Friday, April 4th, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

The Foundry ships Mari 2.6

The Foundry has released Mari 2.6, another sizeable update to the 3D painting package, adding support for physically based shading, in-viewport image-based lighting, layered shaders and texture transfer.

Physically based shading and image-based lighting
Physically based shading is very much the feature du jour in games tools, having recently been added to Substance Designer 4 and Marmoset Toolbag 2, and due for inclusion in the upcoming Unity 5.

Mari 2.6 slots neatly into those workflows with its new energy-preserving BRDF shading. As with Substance Designer 4, the shader is complemented by the ability to view assets in the viewport with image-based lighting.

The software also comes with a library of HDR maps, so even if lighting hasn’t yet been finalised, you should be able to find something that approximates the eventual look you will need.

Layered GLSL shaders and texture transfer
In addition, games artists get the ability to layer real-time GLSL shaders to develop effects like dirt or rust, in a way that plays nicely with modern game engines.

There is also a rather neat-looking new texture-transfer system which enables different artists to work on the textures and UVs of an asset simultaneously and transfer the results between different layouts and LODs.

Finally, Mari can now import animated geometry and cameras in Alembic format, now described as “the preferred means to transfer data” between packages in The Foundry’s new Collectives product bundles.

Mari 2.6 is out now for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Pricing starts at $2,013 for a single node-locked licence and one year’s maintenance, excluding tax.

Read more about the new features in Mari 2.6 on The Foundry’s website (Includes more videos)