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ToolTalk: Foundry’s MARI 3 now shipping—features key improvements for 3D Paint System

MARI 3 from The Foundry has recently started shipping after being introduced back at SIGGRAPH in the summer. The innovative and easy-to-use 3D painting software runs on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux systems and solves problems for large assets that Adobe Photoshop can’t handle.


Chances are if you go to the movies you have seen The Foundry’s MARI in action. The 3D painting software tool is a bleeding edge technology used to power incredible visuals in film, broadcast and a range of other industries.

In this ToolTalk we take a look at the updates in the latest release which just started shipping in early December.

An Artist Friendly Choice

MARI 3 has an ability to handle the most complex assets. As such, it is used by top visual effects, video game, and animation pipelines. Introduced back at SIGGRAPH in the summer, MARI 3 recently started shipping delivering new avenues for pipeline integration and productivity enhancing work flows that help 3D artists paint faster and manage complexity with higher quality results. Faster means instant feedback to the artist so they can respond to quick changes that can make the difference in visualization quality.

Key Improvements in New Release

  • Modo rendering and texture baking directly from MARI
  • API’s to integrate a user’s renderer of choice
  • Support for OpenSubdiv and FBX Geometry
  • Enhanced color space management workflows through OpenColorIO
  • An exposed node graph for advanced users, Advanced users can now create and edit channels and layers in a more powerful, efficient and visual manner
  • Integrated Arnold, V-Ray, Unreal and Redshift shaders
  • MARI features Session Scripts that allows you to create a lightweight archive that can be combined with other archives.
  • MARI’s Texture Transfer system uses generated point cloud data to transfer textures between two different models, without the need for matching topology or UVs. In MARI 3, you can use this data to generate height and normal maps between high and low polygon models, seamlessly blur across patch boundaries, and correctly transfer overlapping UVs.
  •  Translate, rotate and scale geometry more easily with new Entity Locators. Entity Locators offer a 3D manipulator that improves visual accuracy when transforming geometry inside MARI’s viewport using the Move tool.
  • A new Safe mode in MARI 3 offers easier troubleshooting by isolating the user’s involvement and environment issues during debugging. Being able to identify and isolate critical points faster will help resolve issues and improve the customer support process.
  • Developers and TDs can now access selection groups through the Python API, allowing them to manipulate various parts of a geometry entity through scripting and to automate related functionality. In addition, artists can now access selection groups directly by clicking on them on the model in the viewer.

Operating Systems supported by MARI 3

MARI works across all the main computer platforms and has been featured at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) in the recent past. The tool has been featured as part of the new Mac Pro debut. System requirements are:

  • Mac OS X 10.9.5 (Mavericks) or higher
  • Windows 7 64-bit or higher
  • Linux 64-bit operating system (CentOS/RHEL 5.4)

The minimum requirements are a Quad-core processor, 10+GB disk space available for caching and temporary files, at least 4GB RAM, Display with 1680 x 1050 pixel resolution, an NVIDIA or AMD* graphics card with the latest drivers, 1GB of graphics memory, and OpenGL 3.2* or higher.

“I love working with MARI because it allows me to work with massive numbers of large resolution textures on the film work I do. It’s common on film assets to have numerous UV tiles per object and software like Photoshop can be really inefficient in dealing with such texture sets, MARI, on the other hand, is specifically designed to work this way. I just find the toolset so innovative. Its painting toolset is also very robust and intuitive. I consider it to be the best texture painting software I’ve used.” said Leigh van der Byl, MARI texture artist and CG talk host.

To learn more about MARI 3 from The Foundry go here:

Architosh Analysis

MARI has always been a tool that is artist friendly with powerful layering, adjustments, procedurals with advanced masking. Having direct access to these tools in Modo will streamline the workflow so the artist can work without going back and forth between software packages. High resolution images have never been a problem in MARI because of it’s ability to handle complex assets. It eliminates time consuming multi-application workflows with Arnold, V-Ray, Redshift, and Unreal shaders fully integrated with MARI. MODO rendering and baking is easy and efficient. Seamless pipeline integration with industry-standard formats, Open ColorIO, extensive API’s, and Python scripting. MARI 3 takes this one step further by giving the artist a simpler workflow. When you are working in multiple 3D packages this can be very time consuming. In an industry where time is money, every step eliminated saves dollars in the pipeline. Less complications, less errors, more productivity.

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