Friday, March 29th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

Foundry ships Mari 4.5

Foundry has released Mari 4.5, a significant update to its texture painting software, adding a new material system intended for roughing out basic shading set-ups.

The release also introduces a new Arnold Standard Surface shader, and a Material Ingest Tool, designed to automate the process of creating materials from PBR texture sets.

Rough out material set-ups, then use Mari’s painting tools to add final details
The big change in Mari 4.5 is the new material system, described by Foundry as “a transformative update”.

It is intended to enable artists to quickly rough out the look of an asset – or even to create simpler final-quality set-ups – before using Mari’s painting tools to add final details.

You can see the basic workflow in the video above, and a more detailed walkthrough on YouTube, the latter recorded by MPC lead texture artist and Mari beta tester Peter Aversten.

The toolset is integrated with Mari’s layer stack and channels – according to Aversten, materials are optimised for a layer-based workflow, although you can also use the node graph to create them.

Materials are also shader-dependent, so Mari 4.5 also introduces a new Arnold Standard Surface shader, which should minimise differences between the way assets look in the viewport and in final Arnold renders.

Materials can be exported in Mari’s .mma file format, enabling users to create standard material libraries or to share set-ups with other team members.

New Material Ingest Tool creates materials from PBR texture maps
The system is supported by the new Material Ingest Tool, designed to streamline the process of importing PBR texture maps and generating materials from them.

It comes with presets for different shader models, including Principled BRDF and the Arnold shader, and lets users set up import rules to match the varying file-naming conventions used by online texture libraries.

Supporting updates to the node graph
In Mari’s node graph, Group nodes can now have multiple output ports, supporting any arbitrary data stream, making it easier to create more complex material set-ups.

The node graph also gets a usability update designed to make it easier to create control knobs for gizmos or materials, and to access to sub-graph for group nodes.

Pricing and availability
Mari 4.5 is available for Windows 7+ and CentOS/RHEL 6+ Linux. Over 15 months after the release of Mari 4.0, the Mac version of 4.x is still in progress, but according to this forum thread, it should be out “this year”.

Both nodelocked and floating licences cost $2,068. Rental options are also available, discussed here, and starting at $59/month or $599/year.

Read a full list of new features in Mari 4.5 in Foundry’s release notes

Visit the Mari product website