Autodesk ‘to reinvest’ in Mudbox development
Autodesk has “decided to reinvest” in Mudbox, its digital sculpting and retopology software, following several years of minimal product updates.
The announcement was made on the company’s AREA forum by senior product manager Jill Ramsay, in a thread discussing the release of last week’s Mudbox 2018.1 update.
A decline into silence
Although development was brisk in the period following Autodesk’s acquisition of Mudbox from original developer Skymatter in 2007, in recent years, the pace of development has slowed considerably.
Whereas Autodesk previously promoted Mudbox updates alongside those for 3ds Max and Maya, posts ceased on the official Mudbox blog shortly after the release of Mudbox 2015.
With Mudbox 2016 and Mudbox 2017 adding few new features, and Autodesk starting to integrate Mudbox functionality into Maya and Maya LT, users began to speculate that the software was due to be retired.
Mudbox 2018.1: the resumption of active product development?
While the Mudbox 2018.1 update doesn’t actually add new features, it does at least suggest that Mudbox’s demise is not imminent.
According to senior product manager Jill Ramsay, who rejoined Autodesk earlier this year, the release “fixed over 75 major bugs, including some that go back to Mudbox v1, like not being able to undo subdvision”.
Ramsay also comments that Autodesk has “just begun a new round of development on Mudbox”, and is “already working on a feature update”.
Autodesk ‘getting back on track’ with Mudbox
“I know things have been slow for the last couple of years (to put it mildly), and I understand your frustration, but we are getting back on track,” Ramsay writes in her forum post.
“We added a lot of functionality to Maya from Mudbox, but Mudbox remains a very viable standalone option, and we decided to reinvest in it starting this summer.
“The fact that we [chose] to address stability and quality first [indicates] that we are serious about keeping Mudbox viable. It would have been easier to spend the time we spent on bug fixing adding a couple of features, but in the long run, the team decided it wasn’t the right order to do things in.”
Pricing and availability
Mudbox 2018.1 is available for Windows 7+, RHEL and CentOS 6.5 and 7.2 Linux, and Mac OS X 10.11+. Like all of Autodesk’s software, it is available rental-only, with subscriptions starting at $10/month.