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The Foundry Introduces MARI 3

With MARI 3, 3D paint artists can iterate faster, manage complexity better and produce higher quality results.

LOS ANGELES, CA -- At SIGGRAPH 2015, The Foundry will demonstrate MARI 3, the newest version of its industry leading 3D paint package. Ideal for texturing and look development artists in the VFX, animation and games industries, MARI 3 combines productivity enhancing features with broader and tighter pipeline integration. This includes an exposed node graph for advanced users and integration with the rendering and baking capabilities of MODO, The Foundry’s 3D content creation solution.

“Fitting into the pipeline or creative lifecycle in which an artist works is just as important as enabling artists to create beautiful 3D painted and textured content,” said Jack Greasley, head of new technologies at The Foundry. “Therefore, MARI 3 continues The Foundry’s commitment to addressing not only what artists need to do but how and where they do it. This includes seamless integration with third parties, open APIs, and support for industry standards.”

MARI 3 brings support for widely used shaders such as Unreal, as well as for OpenSubdiv geometry. Within the games market, more AAA and indie game developers have adopted MARI to create the cinematic quality characters and experiences required in today’s most successful games.

“Introducing MARI into our game pipeline on The Order: 1886 helped eliminate traditional 2D texture pipeline frustrations, allowing our team to focus their energies on meticulously crafting a rich cast of characters, creatures, weapons, and props for our world,” said Nathan Phail-Liff, art director, Ready At Dawn Studios. “On top of MARI’s great 3D and projection painting feature set, it also helped us out on unexpected fronts, making the authoring of technically complicated textures simple, seamless and intuitive.”

For visual effects artists, MARI 3 delivers creative tools that provide the performance, power and quality that the creation of today’s high resolution assets require. Prior to MARI, 3D paint solutions could only handle a small handful of textures at one time. Now, with MARI, artists can create and edit thousands of high resolution textures, freeing them to concentrate on their art rather than technical details. As film and television audiences demand more spectacular visual effects, MARI lets artists push their artistic imagination.

“I’ve used MARI for almost five years now and really don't know where I would be without it. It has been the cornerstone for all of my texture work both personally and professionally,” said Justin Holt, texture paint lead, Sony Pictures Imageworks. “MARI is a world-class tool for any serious texture painter and I highly recommend to anybody who wants to succeed in the world of textures to pick this tool up now because it will quickly become one of the only tools you will ever need. I have spent time exploring MARI 3 and I simply cannot wait for the official release in order to take advantage of all of the wonderful new tools it will offer.”

New features in MARI 3 include:

  • MODO rendering and baking : MODO’s rendering technology is now integrated directly within MARI. working out of the box without the need for a MODO license. Artists can now easily check the final render quality of their work as they paint, or use MODO’s powerful baking engine to bake textures directly from within the MARI UI, reducing time spent transferring data between various applications. MARI’s new developer APIs further extend the ability to achieve similar functionality with other offline renderers.
  • Exposed node graph and Gizmos: In addition to the traditional layer system, MARI 3 introduces the first phase of the exposure of its node graph, which allows advanced users to create and edit channels and layers in a more powerful, efficient and visual manner. Artists can chose to work directly in the node graph, selecting and connecting nodes to build their final textured surface. In addition, artists can reduce complexity by combining frequently used functions into custom group nodes known at Gizmos. Artists can export Gizmos for use in other projects, or shared with others.
  • OpenSubdiv support: New support in MARI for the widely used OpenSubdiv geometry lets artists work with subdivision surface (SDS) meshes, without the need to translate or pre-subdivide them. Subdivision surfaces combined with accurate UV layouts lets artists view and work with a better representation of the final rendered smooth surface, while making sure final textures match up.
  • Color space management: MARI 3 delivers new flexible, artist friendly color management workflows, based on OpenColorIO. Color space properties, available on both images and on individual channels of multichannel images, eliminate the need to preprocess or postprocess images into the correct color space. Artists can also set color space defaults a perproject basis. These features save time and reduce the potential for errors.
  • Arnold, V-Ray, Unreal and Redshift shaders : MARI 3 introduces new shaders designed to simulate those used in industry standard rendering and games engines—Arnold, V-Ray, Unreal and Redshift. Now, artists can paint textures in their intended final context, providing more realistic previews.
  • FBX geometry support: By providing support for reading geometry from FBX files, MARI 3 allows artists to work in conjunction with a vast range of third party and proprietary 3D solutions and source material providers. As the leading 3D asset exchange technology, FBX enjoys widespread adoption across the VFX and games industries.
  • Session scripts: The highly requested Session Scripts in MARI 3 allows artists to create a lightweight archive of a project, and combine with other archives. Artists now have the ability to merge projects, see assets in context with other assets, share useful data for reuse, or set up project templates.
  • Developer APIs: MARI 3 delivers four new APIs: the Texture Data Access API, Geometry Data Access API, Display Driver API and Custom Graph Context API. Together, these help studios integrate MARI with their rendering pipeline, reducing the need to transfer files between applications and resulting in faster iterations and a more accurate understanding of the final context during the texture painting process.
  • Enhanced texture transfer: In MARI 3, enhancements to Texture Transfer deliver more flexibility, allowing artists to generate height and normal maps between high and low polygon models, seamlessly blur across patch boundaries, and correctly transfer overlapping UVs.
  • Entity locators: Entity Locators within MARI 3 offer a 3D manipulator that improves visual accuracy when transforming geometry inside MARI's viewport. This allows artist to translate, rotate and scale geometry more easily.
  • Safe mode: A new Safe mode in MARI 3 offers easier troubleshooting by isolating the user's involvement and environment issues during debugging. This helps artists identify and isolate critical points faster when resolving scene issues.
  • Extended access to selection groups: Developers and TDs can now manipulate various selection groups through the Python API, allowing them to automate related functionality within their pipeline. In addition, artists can now access selection groups directly in the viewport, offering a more intuitive interface than the previous menu only method.

MARI 3 will be commercially available in Q3 2015. For more information on MARI 3, please click here.

Source: The Foundry

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.