Foundry releases Mari 4.6v4 | CG Channel
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The foundry released Mari 4.6v4

Thursday July 16, 2020 | Written by Jim Thacker

Foundry has released Mari 4.6v4, the latest update to its 3D texture painting software.

Although officially described as a maintenance release, it offers a number of new features, including a new local save mode for the transformation tool and improvements to the back workflow.

Since the original release of Mari 4.6, Foundry has also restored the macOS edition of the software to parity with the Windows and Linux versions, with 4.6v4 available for all three operating systems.

New local room mode for the transformation tool
Foundry describes Mari 4.6v4 as a period between a traditional maintenance release and a feature update that introduces “lower risk features” that studios can implement in live productions.

These new features include a local room mode for the Transform Color Buffer tool that allows artists to move the color buffer across the surface of an object to be structured rather than as a space projection.

Users can now also hold down the Ctrl key while editing the controls to perform a transformation in incremental steps. The hit area for the tool has been increased to make it easier to select the handles.

Improved workflow for baking textures, especially for complex assets
The version also updates the back workflow with a new option for the restricted patch area for the bake point node.

Previously, when baking, the upstream node diagram for each UDIM patch within a project was flattened, even if the result was masked for a small range of patches in the downstream.

With the new setting, users can limit baking to a number of patches, avoiding wasted time.

The Bake Point node also has a new option to export when baking (see figure above), which automatically exports the result of a baking process to the hard drive instead of the user having to do it manually.

Foundry describes the functionality as "tightening the loop" between Mari and software that incorporates texture maps generated in Mari, such as Katana, the toolset for the development of lighting and appearance.

Performance and workflow improvements
Other changes include a new option to stop viewport rendering when the mouse pointer is outside the canvas, reducing unnecessary GPU usage.

There are also a number of improvements to the user interface and workflow, especially when working with node diagrams: A full list of changes can be found using the links at the bottom of the story.

Source code for a new USD import plugin available
Outside the core application, Foundry “took possession” of a USD mesh importer plugin originally developed by Pixar to import USD-style assets directly into Mari.

The foundry version, whose source code is available as a resource for pipline developers under an Apache 2.0 license, currently only supports meshes and transformations.

Support for shades, cameras, and other USD schemes should follow shortly, along with the option to export assets in USD format as part of a larger project to support a USD-native workflow within Mari.

Mac versions of Mari 4.x are finally available again
Mari 4.6v4 is also available for MacOS, Windows and Linux.

The reintroduction of a macOS version – actually with Mari 4.6v2 in January – ends in a period of two years in which the latest version of the software for macOS was not available.

The interruption was initially due to the support of the VFX reference platform 2017 in Mari 4.0, which caused changes to the Qt libraries used for the Mari user interface.

Pricing and availability
Mari 4.6v4 is available for Windows 7+, CentOS / RHEL 6+ Linux and MacOS 10.14+.

Since the original version 4.6, the cost of node-locked and floating licenses has increased by $ 100 to $ 2,168. The rent now costs $ 62 / month or $ 629 / year.

Read an overview of the new features in Mari 4.6v4 on the Foundry website

For a complete list of new features in Mari 4.6v4, see the online release notes

Tags: 3D painting, Apache 2.0 license, bake point node, export on bake, foundry, katana, lighting, Linux, local space, look development, Mac version, MacOS, Mari, Mari 4.0, Mari 4.6, Mari 4.6v4, new functions, node diagram, node-based material, color buffer, Pixar, plug-in, price, source code, system requirements, texture baking, texture painting, tool "color buffer transform", tool "transform", UDIM, UDIM patch, USD, USD import, Windows

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