Tales From Beyond

Future Ideas

Mari Radio Node system

In this tales from beyond episode I take a look at how a node node sharing workflow, could function in a future Mari version. At least this is how I envision it. Now lets get out into deep space together.

Ever since the early days, we have transmitted radio waves out into deep space. One day green aliens with intelligence might pick up the remnants of our civilisation. By the time this happens mankind will most certainly be extinct.

How will this tie into texturing in Mari you might ask?

We are in dire need of a sophisticated node sharing workflow in Mari. We need this to speed up the process when texturing and using the node graph. This is my stab on a workflow that I envision using. It’s not taking any technical limitations in to consideration.

Behold the Radio Node System!

Mari Radio Node system
Transmitter node

The transmitter node would do what the name implies. You would connect anything to the node, and broadcast it loud and wide into the Mari ether.

The node itself would have a few internal knobs.  Parameters to define the broadcast channel variable name. Also the ability to reveal who is picking up the broadcasted signal.

The the radio node system would global inside Mari. You could access it anywhere in the Node Graph. You would use a receiver node to do this.

This would take away the strain of hunting for dot nodes, and building node pipelines through your node graph.

“I envision the Mari Radio Node system as follows. It would consist of two things, a transmitter and a receiver node that would work together.”

Mari Radio Node System
Reciver Node

Radio waves in outer space has no purpose unless they get picked up by someone !

The Radio receiver node would do just that. You previously declared a variable in the transmitter node. In the radio receiver node you would later declare the same variable, to connect the dots so to speak.

Yes the radio node mechanism would be a glorified dot node in Mari terms. It could do a few more clever things the dot node can not achieve. The Radio system would be able to send its signal even inside Mari groups. Imagine this when you want to create powerful gizmos, and connect the transmitted channel for use anywhere. By doing it this way you could declutter some aspects of the Mari node graph in the process.

Peter Aversten
Editor in chief

Photograph by Lorem Ipsum via Unsplash

taking the MARI RADIO NODE SYSTEM A bit further!

What about transceiver backdrop nodes that tie into the Radio Node system?

I envision radio backdrops like this.
You previously declared your variable somewhere in the Mari node graph, using the radio node transmitter node. Let’s say its an Ambient Occlusion bake channel. You could use the receiver node mentioned above, or If we could make backdrops aware of the radio node system! We could utilize the transmitted channel straight within the backdrop node. I imagine the backdrops as a transceivers, that can both receive and broadcast at the same time. On the left side of the backdrop, you would have  all defined channels as Mari ports. You would declare them by the same method as in the receiver node.


Backdrop Radio Workflows

The Backdrop tranciever, The broadcasted outputs would come from bar at the left

Backdrop Transmitter

Similar to the radio transmitter node, the backdrop could be utilized to broadcast as well. You could build an effect inside the backdrop. Using broadcasted effects from elsewhere in the graph. In the end you could declare a transmitted variable in the backdrop output properties field. When you want to transmitt from a backdrop, you would connect the end result from the content inside the backdrop , into the newly created transmitter port. You can then set it up to use it anywhere in the Node graph, using transmitters or other backdrops.

I can see myself building advanced procedural masks inside the backdrop, for later use without the clutter of spaghetti node criss crossing throughout the entire graph.

Here we see the backdrop both as a transmitter and a reciever. You could contain materials within a backdrop and send the result elsewhere in the Graph

Strength comes with numbers!

Yes I spend a lot of time working in Mari and since I first came across Mari back in 2009 I have hassled The Foundry support team with requests of Node based workflows on numerous occasions and we are now here “in the future”! The node graph has now finally been introduced

My nature is not to stay still and I’m constantly looking to improve my workflows. Easy and powerful sharing is important both to declutter the node graph but also important to speed up node workflows in general. Without it we have to use point nodes to connect everything we want to use and that means a lot of hunting around in the node graph. I want to be able to declare texture effects in a structured manner and whenever I need them I have them ready to access without the hassle to do hyperspace jumps back and forth inside the Mari node graph.

If you like this idea jump over to The Foundry support team and give ticket number TP 172112 – Add Radio Point Nodes a thumbs up. And remember strength comes with numbers, the more people making their voice heard the more likely that we will see a similar workflow being adopted inside Mari!