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Mari +Zbrush

So question for the experts, does anyone actually use Mari in there work-process. I'm just thinking of if I should invest myself in to this program. I mean I know it has a multi-layered system, which might be more efficient then zbrush since its a bit crashy in zbrush. So does anyone use it or any good benefits of using it with zbrush?

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  • mrnpc
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    mrnpc polycounter lvl 12
    Hi
    I think you might have a better time in Mudbox rather than Mari right now, Mari is really designed for a film pipeline and not Games. Mudbox has a great layer system and whilst it might not have the procedural or masking controls of Mari Mudbox also allows you to sculpt and the baking of textures is great.I Teach both Mari and Mudbox ,coming from a games background I would go to mudbox first, you arebeing able to paint in PTEX and then bake that down into UV space at the resolution you require.
    cheers
  • Inhert
  • VisceralD
    mrmpc, Do you use Zbrush in your work flow. Either way what is your typical workflow for character creation.
  • MeshMagnet
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    MeshMagnet polycounter lvl 7
    Hey VisceralD, you also might want to check out Substance Painter. (if you haven't already :)
  • VisceralD
    thank I tried substance painter and love it its really great to get those beaten looks
  • marks
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    marks greentooth
    It would be nice if we could all quit with the "Mari was designed for film" comments and instead actually point out specific reasons why you think it isn't suitable for games production. I heard that LucasArts were having quite a good time with it ...
  • jgreasley
    marks wrote: »
    It would be nice if we could all quit with the "Mari was designed for film" comments and instead actually point out specific reasons why you think it isn't suitable for games production. I heard that LucasArts were having quite a good time with it ...

    ... and Ready at Dawn and quite a few others.

    http://blog.selfshadow.com/publications/s2013-shading-course/rad/s2013_pbs_rad_slides.pdf

    Games is a big push for us this year (I'm the product manager for Mari) and I'd really like to know the short-comings in Mari so we can address them.

    We've got a new version out fairly soon that should have some VERY relevant updates it in.

    On the list to look at next is better FBX support and Multiple-UVs. What else should we be looking at?

    Please keep the discussion to technical rather than price or licensing though. We are very aware of those issues already.
  • VisceralD
    Wow really a Mari product manager. I love this Forum!!!!!!!

    well to answer your question you guys have some tough competition to be more specific, after doing some research

    1. Zbrush vs Mari
    a. Pros: the best and most popular clay sculpting program in the business
    b. Cons: Does layers like Mari but it is very limited and often crashes

    2. Mudbox vs Mari
    a. Pros: Can clay sculpt almost as well as zbrush, the layered painting system here offers most the same features as Mari, with the exception of ptex texturing. Since it can paint on the lowest sub-d level, it makes it very hard completion for Mari, especially since it sculpts as well.

    3. Substance painter vs Mari
    a. Pros: offers a particle brush which can do painting simulations unlike any other product in the market
    b. Cons: still beta and not as feature packed as Mari

    4. Ddo plugin for Photoshop
    a. Pros: Using the power of Photoshop it actually offers a lot more painting power then Mari, also gives you real material previews

    Suggestions for Mari, really what’s important to understand is that before even putting a model in to Mari most artists have already worked on that model in zbrush or mudbox, and since painting features are offered in that you will have to offer a lot to motivate them to use another program in their process. What I would suggest is letting artists do HDRI renders in Mari so that they could quickly demo their art to bosses. Also giving Mari material asset control which integrates with major game engine. Substance painter will mostly likely have this feature once they exit beta since they have it on their other products. But essentially it is about editing materials in Mari, then through a plugin or the likes that material would transfer over perfectly to game engines.
  • VisceralD
    Also most of your competition, offers a much less limited trial version, to get itself some hardcore followers, few people can fall in love with a program in 15 days.
  • mrnpc
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    mrnpc polycounter lvl 12
    Hi
    sorry for the flip "Designed for film comment" I guess I just meant that its initial focus was working with huge data sets and in a linear 16/32 bit pipeline allowing for large multi tile texturing at 4k which is beyond the remit of games

