - Mudbox 2012 features expanded selection tools with new lasso and region modes.

There are two new Grab brush options–Grab Silhouette and Follow Path–that allow you to create innovative new shapes. And this release vastly improves on texture data sets.

next page: Painting Improvements

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