High-end digital painting tool brings layer-based usability for developers

Mari 2 brings layer-based 3D painting to game artists

Visual effects and computer graphics software developer, The Foundry has launched Mari 2.0, a major update to its 3D digital paint tool that introduces a new, artist-focused layer system.

The tool has been used in many feature films, including Pirates! and Wrath of the Titans.

All the texturing for Star Wars 1313’s E3 2012 trailer was done in Mari, and the Foundry is now turning its attention to game developers with its newest package.

“A lot of the assignment of textures to objects is a grey area,” The Foundry’s Mari product manager Jack Greasley told Develop.

“You want to have all the functionality of a 3D paint tool, but you need the asset management complexity of things like Unreal Editor, because you need to be able to say, ‘these ten thousands objects, this texture’. So you’ve got artists on one side who want to make the world beautiful and then tools guys on the other side who have limitations about the amount of textures you can use.

“By being incredibly open, I think Mari accommodates both camps in being a first-class painting system that can also be hooked very deeply into an asset workflow.”

This new release focuses on enhancing the painting experience for 3D artists. The addition of the new layer system means Mari is easier to use than ever before and will be a familiar working environment for users of Adobe Photoshop and other layer-based paint tools.

Greasley added: “We have spent a long time working on the nuts and bolts of this layer system for Mari and we believe 2.0 surpasses anything else on the market today. We wanted to really push the limits and give artists a working environment that feels both familiar and revolutionary at the same time.”

Mari 2 contains a streamlined Layer View, introduces accessible grouping, tagging and filtering options making even highly complex stacks easier to navigate and control.

Procedural Layers let artists easily create the look they want, seamlessly blending procedural and painted detail with the same toolkit.

Every layer can now be given its own Mask Group. Each mask is effectively a full layer stack in its own right, allowing artists to use blending, groups, adjustments and procedurals in all their masks.

Finally, Shared Layers mean artists can cut down on the asset management that goes hand in hand with reusing layers and masks. Layers can now be shared within a stack and any changes they make can be automatically updated across the rest.

Mari 2 is available for download from The Foundry’s website.

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