Lead Texture Artists
Mari Material System
The new Mari Material System in Mari 4.5 was just released and with it comes faster workflows in automation when it comes to texturing in bulk as well as hero assets for Visual Effects. In this new Mari Material series, I will start off by looking at the new Arnold shader and build materials around it. I will use Maya and Mari in conjunction while using a real Cinema style lens from the studio as material inspiration.
About the Mari Material System
The Material system in Mari is based around vendor shaders and first out is support from Unreal and Arnold. Each material is built for a specific shader where you can define texture input from all input connections found in the shader. This workflow is a bit different to Substance where you have a more shader agnostic workflow. However, the cost means you can’t map all available settings in a specific shader but rather the most common inputs. It’s just another take on a material system. I hope to see a Renderman shader down the line as this is the Renderer I use at work and also here in my studio.
“Mari material system will help to bring automation into Mari”
About the project
The first installment of this new material series will be based around using the Arnold shader and one of my lenses as inspiration. I recently acquired a Cinema Style lens from Xeen for my own project and it has a few interesting materials from aluminum to some kind of anodized metal and the housing is painted metal. So the textures will be both index of refraction as well as metalness driven in the materials I create.
Now let’s take a look at the workflows
The new Material system is flexible enough to be able to map almost all aspects of the shader. You will not be able to preview all aspects of the Arnold shader but I guess that is expected as its an OpenGL representation. The Material system is a good first start but I think some basic connections between different DCC applications such as Maya and Katana would be great. The ingest tool that was developed for texture resources could be expanded to support already Look developed values from Maya or Katana where you could send the shader settings into a Mari material as a starting point. Another thing when building materials from scratch could be some kind of mechanism to auto-populate the inputs on materials with nodes so I don’t have to create all sliders or color inputs to match the setup I had in Maya. A template system would be good here.
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