The Foundry announced that the latest version of its creative paint and texture tool – MARI 1.3 – is now shipping. MARI 1.3 is loaded with new features, including displacement preview, Ptex per-face texture mapping, snapshots, tiled textures and environment mapping.
MARI 1.3 delivers on the company’s development roadmap set for 2011 with further features to facilitate an artist-friendly NUKE-MARI bridge set to release later this summer, providing intuitive workflow and quality paint tools to fix common texture projection challenges faced often in compositing, including seaming, stretching and occlusion.
MARI 1.3 has already been put through its paces in a number of facilities with pre-release versions in use at leading visual effects studios.
“Ptex frees you from the tyranny of UVs and allows you continue down the pipeline without them,” said Framestore junior technical director, Jesse Flores. “It gives the artists great freedom over their textures, giving them the resolution where they need it down to the decisions on individual geometry faces. In the coming years we’ll see more and more VFX studio’s adapting this cutting-edge technology. The Foundry has realized that it makes sense to support Ptex now, much to the delight of the industry. It makes our lives as texture artists easier.”
“MARI has single handedly changed the way we handle texture and matte painting pipelines more so than other tools for high-end VFX,” said CG supervisor and production lead, Brandon Fayette, Bad Robot. “Using the toolset given to us in MARI, we can effectively speed up our workflow exponentially.”
MARI 1.3 highlights include:
Displacement Preview – Displacement is a technique for adding detail to the surface of an object by pushing and pulling the surface based on an imported or painted texture map. By using the combined power of modern GPU technology and MARI’s texture handling system, almost infinite amounts of displacement detail can be displayed in real time, allowing artists to see how the final result will appear, direct in the interactive viewport.
Ptex – Last year Walt Disney Feature Animation introduced the Ptex per-face texture format. This technology allows users to paint and render models without having to define a UV map by allocating individual textures to geometry faces. Creating UVs to explicitly map texture coordinates is a frustrating experience. MARI now fully supports a Ptex workflow. Users can load models without UVs, paint using the full set of MARI tools and export to .ptx files.
Snapshots – As assets go through more and more versions, keeping a handle on changes takes time and leaves assets open to mistakes. Snapshots give flexibility for artists to play with new ideas and to deal with change and variation.
Tiled Textures – MARI’s live tiled texture system allows quick and easy coverage of large surfaces without compromising control.
Environment Mapping – Environment mapping is a way of simulating a shiny, reflective surface. Artists can work with a 3D viewport that more accurately represents the final look of their rendered images.