Mud­box 2015

Some shrewd im­prove­ments and a sig­nif­i­cant price drop mean that mud is likely to stick

ImagineFX - - Imagine Fx Reviews - Price £425 Com­pany Au­todesk Web www.au­todesk.com Con­tact Via web­site

A lower price point and a raft of 2D-like fea­tures means this 3D soft­ware now has greater ap­peal.

If you’ve ever wanted to try out Mud­box to give your pro­fes­sional or per­sonal art an­other di­men­sion, then now is the per­fect time.

Mud­box has al­ways been great for beginners as a cre­ation tool. The in­ter­face is much more ap­peal­ing and in­tu­itive than its main com­pe­ti­tion, ZBrush. True, the sculpt­ing feel isn’t quite as in­tu­itive, but it’s still quite fluid and nat­u­ral. You can make use of the pow­er­ful VDM (vec­tor dis­place­ment) stamps for your sculpt­ing, and you can eas­ily cus­tomise the UI colours, lay­out and hotkeys to your taste. The 2015 ver­sion also in­cludes many pre­sets for light­ing and shaders for you to play around with.

How­ever, by far the strong­est func­tion of Mud­box is its paint­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It fea­tures the power of Paint Lay­ers, Pho­to­shop-like blend modes and the abil­ity to ex­port your lay­ers straight to Pho­to­shop for ex­tra con­trol. All these as­pects have been in Mud­box for a while, but the new el­e­ments in Mud­box 2015 build upon the pre­vi­ous re­lease’s fea­ture of auto-re­topol­ogy with curve con­trol. In essence, we’re talk­ing about lay­ers. You can make changes to your orig­i­nal sculpt, and re­vert back with­out any dam­age to your orig­i­nal. This is handy if you’ve started out with a prim­i­tive base mesh and cre­ated a com­plex sculpt that has com­pletely dif­fer­ent form lan­guage.

You can use the re­topol­ogy tools to give you a much cleaner and an­i­ma­tion-friendly mesh if you’re think­ing of breath­ing life into your char­ac­ter cre­ation. This even works for asym­met­ric cre­ations such as char­ac­ters or crea­tures with sub­tle de­sign nu­ances on ei­ther side of a cer­tain axis. The use of sculpt or paint lay­ers has been a proud sta­ple of Mud­box, but now the Au­todesk team has in­tro­duced layer groups, too.

As part of the group’s En­hanced Work­flows, the cre­ation of blend­shapes us­ing lay­ers in a Sculpt Layer Group will be seen as a blendShape node in the top-end 3D pro­gram Maya (an­other Au­todesk re­lease). Paint­ing-wise, the live in­ter­op­er­abil­ity with Maya’s Ptex and multi-tile UV lay­out is a bonus. These en­hance­ments will im­prove the speed of file sav­ing and scene setup in your pro­fes­sional or per­sonal work­flow, and gives you that much more time to fo­cus on art and cre­ation.

Mud­box 2015 is even more at­trac­tive now that the price has dropped from near £800 to £425. Al­ready a pow­er­ful piece of soft­ware, it’s clear Au­todesk want Mud­box to be a rel­e­vant so­lu­tion in the pro­duc­tion en­vi­ron­ment, and for in­di­vid­ual users on a budget.

The lat­est ver­sion of Mud­box has im­proved the way in which it han­dles an ob­ject’s mesh. As a re­sult, an­i­mat­ing your con­cepts is made much eas­ier.

With the price drop­ping to a very rea­son­able £425, Au­todesk is tar­get­ing in­di­vid­ual users with less-ful­some bud­gets. There’s also a 30-day trial avail­able.

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