Autodesk Mudbox 2011 review
Price: £475 plus VAT
Pros: Improved 3D painting; 2D painting; new posing tools.
Cons: No UV editing tools; posing tools take some getting used to.
In Mudbox 2011 the 3D paint system gains new tools, an enhanced colour chooser, paint layer blending modes, incandescence texture, improved Photoshop interpretability and 2D painting.
The additions to the paint tools are image and colour adjustment tools. Blur, Dodge, Burn, Contrast and Sponge easily manage properties like brightness, saturation and contrast, while Hue, Hue Shift and Invert adjust colour properties.
Mudbox’s paint layers now feature four new blending modes – Multiply, Add, Screen and Overlay. Blending modes control how paint layers interact and are ultimately composited. A new incandescence texture specifies colour brightness, independent of lighting.
Interoperability with Photoshop has been enhanced, with the ability to export and import paint layers as Photoshop layers.
Previous versions of Mudbox permitted 3D painting but there was no way to paint in 2D. Mudbox 2011 offers a new Flatten to UV Space command, which unfolds the model to 2D space using its UV co-ordinates. The paint tools may then be applied on the flattened version.
Mudbox 2011 also offers improved sculpting performance with management enhancements for scenes with multiple objects. The sculpting workflow is improved with the ability to mirror and flip sculpted detail via Sculpt layer options.
However, there is still some room for improvement. Mudbox’s materials don’t support transparency, a feature common in most 3D applications, nor does it have true UV editing tools.