Autodesk Mudbox – Intro / First Attempt

Alongside learning Pixologic’s Zbrush, I am also learning an alternative sculpting software, Autodesk Mudbox.  In honesty, I more want to learn Zbrush as this seems to be heavily used across the industry, and seems to be the software of choice of numerous high-end companies.  However, Mudbox is the only sculpting software available within college which will allow me to compare and contrast between to the two.  That being said, I am not turning my nose up at Autodesk Mudbox, as it is still considered an industry standard piece of software by a well known developer.

The first thing I liked about Mudbox is that it allowed me to select the navigation controls upon opening.  It allows you to match the controls to 3DS Max,  which is software I am highly familiar with.  This meant that maneuvering through Mudbox became very easy and intuitive for me.


As this was my first time with Mudbox, all I wanted to do was to get sculpting and learn by doing.  Starting with a sphere, I began use Mudbox’s numerous default brushes and tools to see what I could come up with.  In this case, I came up with an angular and stylised nose which ended up quite interesting (displayed at the top of the page).

Without any feature similar to Zbrush’s dynamesh feature, which allows you to sculpt freely and add extra topology / polygons automatically on the fly, I found it a slower process to try and build the “clay” out into the forms I desired.  Once I had ran out of topology, I would have to manually subdivide the mesh and begin sculpting again.  However,  this didn’t always work as I would still require extra topology in certain areas where polygons had become stretched.  This meant I would have to use the “re-topologise” tool to redistribute edge-loops evenly across the mesh, then begin sculpting again, repeating the process till I was happy with the shape.  This was more time consuming than I would like.

I really like that Mudbox has a “render to turntable” under the default option, allowing me to render a video file which displays a 360 view of any model created.  I used this to produce the gif file displayed at the top of the page.

Overall, I still prefer Zbrush, although I find Mudbox’s interface a lot more intuitive and user friendly.  I feel you would get a lot more out of Mudbox if you had a base model to begin with, sculpting in secondary details and don’t intend to add great amounts of geometry.  I found it a lot easier in Zbrush to sculpt quickly from a basic sphere down to its dynamesh feature.  I feel Mudbox could  invest in developing a similar system to help improve its existing features.

Lastly, I am still learning and discovering tools and features from both software packages, meaning my views and opinions may change when my knowledge develops.  I hope to learn more in the near future.


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