Foundry ships Mari 4.7
Foundry has released Mari 4.7, the latest update to its 3D texture painting software.
The update adds new features for creating and sharing custom procedural textures, particularly procedural masks, and for isolating individual materials within a project for editing.
Users also get a new, more efficient UI for the Shelf palette, and updates to the Bake Point system.
New Custom Procedural node makes it easier to share procedural masks and textures
One key change in Mari 4.7 is the new Custom Procedural node, for use when blocking out the look of an asset with procedural materials before refining the results using Mari’s painting tools.
It enables users to author custom procedural textures using Mari’s node graph, then export them as external files that can be reused in other projects, or shared with other artists.
Unlike the existing Group nodes, the Custom Procedural node exports all of the images used inside it, avoiding the need for artists with whom the procedural is shared to locate source files manually.
The texture can be exported as a colour procedural, black-and-white scalar procedural, or as a mask.
A custom procedural created in this way can be imported into Mari’s Shelf, then added to the node graph or layer stack of a new project from there.
The main suggested use for the new node is for authoring custom procedural masks: a workflow shown in more detail in the online documentation.
View individual materials in isolation with the Current Material shader
Other new features include the Current Material shader, which makes it possible to isolate an individual material for display in the viewport, without having to edit the main User Shader.
With it, artists can adjust individual materials within a project non-destructively, speeding up look dev.
Stream texture data to third-party render engines with the updated Bake Point system
The update also extends Mari’s Bake Point system, used to bake out and cache the output of part of a node graph in order to improve interactive performance in complex scenes.
The Bake Point Export tab gets a new Post Process option, which enables users to create command-line processes that trigger once the bake point image has been exported.
Suggested uses include converting images to the native texture format of a renderer, or moving them to a new folder, making it possible to stream texture data into a third-party renderer as a background process.
In addition, a new Multi Channel Bake Point node makes it possible to bake multiple material channels with a single node, managing the output using a spreadsheet-style UI.
Workflow improvements to the Shelf palette, node graph and Python console
Workflow improvements include a redesign of the Shelf palette, used to store brushes, materials, procedurals and images.
The main change is a new navigation pane, making it possible to browse or search content by item type, name or tags, across single or multiple shelves.
Shelf items also now have “all-new informative graphical tooltips”, and the size of their thumbnail images can be adjusted manually.
In addition, Mari’s node graph now supports mouse-and-keyboard gestures for navigating graphs and selecting and moving nodes, while creating new multi-channel nodes is now context aware.
Pipeline TDs also get new quality-of-life features in the Python console and new hooks in Mari’s API: you can find a full list via the links at the foot of the story.
Pricing and availability
Mari 4.7 available for Windows 7+, CentOS/RHEL 6+ Linux and Mac OS X 10.10+, support for Macs in the current release having been restored by a maintenance update earlier this year.
Both node-locked and floating perpetual licences cost $2,168. Rental starts at $62/month or $629/year.