The Foundry's Mari 3 is Here!

Staff Writer By: Ricky Grove (gToon)

MARI 3 delivers new avenues for pipeline integration and productivity-enhancing workflows that help 3D paint artists iterate faster, manage complexity better and produce higher quality results.

With fully integrated MODO rendering and baking--and APIs for developers to integrate their renderer of choice--plus an exposed node graph, and support for industry-standard geometry formats and shaders, MARI 3 is the perfect fit for the most challenging VFX, animation or games production

The Foundry's ground-breaking paint and texture tool MARI helps take the hard grind out of 3D painting, with a unique layer-based approach that lets you paint directly onto 3D models, faster and more flexibly than ever before. Originally created to handle the ambitious look development and texture requirements on 'Avatar', MARI gives artists the freedom to create with limitless boundaries.

MARI 3 Overview from The Foundry on Vimeo.

New Features of Mari 3

Node Graph
• Mari's under-the-hood Node Graph is accessible through the Node Graph palette, allowing you to control the
layering system more accurately. Nodes are created and manipulated automatically as you interact with the layersystem, but you can manipulate individual nodes in the Node Properties palette to achieve the required result.
• Mari's Node Graph has two modes, Basic and Advanced, exposing different levels of detail within the palette.
Basic mode, the default mode, only allows you to work with Graph layers from the Layers palette. Advanced
mode exposes the entire project in the Node Graph palette, including all layers, channels, and shaders.
NOTE: You can enable the Advanced Node Graph in the Preferences dialog under Node Graph > General > Advanced View.

Gizmos and Publishing
• Group nodes can be saved as .gizmo files, allowing you to save layers from the Node Graph and share them in a collaborative workflow. The property view of a .gizmo allows you to select which parameters of the member nodes to expose in the exported gizmo.
Gizmos can be loaded back into Mari by:
• registering the .gizmo in the Python API,
• registering the .gizmo in a node catalog file, or
• copying the .gizmo into the ~/Mari/Gizmos directory, which is searched automatically by Mari at startup.

Baking Using Modo
• Mari can now round-trip texture bakes to Modo, allowing you to modify parameters and to see the preview update. You can add new bake recipes easily by creating .lxo files.

Modo Render Integration
• Mari now includes a Modo Render script that walks Mari's Node Graph and sends the shading information to
Modo. Modo then renders the scene using its offline renderer.
The Modo Render script also contains examples of how to integrate Mari and an offline renderer.
• Mari uses the following environment variables for loading Bake and Render recipes: MARI_MODO_BAKE_PRESETS and MARI_MODO_RENDER_PRESETS.

Per Channel Color Management
• Colorspace properties are now available on a per-image and per-channel basis through the third-party OpenColorIO
library. You can also specify a project default, similar to Nuke's OpenColorIO config setting.

Open Subdivision Support
• Mari now supports geometry subdivision, providing the following benefits:
• Observable smooth surfaces similar to the final offline renderer's subdivision,
• UV layouts can be modified by subdivision, allowing you to view more accurate UV layouts, and
• No need to pre-subdivide geometry.
• The Subdivision dialog includes the option to calculate subdivision in the foreground, by clicking OK, or
background by clicking In Background.
• OK - a progress bar displays as Mari calculates the subdivision. Once complete, the level of subdivision
specified is applied to the object immediately. An error dialog displays if subdivision fails when run in the
• In Background - the subdivision calculation is submitted to a background process and no progress bar is
displayed. The subdivision Level must be applied manually in the Objects palette when the "running man"
icon disappears from the Status Bar.

Arnold, V-Ray, Unreal, and Redshift Shaders
• Mari now includes Arnold, V-Ray, Unreal, and Redshift shaders, allowing you to paint textures underneath more realistic industry-standard shaders, improving the pre-visualization of their textures.

Session Scripts
• Session Scripts allow you to create a light weight archive of Mari projects to merge the data into other projects. Session Scripts can be used to see assets in context with each other or to share data, such as images, channels, and shaders. The data can also be used as a template system for setting up projects with default channels, shaders, and so on.

Texture Transfer Through PartIO
• Mari now allows you to generate height and normal maps between high- and low-polygon models, including
seamless blurring across patch boundaries and overlapping UVs by texture transfer.

Entity Locators
• Mari's Move tool now displays axes and the direction of movement, and allows you to rotate and scale geometry.

FBX Geometry Support
• Mari now supports importing geometry from .fbx files, including the selection of specific child geometry from the file using the tree widget.

Selection Groups
• You can now manipulate selection groups using the Python API, allowing you to automate selection group-related functionality in your pipeline.
• BUG ID 42287 - A new smart selection type, called Selection Group, has been added to allow you to cycle through the various selection groups to which a selected face belongs.

Python Upgrade
• Mari now ships with Python 2.7.3, in line with other leading industry products.

Safe Mode
• Mari now includes -safe and -safer startup modes, similar to Nuke's, with different logging levels, which can help diagnose problems when running Mari.
• BUG ID 47144 - The Selection Mask layer/node type has been added to the Procedural > Geometry layer
menu. This layer/node outputs the current selection as 1.

Feature Enhancements
• You can now fill patches with Face selection enabled, as you would with objects or patches. Simply select the faces you want to fill, and select Patches > Fill from either the menubar or right-click menu.
• You can now create a Pass Through blend mode for Group layers that work similarly to the Pass Through blend mode in Photoshop. In the Layers palette, with the Group layer selected, click on the Pass Through icon.
• BUG ID 43764 - Object metadata is now written into new versions of loaded .abc or .fbx geometry, so that the metadata can be read later on and the scene recreated using Session Scripts.

• BUG ID 46073 - Support has been added for passing compression options for the Python API to the OpenEXR file writer.
• BUG ID 50082 - The Data > Cache category has been renamed to Data > Project in the Mari Preferences.

Officially Supported Operating Systems

• Mac OS X 10.9.5 (Mavericks) or higher
• Windows 7 64-bit or higher
• Linux 64-bit operating system (CentOS/RHEL 5.4)
Minimum Hardware Requirements
• Quad-core processor
• 10+GB disk space available for caching and temporary files
• At least 4GB RAM
• Display with 1680 x 1050 pixel resolution
• An NVIDIA or AMD* graphics card with the latest drivers
• 1GB of graphics memory
• OpenGL 3.2* or higher

Visit the The Foundry's Mar 3 page for a 15-day demo, to buy or rent the newest version.