Mari 4.6 arrives from Foundry with enhanced materials system

New features expand Mari’s capabilities, but also streamline the workflow.

Mari, the Foundry’s tool for texturing and paint was born of the film industry. It stands out for its abilities to handle very large models and support very high-resolution textures. Its users are primarily content creators in the film industry, but it is staking a claim in industrial design, thanks to its sibling Luxology, which is also a member of the Foundry family.

The 4.6 update for Mari adds new features for its Material System including Geo-Channels, and new procedural nodes. The Foundry has collaborated with rendering partners 3Delight and VRay to enable artists to get just-about realtime feedback for their work and reduce the need for roundtrips between Mari and the Foundry’s lighting and look development tool Katana.

With Mari 4.5, Foundry significantly revamped its Material System, streamlining work with procedural layers to allow artists to use presets to block their preliminary look. Foundry is also adding support for thousands of Physically Based Rendering (PBR) texture sets with the addition of the Material Ingest tool. With 4.6, Mari adds on to the Material System with Geo-Channels that enables artists to integrate object-aware properties in material presets useful for edgeware and other effects.

Here are the details from Foundry’s press release:
What’s new in Mari 4.6:

  • Geo-Channels seamlessly integrate into the Materials system, allowing for material looks to be driven by mesh maps, like curvature and ambient occlusion.
  • Node graph updates—Mari 4.6 offers a cleaner, more efficient navigation in the node graph. Working with nodes is easier with three varying states of collapse for all nodes, which are now matched in design with the Katana Network Material UI. Including a mode for material nodes that represents all parallel streams as one connection. Finally, improved node auto-placement creates artist-friendly layouts of complex node networks.
  • As a result of customer feedback over the years, new procedural nodes have been added to enable more complex non-destructive texturing: projection nodes, curvature, new fractals, new patterns, improved and new math operators and a variety of new utility nodes.
  • Vendor shaders—Collaborating with teams at 3Delight and VRay, artists can get closer approximations for their renders in Mari due to matching GLSL shaders, streamlining your look development across Mari and Katana. Having already introduced the Arnold shader from the Autodesk team in Mari 4.5, we are continuing third-party collaborations with a Mari version of the Renderman PxrSurface shader in their latest release.
  • Material system additional improvements—Mari 4.6 offers customizable Material file icons and extensions to the Material Ingestion Tool, allowing for more artist customization and extensive automation of the Material creation process.

Rory Woodford, Product Manager, Mari, comments:

“With our latest Mari release, we’ve been working on improving our recently-introduced Materials System, making sure it’s the best fit for artists and the pipelines they use. They can expect a quicker, slicker experience, thanks to improvements to the Node Graph, plus a whole variety of new procedural patterns and filters. We will continue to make Mari the one 3D painting package that strives to answer the needs of complexity and volume, procedural and handcrafted responding to the ever evolving needs of VFX and Animation.”

Peter Aversten, Cross Show Lead Texture Artist at MPC and Founder, Meshmen Studios, comments:

“I’m really happy to see the introduction of Geo-channels that will take my Mari procedural materials to the next level. All the new fancy nodes and improvements to the node graph are the icing on the cake!

The full list of features for Mari 4.6 can be found here. Mari 4.6 is available for purchase on Foundry’s website and via accredited resellers.