    I suggested Mudbox because of the baking tools and the simple but well implemented painting tools

    Mari is fantastic,the sharing of textures between layers makes it very efficient

    The triplaner projection shader and the non destructive procedurals make texuring a thing of joy.

    the layer stack workflow allows for a very deep non destructive workflow


    what it lacks at the moment are processing tools for UVs and baking. it would be great to use ptex and bake to UV space when ready

    I would like to bake between 2 models, if UVs need to be changed and keep all stack information

    It would be great to paint opacity and view it in Mari

    if you are used to using a 3D painting package that samples the surface you may find the paint buffer and baking a little difficult at first but you quickly get used to it

    The learning curve is a little higher, but once you are comfortable with it is a joy to use, I would use it in production but one cant deny the cost is high compared to Mudbox for example and so a manager might be scared off at the cost

    I hope that helps

    thanks
  • VisceralD
    Have you ever tried DDo, because it is really topping my list right now
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    VisceralD wrote: »

    well to answer your question you guys have some tough competition to be more specific, after doing some research

    1. Zbrush vs Mari
    a. Pros: the best and most popular clay sculpting program in the business
    b. Cons: Does layers like Mari but it is very limited and often crashes

    2. Mudbox vs Mari
    a. Pros: Can clay sculpt almost as well as zbrush, the layered painting system here offers most the same features as Mari, with the exception of ptex texturing. Since it can paint on the lowest sub-d level, it makes it very hard completion for Mari, especially since it sculpts as well.

    Mari is a dedicated texture app in imo should stay that way, plenty of other sculpting programs that are good at that other stuff :)
    jgreasley wrote: »
    What else should we be looking at?

    I imagine this is already being implemented, but some added shaders for mimicking UDK, Cryengine and Marmoset materials for getting the final textures closer to what they would look like in-game would be pretty cool. Will update this if I can think of anything else, only recently started using Mari but love it so far!
  • marks
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    marks greentooth
    For me (with my limited time actually spent using Mari unfortunately) what I'd like to see:

    • Support for easily plugging in custom shaders (I understand this is being worked on)
    • Performance enhancements across the board - most games artists' workstations do not include Quadro cards or their ilk - and iteration speed is key.
    • Better interoperability with Photoshop
      • I know there's some there, but imo more can be done and it will be a great way to entice games people into using Mari. For example my photoshop brushes look different when I paint with them in Mari having loaded in the .abr
    • Not specifically one for The Foundry, but I'd love to see more games-oriented production video tutorials - how to get working in Mari with the basics quickly and emphasizing what the unique/key features of the software are for working with game assets.
  • MeshModeler
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    MeshModeler polycounter lvl 9
    i absolutely love mari, only thing i use really. Heres a vid of the way it was setup in my last job. all PBR friendly.

    http://vimeo.com/65408722
  • Brygelsmack
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    Brygelsmack polycounter lvl 10
    I love Mari, but my main issue with it is how slow it is. I usually have to wait 5 seconds just to turn a layer on and off, and I do have a fairly good computer.
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    i absolutely love mari, only thing i use really. Heres a vid of the way it was setup in my last job. all PBR friendly.

    Yeah, Jgreasley already posted that.

    I definitely agree though, used to texture in Mudbox before and don't wanna go back now, it's truly revolutionary... Hope a lot more studios are going to start using it. Shared channels ftw :D
  • Dataday
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    Dataday polycounter lvl 8
    One of the major con's is still that it feels focused on vfx and film. MRNPC, you are not wrong to make that comment.

    I see the price as being a major signifier of their target market...

    It was about a year back that jgreasley said that:
    "Developing for, and supporting, cutting edge vfx work is expensive. The budgets, schedules and technical demands are intense. VFX support includes everything up to flying developers on site to fix production issues at midnight. We've released 21 versions of Mari in 3 years in response to customer requests. At the moment the current price of Mari correlates pretty directly to the cost of meeting those demands."


