It seems like just yesterday when we were all playing 2D video games with simple controllers plugged into archaic game consoles, but the world of 3D gaming is here to stay. So much has progressed in the last decade that 3D isn’t even enough to cut it these days; the industry has been pursuing the highest polygon count that software and hardware can produce, and that’s where Mudbox comes into play.
Next generation game consoles have pumped up the demand for higher polygon counts, but normal maps still need to be placed on low poly models. This 3D sculpting software was founded by former Weta Digital artists and was incredibly low maintenance and efficient. In an effort to compete with Pixologic’s ZBrush, Autodesk acquired Mudbox from Skymatter in 2006, and has improved it since then.
Mudbox System Requirements
Please note that depending on whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Mudbox 2012, the system requirements are very different. The 32-bit version needs Windows XP Professional (SP3), Windows Vista Business (SP2), or Windows 7 Professional, whereas the 64-bit version of Mudbox 2012 can use any of those three, or Mac OS X 10.6.5, or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 WS, or Fedora 14. Both versions require Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or higher, Apple Safari, or a Mozilla Firefox Web browser.
As for the hardware needed for Mudbox 2012, 32-bit version users need a Windows Intel Pentium 4 or higher, an AMD Athlon 64, or an AMD Opteron processor with SSE3 instructions set support. They’ll also need 2 GB of RAM. As for the 64-bit version users, they’ll need an Intel EM64T processor, AMD Athlon 64, AMD Opteron processor with SSE3 instructions set support, or if you’re using a Mac computer then a 64-bit processor with Core 2 Duo or later. 64-bit version users will also need 4 GB of RAM.
Both 32-bit and 64-bit version users will need at least 650 MB of free hard drive space, a hardware accelerated OpenGL graphics card, an Ethernet adapter or wireless Internet, a DVD-ROM drive, and a three button mouse or certified Wacom tablet.
Mudbox 2012 Features:
Mudbox’s current Autodesk version has come a long way since its original creation. Here are the features that Autodesk thinks are the most important:
- World class 3D sculpting toolset that’s fast, smooth, and brings accurate results.
- Paint directly onto high resolution 3D models to see your changes immediately.
- Paint multiple material channels and view textures across multiple high resolution maps.
- Texture baking with the ability to create normal, displacement, and ambient occlusion maps.
- Interactive display that has render quality scenes contained directly in the viewport.
- 3D layers that allow users to experiment with design concepts and easily make revisions.
- Seamless integration with the data from all Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suites 2012 software, as well as enhanced compatibility with Adobe Photoshop software.
- A community that offers access to a library of free design tools.
Editable stencils and multiple performance improvements are also worth mentioning. Another great feature in Mudbox is the ability to quickly and easily deform and pose your models. The full skeletal system even lets you create, manage, or weight multiple joints directly in Mudbox, or import the joints from Maya, 3ds Max, or Softimage. Thanks to Autodesk FBX the asset exchange doesn’t end there: there’s also seamless pipeline integration for mesh component IDs, UV texture coordinates, selection sets, cameras, image planes, blend shapes, and even Photoshop to an extent. The last cool feature that caught my eye was that Mudbox now has tablet-friendly gesture-based marking menus that allow you to use muscle memory without switching from pen to keyboard.