Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 Posted by Jim Thacker

Video: Check out the new features in Mudbox 2012

Mudbox is to gain full support for Disney's Ptex UV-less texture format in its 2012 release.

Mudbox is to gain support for Disney’s Ptex UV-less texturing system, large production data sets and non-destructive character posing in the next release, Autodesk announced today.

Mudbox 2012 will be able to export painted textures as Ptex files or bake them as conventional UV maps, making it – as far as we’re aware, and we’re sure someone will post in the comments if we’re wrong – the first full implementation of Ptex in a commercial 3D package.

The release also includes a number of other new features that bring it into line with other packages currently on the market, including Mari-style support for large production assets; layer masks and editable stencils; and ZBrush-style character posing.

The new tools enable artists to adjust the pose of a character sculpt by setting up and editing joint hierarchies. The process is non-destructive, and any detail added to a sculpt can be carried over from one pose to the next.

Preview: Overview of the new features

We don’t have pricing details or shipping dates yet, but based on the release dates for the new versions of 3ds Max, Maya and Softimage, we’d guess that the latter will be some time in April.

Update: the price has been confirmed at $745, so no change from Mudbox 2011.

Autodesk® Mudbox™ 2012 software delivers significant enhancements to the painting toolset. It also offers innovative new UV and topology-independent workflows, practical posing tools; and improved performance and large dataset handling. Now also available for the Linux® operating system, Mudbox 2012 offers single-step interoperability with products in the Autodesk® Entertainment Creation Suites 2012.

UV-Less Painting
Enjoy the freedom of not having to create UVs before you paint! Texture artists can now eliminate or reduce the time-consuming and often difficult task of creating UVs; even complex assets comprised of multiple meshes can simply be loaded, and painted right away. The resulting high-quality textures can be exported as Ptex files for an entirely UV-less process, or, for a pipeline requiring UVs, baked into UV space once UVs have been created, and exported as image files.

Large Texture Datasets
Now it’s possible to paint and manage large texture datasets, in order to create the very detailed, high-quality assets required by today’s demanding productions. Thanks to a new texture and tile management system, artists can display and paint hero assets with hundreds of texture maps consisting of billions of texels.

Paint Layer Masks and Blend Modes
Combine and edit paint in powerful nondestructive ways, with new paintable layer masks for paint layers that enable artists to selectively reveal or hide portions of layers. Furthermore, 22 new layer blend modes help extend artistic possibilities and offer significantly enhanced compatibility with Adobe® Photoshop® software.

Editable Stencils
Easily make use of available images to rub or project detail onto models, with the new ability to deform stencils to help align their texture data to underlying model features. In addition, artists can take advantage of the full painting toolset to modify existing stencil images or paint new stencils, while a new option enables tileable stencils to be painted with ease.

Single-Step Suites Interoperability
Work more efficiently with other products in the Autodesk® Entertainment Creation Suites 2012, with the new ability to round-trip data with Maya 2012, Autodesk® 3ds Max® 2012, and Autodesk® Softimage® 2012 software.

Performance Improvements
A number of performance improvements in Mudbox 2012 help artists to paint and sculpt at higher resolutions more smoothly; save scenes with texture data in less time; create, select, and duplicate paint layers more interactively; and load dense OBJ meshes more quickly.

New Brushes and Brush Options
Mudbox 2012 offers a more robust painting and sculpting toolset: the new ability to apply a single brushstroke across multiple objects; new grab tool options that offer enhanced control over shaping a model’s silhouette; and lasso and rectangle marquee modes for selection, freeze, and weights tools.

Multiple Joints
Create, manage, and weight multiple joints to quickly and easily deform and pose full-figure models. Artists can now create symmetrical pairs of joints, while joint hierarchies can be created automatically based on influenced vertices.

Pose Presets
Work with multiple poses nondestructively, with the new ability to store joint transforms as presets. Artists can sculpt at different poses and have these sculptural changes carry across from one pose to the next, deforming correctly in the space of each pose – great for accessing difficult areas for painting or sculpting, or for testing designs in different positions.