    Regarding price, it may work for a specific area of film and vfx, but its quite beyond what most consumers would expect for a painting application. If the cost is due to sending support and making changes asap, then perhaps a version without that is needed since I doubt Mari support will be flying out to individual user's homes or taking their request with the same weight as a studio. So as an artist you are paying for studio support and preference you will never actually be given. This probably needs to change to be more accessible...and competetive.

    Perhaps some version for steam would be more appropriate. That said, knowing your target audience and working within their range, competitively, is whats going to make applications like Mari and Substance Painter a success in this regard. I would like to see more competition between the two, price and accessibility wise. Allegorithmic is winning out on this one (they are planning 16k support at a price point thats below $1000).

    Whats ironic, at least at this point, is that Allegorithmic has tighter Modo integration with their texturing software and Mari, which is also by the foundry, does not. That probably shouldnt be happening.
  • jgreasley
    Hi,

    Flying people on site isn't something that's included in the support price, but we have had to do it in the past :)

    We do, however take everyone's input equally seriously. Our support is awesome, even if you're a company of 1.

    We have individual users, literally working in their bedroom, who are as influential in the development process and companies like Pixar and Dreamworks.

    Scott Metzger's history with Mari is a great example of this. He's a freelance guy and is doing awesome, cutting edge work with Mari and he has had features implemented in the last 5 or 6 versions.

    https://www.fxguide.com/fxguidetv/fxguidetv-165-scott-metzger-on-mari-and-hdr/

    We are certainly listening to everyone's input on price and features regarding the games market.
  • mrnpc
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    mrnpc polycounter lvl 12
    Hi all
    I can vouch for Jack on the Foundry's support, I teach Mari at Escape studios in London and Jack has come in many times to talk to our students about Mari.

    He also implemented a environment shader module after I requested it and we are and educational establishment not a big VFX studio

    I have just finished teaching a week course in Mari and the students love it,none of them had done any 3D painting before and they really took to it

    I only mention price as I know it is a factor in games production, some studios pockets are not as deep as others

    to reiterate
    Mari is a best of class powerful texture painter
    I would download a demo and give it a go

    In my opinion Its missing
    Baking functionality
    Opacity in the viewport
    Easy to load Game shaders



    I hope that helps
  • jgreasley
    If you do a London event I'll come along and say Hi. :)
  • marks
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    marks greentooth
    mrnpc wrote: »
    If there are Games artists in London interested in learning Mari perhaps I can do a workshop here at Escape ( I would have to talk to my boss )

    Depending on the specifics, I'd be interested in that.
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    Already PM'd about it, but count me in!
  • Dataday
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    Dataday polycounter lvl 8
    mrnpc, im sure it makes a difference though that you are in their back yard as opposed to someone/some group thats much farther away.

    I have no doubt about Mari's capability, but I question the accessibility front and how its being presented for a market outside of vfx and film. The market has texturing applications, usually with dual functionality (such as sculpting), ranging between $300-800 tops. Then there's Mari, without that dual functionality going for $2000. Its like its not even trying to compete or it over-values itself, thus I freel strongly if it wants to hit the markets that include the average artist or game focused areas, its going to have to be more accessible and work within/for the other markets.

    I can guarantee you there would be far more profit in quanity of sales if it was priced in the same range as current industry painting applications.
  • jgreasley
    If anyone is at GDC this week and fancies a beer and a chat about Mari let me know.

    I'm going to be in the St Regis Hotel bar this evening between 6-7pm. I'll be wearing a blue shirt with a yellow paint splash on it.

    Come say Hi and I'll grab you a beer.

    You can drop me an email at [email protected].

