So what’s new in this version of MARI?
So, we’ve just released MARI 1.3. The first thing we created is a bridge between NUKE and MARI. What this provides is an opportunity to replicate workflows that we’ve seen artists do manually. What that means is we’ve seen artists continually copying information and importing it between the two programs. This bridge between MARI and NUKE has streamlined the process and allows the copying and importing to take place automatically. The main focus of that work is 3D paint tools and matte painting. The second feature is Ptex. Ptex was developed at Walt Disney Feature Animation and is a way of painting onto the surface of objects without a UV map. Everyone hates making UV. It’s boring and time consuming and now you don’t have to do it—which is great.
The next important feature in MARI is snapshots. Snapshots are a versioning system. In effects, things will always change. Artists have to make multiple versions of everything and snapshots make this smooth and seamless.
We’ve also added dynamic displacement mapping. This allows you to add surface details using a texture map rather than adding hundreds of millions of triangles.
We’ve also optimized the Windows version so Windows and Linux now run at the same speed.
In addition we’ve added numerous new shader modules to add advanced visual effects to objects.
What’s this I hear about the bridge between MARI and NUKE?
I’ve already explained a bit of that but the main focus of the bridge between MARI and NUKE is to bring full power of the brush based painting to bear on common effects and NUKE problems. NUKE provides a powerful technical tool kit. MARI provides a super-fast, brush-based workflow. With the bridge, artists can fix common problems in projections such as ripping, stretching, seaming and occlusions.
So why should be texture artists look to use MARI rather than the other tools out there?
MARI is first and foremost a tool designed around an artist’s workflow. This allows them to accelerate workflow and makes painting textures a pleasant artistic experience rather than technical nightmare. It allows the artist to concentrate on what they really love—which is painting. It takes care of the boring work of managing data and organizing work.
Is there anything you think artists should know about MARI that you’ve not already mentioned?
One thing. The feedback we get from artists is that they find it a joy to use. It’s an incredibly pleasant and well thought out tool that maps directly to the task at hand.
And, a side note… We’re just starting some hard work on version 1.4. More details will be coming out soon about what is in there. So, stay tuned.
If you would like to try MARI out for yourself, Escape Studios can arrange free evaluations, please contact us and I can arrange this for you.