SIGGRAPH 2015 announcements: The Foundry reveal MARI 3.0

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Lots of great announcements coming from SIGGRAPH this year and The Foundry are up there with the best of them. MARI 3.0 has been announced which will deliver greater potential for pipeline integration and productivity-enhancing workflows that support 3D paint artists to iterate faster, manage complex jobs better and ultimately produce the best possible results.

SIGGRAPH 2015 announcements: The Foundry reveal MARI 3.0

Originally developed as an efficient and highly customisable 3D paint tool that lets you paint directly onto 3D models, this latest version will have fully integrated MODO rendering and baking. There’s also APIs for developers to integrate their renderer of choice. Plus support for industry-standard geometry formats like FBX and OpenSubdiv, and shaders like Arnold, V-Ray, Unreal and Redshift.

MARI is already a very popular tool amongst VFX production artists (texture artists, shader TD’s, digital matte painters, look dev) working in short form, TV and film production. It’s also fast becoming a favourite amongst creative artists working in game studios painting or texturing characters, environments, equipment, props, buildings, etc.

New Features

So as The Foundry team strive to improve integration and productivity for MARI users, here are some of the very cool new features they are introducing in MARI 3.0:

Exposed Node Graph and Gizmos

Work directly in the node graph, selecting and connection nodes to build your final textured surface. Combine frequently used functions into custom group nodes and export these Gizmos for use in other projects.

MODO rendering and baking

Access MODO’s renderer directly within MARI to check the final-render quality, use MODO’s powerful baking engine to bake textures from within the MARI UI and create baking presets in MODO for use in MARI.

Colour space management

Colour space properties are now available on images and channels, so now you can get full colour space support throughout MARI’s pipeline. This lets you easily manage colour and no longer have to pre and post process image data.

Rendering integration APIs

Introducing four new APIs that help studios integrate MARI with their rendering pipeline: Texturing Access API, Geometry Access API, Display Driver API and Custom Graph Context API. Collectively offering faster iteration and more accurate understanding of the final render during the texture painting process.

OpenSubdiv support

Something MARI users have been requesting for a long time and a particularly great addition for game artists - this new feature lets you see the smooth surface similar to what you will see in the final offline redender. Paint textures for more accurate UV layouts without the need for pre-subdividing geometry.

Arnold, V-Ray, Unreal and Redshift shaders

The introduction of these shaders allows users to paint textures underneath more realistic industry-standard shaders and get more realistic previews. These are in addition to the native shaders already available in MARI - allowing you to see a more realistic output in the viewport before you export.

Session Scripts

Session scripts let you create a lightweight archive of a project to easily merge projects, share useful data for reuse or set up project templates.

Enhanced texture transfer

Lets you use generated point cloud data to transfer textures, without the need for matching topology or UVs. Simply take export the data and project back out onto a new mesh. A great tool when last minute change requests come in or you’re given new geometry to work with.

Entity locators

Translate, rotate and scale geometry more easily and quickly - the 3D manipulator improves visual accuracy when transforming geometry.

FBX geometry support

Now there’s additional support for reading geometry from FBX files. View a tree hierarchy structure of the contents of your FBX file and choose to import either the entire hierarchy or selected child nodes. An advantage when moving between MODO and MARI.

Extended access to selection groups

Another function that lots of users asked for, this new feature is useful when dealing with complex groups. Access selection groups through the Python API to manipulate various parts of a geometry through scripting.

Safe mode

Very similar to what already exists in NUKE but perhaps a more advanced version - safe mode helps with debugging customer reports - by isolating user’s involvement and environment issues.

You’ll be glad to know there will be no change in price for this new release. And if you’ve just purchased MARI 2.6 in their recent 48hrs flash sale - fret not. Maintenance is included in your new licence so you’ll upgrade to MARI 3.0 for free when it comes out.