Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 Posted by Jim Thacker

The Foundry ships Mari 1.3: now with Ptex support

The Foundry’s Mari 1.3 preview (produced with Nvidia, so focused mainly on the GPU-related features)

The Foundry is shipping Mari 1.3, the latest update to its 3D painting application.

As we reported last month, the software now supports Disney’s Ptex UV-less texture format. Other new tools include a GPU-based real-time displacement preview, a snapshot feature, and support for environment maps.

Leading visual effects software developer, The Foundry, today announced the latest version of its creative paint and texture tool – MARI 1.3.

Now shipping, MARI 1.3 is loaded with new features including: Displacement Preview, Ptex Per-Face Texture Mapping, Snapshots, Tiled Textures, and Environment Mapping. MARI 1.3 delivers on the aggressive development roadmap set for 2011 with further features to facilitate an artist friendly NUKE MARI bridge set to release later this summer, providing intuitive workflow and quality paint tools to fix common texture projection challenges faced often in compositing, including seaming, stretching and occlusion.

Junior Technical Director, Jesse Flores, Framestore said, “Ptex frees you from the tyranny of UVs and allows you continue down the pipeline without them. It gives the artists great freedom over their textures, giving them the resolution where they need it down to the decisions on individual geometry faces. In the coming years we’ll see more and more VFX studio’s adapting this cutting-edge technology. The Foundry has realized that it makes sense to support Ptex now, much to the delight of the industry. It makes our lives as texture artists easier.”

Highlights include:

Displacement Preview
Displacement is a technique for adding detail to the surface of an object by pushing and pulling the surface based on an imported or painted texture map. By using the combined power of modern GPU technology and MARI’s world leading texture handling system, almost infinite amounts of displacement detail can be displayed in real-time, allowing artists to see how the final result will appear, direct in the interactive viewport.

Last year Walt Disney Feature Animation introduced the Ptex per-face texture format. This technology allows users to paint and render models without having to define a UV map by allocated individual textures to geometry faces. Creating UVs to explicitly map texture coordinates is a frustrating experience. MARI now fully supports a Ptex workflow. Users can load models without UVs, paint using the full set of MARI tools, and export to .ptx files. Our Ptex integration is built on MARI’s world-class data and rendering engine and draws directly from Walt Disney Animation Studios paint technology following a ground-breaking agreement with The Foundry in 2010.

As assets go through more and more versions, keeping a handle on changes takes time and leaves assets open to mistakes. Snapshots give unprecedented flexibility for artists to play with new ideas and to deal with change and variation.

Tiled Textures
MARI’s live tiled texture system allows quick and easy coverage of large surfaces without compromising control.

Environment Mapping
Environment mapping is a way of simulating a shiny, reflective surface. Artists can work with a 3D viewport that more accurately represents the final look of their rendered images.

MARI 1.3 is available on Linux and Windows. MARI 1.3 is priced at $1,980/ £1,200.

Visit the Mari homepage (includes download link for 15-day trial)

View Mari demos on The Foundry’s YouTube channel