So many people were impressed with The Foundry’s Mari presentation at our recent Bristol event, that I decided to find out a little more about the new product. For those that haven’t come across Mari before, it’s a new 3D creative texture-painting tool that was originally designed by Weta Digital for painting high-resolution textures on 3D models in King Kong and Avatar.
So, to find out how artists can benefit from Mari, I caught up with Jack Greasley, Mari’s Product Manager to get the inside scoop.
1. Mari allows you to paint super high resolution textures faster than you can currently paint at lower resolutions.
Mari handles all of the complexity of dealing with massive amounts of textures, leaving you free to paint and nail your look. Although your final render or game engine may not support the same level of detail as Mari, having all of that detail available for high quality close-ups, cinematics or large format print saves you time and money. The best bit is that you can export at which ever resolution suits you. It’s MUCH quicker and cheaper to throw away detail than it is to paint it in later. You might find you need it because the director has decided to include it, and it will still be there waiting for you.
2. Mari is battle tested on some of the most demanding CG projects of recent times.
Avatar set the bar in modern CGI. The level of detail and integration that we saw was jaw dropping and raised the bar in what was expected from standard CG applications. It’s then no coincidence that the current version of Mari was designed to handle projects that make Avatar look like a flip-book. This means Mari will be able to handle anything you throw at it, letting you scale up your projects with ease.
3. Mari was designed by texture Artists to make their job fun again.
Back in the good-old days when your shader had Diffuse, Specular and Bump channels, life was pretty easy. You could spend most of your time painting and being creative. Modern shader configurations are MUCH more complicated with maps for tens of different surface parameters. Painting all of these can now be more of a technical slog than a creative flow. Mari is designed to take the donkey work out of modern texture painting by efficiently managing that complexity, leaving you free to get back to painting.
4. Powerful editing and color manipulation in context means you spend less time looking at the "Saving....." dialog.
If your 3D painting solution does not have fast, powerful and fluid image warping, editing and grading then you can find yourself bouncing between 2D and 3D continually. No matter how fast the link between your 2D and 3D apps are, you're still wasting time by going to 2D to prepare reference, then back to 3D to project. This is a lot easier with Mari, which keeps you in one place and keeps you painting.
5. Mari is designed to create efficient and smooth workflows.
With most high end CG work, be it games or CG, workflow is often the thing that slows you down. Finding the correct models, keeping up to date with versions, exporting to the correct place and keeping things in sync quickly becomes a nightmare. Mari grew up in one of the most demanding CG environments on earth and is designed from the ground up to be customisable and open, so you can work the way you want to work. Mari was built by working closely with artists, to make it easy to solve the problems you have.