Entry 5/10/2016

3D Modelling Tools: MudBox

Mudbox is the first of the tools I’ll be using in an attempt to utilise the power of

3D texturing tools. I’ll cover the four points from my last blog “3D Texturing

-PBR workflow
-Ease of Use
-Professional Outlook
-Quality of results


First, I needed to find a texture that I wanted to replicate. Given that I’m

designing spaceships; an aircraft hangar floor surface, Figure 1.

(Hydra101. 2016)was the most suitable first stop in testing almost all of the

materials in the PBR workflow.


Figure 1: Aircraft Hangar Floor (Hydra101. 2016)

In Mudbox, to build normal maps, for example, your required to increase the

subdivision of the imported mesh. This could mean a 500 poly mesh could be

divided up to 7,000,000 polys, allowing you to sculpt, stamp, stencil and alter

the mesh itself at a higher level. Texturing at such a high level means that when

it comes to creating a normal map, you can map Level (Highest) onto your Level

1 (Original Mesh) Figure 2.(image). The results of this are so much greater than

2D tools, mainly the extra detail achieved but also the ability to rapidly create

such a map at such quality is a further benefit to any textured model. The

normal map I built for the surface, was more to create signs of use, so trying to

capture dirt build up, scratches and general wear on the cover were necessary.


Figure 2: Normal Map for Concrete Floor


Figure 3: Diffuse Map for Concrete Floor

The Diffuse texture comes from the utilisation of the projection tool; it allows

you to paint directly to the mesh itself and is relatively simple to export. Figure

3.(image) Due to the nature of the glossy hangar floor, I was trying to replicate,

Gloss and Specular levels were a mere white texture allowing the maximum

refraction of the light shown upon them.


The ability to pick up MudBox and instantly start painting, sculpting, stamping,

stencilling, was one of the big pluses to the tool Figure 3. (Timstrain. 2012), the

level of detail I was able to achieve for the time I put in was far greater than that

of the painstaking time spent doing the same amount in Photoshop.


Figure 3: Tree Sculpting (Timstrain. 2012)

It did come with certain disadvantages, though, some more bearable than

others. Mudbox requires quads! As it must ensure it can accurately subdivide

the mesh, tris can become a compounded problem as Mudbox will still attempt

to divide them, leaving uneven sub-divided tris. This will make it harder to

texture, with tris not sharing the same surface quality as perhaps a quad next to

it. Another problem I found was the likelihood that texture bleed was passing

across onto adjacent UVs Figure 4.(RageWorks. 2013), even though the

mirroring was turned off. For something like a coin, it became tough to

accurately paint at both a high and low level without some of the paint bleeding

onto the other side. I think in this regard Photoshop has greater control, though

I’ve found some evidence that this is something Zbrush deals with better than



Figure 4: Texture Bleeding (RageWorks. 2013)


I believe that the professional outlook portion of this blog is something I’ll

incorporate for both blogs because research doesn’t show a clear preferred

choice over the other. Web Articles from Justin Marshall (Justin Marshall.

2014) back this statement. If they were to be categorised, you might say

character development is for Zbrush and environmental assets for Mudbox. But

still they both share the same functionality, and there’s no reason why you

couldn’t use Mudbox for character texturing. I have, therefore, come to

the conclusion that Ease of use would be the deciding factor in choosing the 3D

texturing tool for my dissertation, this is something I’ll decide after I finish

experimenting in ZBrush.


The result of following the PBR workflow produced a pleasing result when

setup using a light rig in 3DS Max, here are some of my results. Figure 5 & 6.

(image) I played around with differencing colours outside of the plain white, but

as shown the light bounces off the wear in the normal map, making it much

more realistic.


Figure 5: Render 1, Glossy flooring


Figure 6: Render 2, Glossy flooring


Hydra101. (2016). [online] Available at: http://hydra101.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/HangarSlide1gtm.jpg [Accessed 4 Oct. 2016].

Marshall, J. (2014). ZBrush or Mudbox: Sculpting Showdown. [online] Available at: http://blog.digitaltutors.com/zbrush-mudbox-sculpting-showdown/ [Accessed 4 Oct. 2016].

RageWorks. (2013). [online] Available at: https://therageworks.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/uv_example.jpg [Accessed 4 Oct. 2016].

Timstrain. (2012). [online] Available at: https://timstrain.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/mudbox_stump.jpg [Accessed 4 Oct. 2016].