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Autodesk Finalizes Acquisition of Skymatter

 Autodesk Finalizes Acquisition of Skymatter, Makers of Mudbox 3D Modeling Software

Autodesk has completed the acquisition of substantially all the assets of Skymatter Limited, the developer of Mudbox 3D modeling software. On August 6, 2007, Autodesk announced an agreement to purchase Skymatter’s assets. This acquisition expands Autodesk’s offering for the film, television and game market segments, while providing additional growth opportunities for other design disciplines, such as 3D automotive and industrial design. 

The acquisition expands Autodesk's offering for the film, television, and game market segments, while providing additional growth opportunities for other design disciplines, such as 3D automotive and industrial design.

Mudbox has shaped photorealistic creatures for King Kong, as well as upcoming films The Golden Compass, Fred Claus, and Inkheart. "Mudbox is complementary to the Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya software products, providing our customers with an additional suite of tools for modeling, prototyping and detailing," says Marc Petit, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. "When Mudbox launched two years ago, it became an overnight success in the media and entertainment industry. It has a powerful brush-based modeling workflow and is renowned for its robust toolset and user-friendliness, making digital sculpting easy for both traditional sculptors and digital artists. As part of the Autodesk product line, we plan to accelerate the pace of Mudbox innovation."

Skymatter founders Andrew Camenisch, Dave Cardwell, and Tibor Madjar have joined Autodesk's Media & Entertainment business.

Autodesk® Mudbox™ software is an advanced, high-resolution, brush-based 3D modeling application built on a powerful sculpting paradigm. This production-tested software has been designed from the ground up to address the needs of professional modelers working in the film, game development, design, and visualization industries.

Feature Highlights

Mudbox 1.0 has already had a significant impact on the entertainment and design-visualization industries. Its innovative features include:

Sculpting Paradigm:
Using fast, high-quality brushes, artists can sculpt their 3D geometry quickly and precisely. Brush tips can be accurately shaped with falloff curves and stamps.

3D Layers:
Mudbox delivers the 3D equivalent image-editing style layering so that modelers can work with multiple layers across various levels of detail. This enables them to store detail passes, libraries of morph targets, and more -- and then blend them with interactive multiplier sliders and layer masks.

Friendly, Efficient UI and Workflows: Mudbox was designed for both traditional and digital artists. This drastically reduces the time it takes to become productive on the software.

Innovative streaming technology lets modelers work quickly and efficiently with even the largest, most face-intensive 3D models and scenes.

Multi-resolution Editing:
Multi-resolution, hierarchical subdivision (sub-d) technology lets artists subdivide, when they want, where they want (through local subdivision), and to what degree they want -- the latter through a unique level streaming technology that increases the number of polygons up to which a mesh can be subdivided.

Texture Baking:
The software’s texture baking capabilities solve one of the most common bottlenecks in game and film production pipelines: baking of normal and displacement maps. Using Mudbox, artists can bake high-quality normal and displacement maps between multiple arbitrary meshes. Detail can be baked in 8, 16, and 32-bit maps.

3D Layers:

The efficient Mudbox layer workflow allows the modeler to store different detail passes, libraries of morph targets and more on multiple layers. Interactive multiplier sliders and layer masks are available for precision blending.

Selective Symmetry :
Artists can mirror or flip the detail stored in one or more layers.

Masking :
Mudbox delivers paintable masks for non-destructive editing.

Layer Management :
An intelligent, familiar UI allows artists to quickly duplicate, merge, flatten, group, and re-order layers.

Advanced Sculpting :

High-quality brushes, stencils, and curves let artists quickly “sculpt” their 3D geometry into the model they envision.

3D Brushing :
Using the fast, intuitive Mudbox brush tools, artists can sculpt in 3D on even the densest models. Intelligently designed, default brushes can be quickly tailored for custom brush behavior and performance. Base brush types include a scratch brush that lets modelers sculpt cleanly at any speed and a Flatten brush, which enables them to quickly create planes and erase detail -- invaluable for those working on hard surface models.

