Mudbox 2012 review
The addition of Ptex support, improved posing and painting features already make version 2012 an upgrade worth purchasing. Even though the upgrade costs almost as much as ZBrush and 3D-Coat combined, Mudbox 2012 has some features that make it hard to be without. The proper perspective in viewport, plus the simplicity of the user interface make it a good candidate for being the primary 3D sculpting and painting application.
Good and easy interoperability with 3ds Max, Maya, Softimage and Photoshop is another strong area that makes Mudbox 2012 stand out from the competition. Also, the Texture Extraction and Transfer Details tools are top notch quality and have features that cannot be performed in the competing software with the same ease.
However, some bugs and known issues have been lurking in Mudbox for ages, and they still haven’t been fixed. Also, it’s noticeable that Autodesk has adopted a policy of more likely documenting a "known issue" than fixing it – in the latest service pack, which at the time of this writing was SP3, the release notes document lists one fixed bug, but the limitations and notes list contains roughly 15 issues, and in addition there are some other known limitations listed later in the document. Not to mention the numerous undocumented ones. Some bugs have also crept into "Export Selection", as the OBJ format export is a lot slower in 2012 than it was in 2011. The "Send to" command works fast, but some people might prefer or need the traditional export method for various reasons, using ZBrush might not be the least among them.
Also, when it comes to features, Mudbox 2012 has always lacked the ability to create base meshes or new geometry, so you have to import them from outside. The selection of pre-made meshes really doesn’t help either, and makes one wonder why there’s a tree stump and other seemingly random templates, instead of some more useful basic geometric shapes.
With the release of Zbrush 4 R2, when it comes to geometry creation, the already existing gap between Mudbox and ZBrush has grown bigger, as ZBrush already had many tools to generate new geometry and now the added DynaMesh makes it even better. Hopefully this will be addressed by Autodesk in the next version of Mudbox, as it would improve vastly Mudbox’s usability for prototyping and sketching.
Mudbox official pages
Mudbox tutorials and resources
Mudbox customer showcase
Mudbox pages at Autodesk’s Area
The origins of Mudbox – an interview with SkyMatter’s co-founder Andrew Camenisch (Gamasutra)
- A trial version can be downloaded from Autodesk’s website.