    We're running demos in a suite as well, so if you want to see some cool stuff let me know and we'll try and slot you in.
  • VisceralD
    noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, I could have gone, and met a pro.
  • VisceralD
    Also Just a suggestion, but having a gallery of fan art on the Mari website would be great to show people what the program can do.
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    Any chance we'd be able to get a sneak peek of what the new update will entail? Would really like to see more stuff like Jeff's video on the PBR shader, looks pretty exciting!
  • jgreasley
    We're holding a webinar this Friday (4th April, 6pm GMT) to go through all of the brand new features in Mari 2.6

    Sign up http://bit.ly/1pypYXg to see all the games goodies 2.6 has in store.
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    Webinar's going on now, the new demo vid looks great too!

    http://vimeo.com/90986118
  • VisceralD
    Ok so I played around with Mari a bit, While I do see a lot of aspects about it that are great. I do think that a lot can be changed to make it more suited for the game industry such as

    1. An Opacity shader option

    2. Having a GOZ type feature to quickly send files to Maya and 3ds max. Setting up a composite shader in 3ds max or maya can take a long time for artists that want to utilize Patches, there should be a function to automate this. Especially sending to Zbrush so that the programs can link versions in mari with subdivision levels in zbrush.

    3. Also all game engines don’t work with patches. It would be nice if when importing multiple OBj files in the same scene if it would automatically move their UV’s in to different patches, Otherwise lets dsay your working on a character with armor and you want different uv’s and textures for the character and the armor. You will either have to texture the various pieces individually, or merge, offset the Uv map, offset them back, unmerge.
  • artquest
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    artquest polycounter lvl 10
    VisceralD wrote: »
    Ok so I played around with Mari a bit, While I do see a lot of aspects about it that are great. I do think that a lot can be changed to make it more suited for the game industry such as

    1. An Opacity shader option

    2. Having a GOZ type feature to quickly send files to Maya and 3ds max. Setting up a composite shader in 3ds max or maya can take a long time for artists that want to utilize Patches, there should be a function to automate this. Especially sending to Zbrush so that the programs can link versions in mari with subdivision levels in zbrush.

    3. Also all game engines don’t work with patches. It would be nice if when importing multiple OBj files in the same scene if it would automatically move their UV’s in to different patches, Otherwise lets dsay your working on a character with armor and you want different uv’s and textures for the character and the armor. You will either have to texture the various pieces individually, or merge, offset the Uv map, offset them back, unmerge.

    1) Agreed, Opacity is always nice.

    2)A goZ style feature would be quite nice.

    3)You don't have to use the multi patch feature, just import multiple obj's into your mari scene and you're all set, each with their own individual 0 to 1 space.
  • VisceralD
    You know your right the first 2 times i tried that it only showed the UV of one object even if i select others. And yeah everyone has GOZ type features like most autodesk products and allgoeithmic products, even Vue.
  • VisceralD
    Another thing that would be great is a way to covert Packets in to sub-material groups. That way Packets can be used in game engines.
  • .Wiki
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    .Wiki polycounter lvl 8
    VisceralD wrote: »
    Setting up a composite shader in 3ds max or maya can take a long time for artists that want to utilize Patches
    Normally you can read those patches with a <udim> or patch tag inside of the file loader.
    For example "weapon_diffuse.UDIM#.exr" or "weapon_diffuse.<udim>.exr". But it depends on the renderer.
    VisceralD wrote: »
    And yeah everyone has GOZ type features like most autodesk products and allgoeithmic products, even Vue.
    Then the alembic support could be useful for you.
  • VisceralD
    What is alembic support?
  • .Wiki
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    .Wiki polycounter lvl 8
    Alembic is a file format which stores models, uvs, pointclouds and animation. You can use it to send files to mari (or other software packages) or update existing files.
    But I guess its not possible to send your files back from mari to maya, softimage or else. But you can´t create UVs or change the geometry in mari so you won´t need this export feature.
  • VisceralD
    Does anyone know how to turn off the pen sensitivity in Mari
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