Foundry releases Mari 7.0
Originally posted on 16 October 2023, and updated with details of the stable release.
The update adds The Bakery, a new Vulkan-based texture baking engine, plus new texturing nodes, 60 more bundled grunge maps, and an automated back-up system.
Sharing common technical standards with Katana 7.0 and Nuke 15.0
Foundry originally announced Mari 7.0 alongside Nuke 15.0 and Katana 7.0, the latest versions of its compositing software and lighting and look development software.
All three releases support common VFX industry standards, updating the three applications to the CY2023 spec for the VFX Reference Platform, and to USD 23.05, and switching to Rocky Linux as a successor to CentOS.
New Vulkan-based architecture replaces the existing texture-baking system
The main change in Mari 7.0 itself is The Bakery, the new system for baking geometry-based texture maps, like curvature, thickness, displacement and occlusion maps.
It supports batch-baking of maps with multiple render settings, and baking animated geometry.
Speaking to CG Channel earlier this year, Foundry described the new Vulkan-based architecture as more performant than Mari’s previous one, which was based on the technology used in Modo, its 3D modeling and rendering software.
The change is intended to remove the need for users to switch to third-party applications such as Adobe’s Substance 3D tools for baking textures.
Baking is GPU-accelerated on NVIDIA RTX GPUs and AMD 6000 Series GPUs and later.
New texturing tools and shader updates
The update also adds two new procedural texturing nodes, Bubbles and Camouflage, for adding base procedural textures to 3D models, and ships with 60 additional grunge maps.
In addition, the Autodesk Standard Surface and VRayMTL shader models have been updated, to improve visual parity between the viewport and final renders in Arnold and V-Ray.
Reworked Auto Backup system, USD Importer and node graph
Other changes include a reworked Auto Backup system, intended to make it easier to restore archives than the existing Auto Save system, and reduce the size of the archive on disk.
Mari’s node graph gets a number of workflow improvements, include support for fuzzy search, the option to favorite nodes, and support for disconnecting nodes by severing the connection, like in Houdini, or shaking the node, as in Nuke.
Price, system requirements and release date
Mari 7.0 is compatible with Windows 10+ and Rocky Linux/RHEL 9.
Mari is available subscription-only. Individual subscriptions cost $86/month, up $18/month since the release of Mari 6.0, or $689/year. Subscriptions for teams cost $1,119/year.
For studios, Foundry has now introduced cloud-based Team licensing for Mari, as well as the existing RLM licensing.
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