Brush Tip Control and Precision :
Artists can accurately shape their brush tips with falloff curves and stamps. A sharp falloff curve will cut an accurate, sharp stroke into the geometry -- with no soft stroke profiles.

3D Brush Stamps :
Mudbox enables artists to use image stamps to quickly brush -- in 3D -- a detailed texture directly into their mesh.

Asymmetrical Mirroring :
The powerful, new, tangent space symmetry functionality lets modelers sculpt symmetrically on asymmetrical models, providing an enormous productivity boost for those who work on posed or asymmetrical models.

Stencils :
Artists can quickly position stencil images over their model and then rub the detail into the mesh.

Curves :
By acting as railings for brush strokes, curves give users precise control over their sculpting.

Multi-Resolution Mesh Editing :

Advanced subdivision technology gives artists the ultimate in polygon mesh control.

Level Streaming Technology :
Unique level streaming technology lets artists increase the number of polygons up to which a mesh can be subdivided.

Integrated Local Subdivision :
Fully integrated, local subdivision capabilities vastly increase the efficiency and interactivity of the sub-d workflow. Artists select an area of their model, subdivide it, and can then step up and down between sub-d levels as needed -- completely independent of the rest of the mesh.

Texture Baking :The Mudbox texture baking capabilities solve one of the most common bottlenecks in production pipelines: baking of normal and displacement maps.

Baking between Multiple Arbitrary Meshes :
Mudbox enables artists to bake high-quality normal and displacement maps between multiple arbitrary meshes. Detail can be baked into 8, 16, and 32-bit maps.

Sub-d to Sub-d Extraction :
The Subdivision Texture Baking option addresses poly faceting by using the limit surfaces of the given meshes to generate smooth high-quality maps.

Mesh Displacement :
Meshes can be displaced with multiple floating point maps.


Multiple Texture Display :
Modelers can apply one or more image maps to any object, independent of the other objects in the scene.

Smooth Normal Shading Mode :
This feature offers artists a display more representative of the limit surface, enabling artists to work with coarser meshes without experiencing faceting issues - which can be a tremendous productivity boost.

Draft Render Mode :
A new draft render mode dramatically increases interactive performance for those navigating scenes with dense meshes.

Speed Review Mode :
The new speed review mode gives users high-quality display with incredible performance.

General and Miscellaneous

Overall Performance :
The software’s innovative polygon streaming technology lets users fully exploit their system’s processing power. Mudbox is renowned for its ability to nimbly import and handle the most face-intensive scenes.

UI and Workflow :
Tools are organized in a familiar, intuitive manner, making Mudbox exceptionally easy to use and learn. For example, conventional camera controls maximize user workspace and reduce “back and forth” workflows that interrupt the creative process. The new, Hover Pick functionality, when combined with operation hotkeys, gives artists a fast, simple workflow for working with one or more objects. Asymmetrical modeling streamlines the process of working on posed or asymmetrical models.

Full Triangle and N-gon Support :
Mudbox lets artists import, sculpt and bake meshes with tri, quad, and n-sided faces while preserving mesh structure and vertex IDs.

Full 3D Cameras :
Mudbox gives artists multiple 3D cameras per scene; plus, it supports importing/exporting of existing cameras between scenes. Cameras can be locked and transforms controlled precisely via numerical input. Because the Mudbox camera is fully 3D, artists can travel inside and through their meshes. They are then free to sculpt, regardless of direction or distance.

Support for Multiple Objects :
Modelers can create or import multiple meshes, cameras, lights, and materials in one scene and manage them by hiding, showing, selecting, locking, subdividing, etc., each separately.

Built-in Image Browser :
A built-in image browser -- with full support for 16 and 32-bit images -- allows users to view reference images and quickly assign them to stamps, stencils, and camera image planes.

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