Foundry Mari 4.0 Updates Exports and Workflows for Texture Artists

Foundry Mari4.0 Workflows

New workflows in Mari.

Foundry Mari 4.0 is digital 3D painting and texturing software. According to Foundry's developers, the updates in version 4.0 make exporting more flexible and configurable, simplify navigation and make the whole package easier to use and faster to learn. Changes to Mari's workflows increase responsiveness and precision.

The new Export Manager in Mari 4.0 configures batch exports of Channels and Bake Point Nodes. Artists can create and manage multiple export targets from the same source, and perform format conversions during export. This allows greater control and flexibility when passing Mari's texture maps down the pipeline.

Foundry Mari4.0 Export

New export manager.

A new startup mechanism automatically performs steps that users previously had to complete manually. Shaders are built automatically, with channels connected to them as defined by the channel presets in the startup dialogue. Also, the user can now choose between initial lighting and shading setups.

A number of changes have been made to make it easier to navigate through Mari's tools. A new Palettes Toolbar containing all of Mari’s palettes improves access and visibility to everything Mari can do. For example, hitting the spacebar while your mouse is hovered over it will expand a Palette to fullscreen. Tools of a similar function have been grouped under a single button in the Tools toolbar, taking up less space and allowing the user to focus on the Canvas. Various Palettes have been merged together, removing duplication and simplifying the UI.

Foundry Mari4.0 Navigation

Access and visibility to Mari's tools.

The Colours Palette is scalable for better precision, and the component sliders have been improved to show the resulting colour at each point along the control. Users can now fine tune their procedural operations with precise keyboard stepping functionality added to Mari's numeric controls. The HUD has been redesigned so it no longer draws over the paint subject, so that the users can see what they are doing and work more effectively.

The Basic Node Graph mode has been removed, and Advanced is now the default - for those learning Mari, the Non-Commercial version now has full Node Graph access.

Foundry Mari4.0 UI

UI improvements.

The workflow updates in Mari 4.0 include a drag-and-drop fill mechanism that artists can use to fill paint across selections in a more intuitive manner, taking less time and potentially increasing efficiency. The Brush Editor has been merged into the Tool Properties Palette, and clearly displays the brush in use. A new Palette is added for browsing and loading sets of texture files into Mari. The Layers Palette is now more intuitive when working with Group layers, allowing users to organise the layers as required in fewer steps.

A new shader in Mari called the Principled BRDF previews and works with the channels that match their final 3D program/shader. This shader is based on the 2012 paper from Brent Burley of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Foundry Mari4.0 Core

Mari's Core is upgraded to OpenSubdiv 3.1.x.

Now that Mari is upgraded to OpenSubdiv 3.1.x and its functions are part of the UI, users are able to better match the behaviour of mesh subdivision as supplied in software renderers. Mari's user preference files are now saved with the application version embedded in the file names, which means that artists can work between different versions of Mari without risk of corrupting their UI or preferences. Many preferences have had their groups, labels and tooltips modified to make them easier to understand. All third party libraries have been upgraded to match those specified by the VFX Reference Platform 2017.  

Mari is currently used by studios around the world, including Animal Logic, Framestore, ILM, LAIKA, Weta Digital and others. Version 4.0 is available for purchase on Foundry’s website and via resellers.