Mudbox / 3ds max workflow


Mar 22, 2012
Can anybody list the steps necessary to convert a mudbox sculpture back into 3ds max in order to retain the mudbox paint layers and textures for the final render phase?

Heres what Ive done:

1. the low poly model was created in 3ds max.
2. applied uvw unwrap modifier / set material ids, seams, uvs, etc.
3. exported mesh to mudbox for sculpting. using 'file --> send to mudbox'
4. sculpted and painted the mesh in mudbox (7 subdivisions)

Now I am attempting to send the file back into 3ds max. I've tried using the 'file --> send to 3ds max' command in mudbox at the level 7 subdivision, and it took a really long time to load, / it also made 3ds max viewports lag really really badly. I then attempted to lower my subdivision and send to max at the base level. This sped things up a lot, however the model, upon arriving in 3ds max, did not retain any of the textures / paint layers that I created in mudbox. I would like to know how to export from Mudbox into Max and retain the textures and painting.

Can anybody tell me what I'm doing wrong, and how to resolve my issue?



May 7, 2012
I'm just getting into/doing this sort of thing myself so I'm hardly qualified to answer, but I'll do my best.
first off, what versions of the 2 autodesk softwares are you using ?
Second and this is just a general suggestion, when I've moved models successfully between mudbox and 3dsmax, I've had a better go of it by exporting as an obj and selecting the mudbox preset than going through autodesk's fbx format.

What sort of poly counts do you have at your highest/mid/lowest levels ?
Another issue is that mudbox handles high poly count far better in the preview/working window than 3ds max does, so I've at times had to go to single viewport wireframe display in 3ds max to not have my system choke up on the return from mudbox.
Did you paint your textures in ptex ?

Oh oh, here's the biggest thing as I understand it, again not an expert, what you need to do is render your highest subDiv level in mudbox down to a displacement map for a more reasonable poly count subDiv level that you then export and place on your 3dsmax file.

Not trying to sound snotty, so please forgive me, but a big part of the point of 3dsmax -> mudbox -> 3dsmax workflow is to take that amazing sculpt/paint you do in mudbox and render it down into maps that bake in all of that detail that is just too high a poly count to use effectively in 3ds max (and most other things).

try rendering out the high subdiv displacement map and manually place that on a lower subdiv count model in 3ds max. Same thing with your textures.
Are you doing a static image render or an animation ?

ah, silly me. I didn't look at your post date. I expect you've already figured this out. Ah well.