Join Mikey Rogers for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting the cache and adjusting settings for best performance, part of Learning MARI.
- We'll get started by making sure we're working in an organized manner, with all of our files in the proper folder structure. So, for this project we'll be working from an external solid state drive, which is ideal for MARI. The faster the drive, the better. And so, let's go ahead and set up our MARI cache. And to do that, we'll go ahead and click this plus button up here in the top right and rename it to something understandable like cache. And just double-click it and say Choose, and that's going to go ahead and set this project and any future MARI project's cache into that directory.
So go ahead and launch MARI. And we're given this default example project and go ahead and just right click on that and delete it. We don't need it any more. We're going to be working with something much cooler. So, if you click on New, you'll see this New Project window come up, and under the Geometry section we'll click on the arrow here to the right, which will allow us to pick the mesh that we're going to be working with for the remainder of this project. This one's called waterwell.obj So click that and select Open.
And all the defaults here are suitable for what we need. You don't need to change anything. So, go ahead and select OK, and MARI will go ahead and name the project based on the name of the OBJ as well. So just a few things before we get started. We do have our OBJ here in the scene, and it's cool. It leaves a little bit to be desired but we'll make it shine in the coming movies. If you go up here and click on MARI and click Preferences, we just want to set a few key options over here to sort of optimize MARI.
We need to change our memory settings. It's a very resource-intensive program, and we just need to make sure that it's running at optimal quality. So, if you go to data and scroll down to the projects section, we have something called Max Memory, and your defaults may vary based on how you have MARI set up, but a general rule of thumb is keeping it at 80% of your system memory. And so, for our system that we are working on here it's 32 gigabytes, and 80% of that is 25.6.
So I went ahead and entered that in this section here. Ideally, you want your GPU memory the same amount. Now, MARI maxes out its GPU memory to one gigabyte, so if you have something less than a gigabyte, you'll want to do 80% of that. For our purposes here, we have a four gigabyte machine, so this maxes out at one gigabyte. So one gigabyte is fine. If you go to your open CL tab here, this just instructs MARI to use certain CPU and GPU instructions to sort of optimize it.
If your hardware can handle it, you'll see your graphics card listed here, and your CPU listed here, and by default it'll usually say disabled. If you can say Use, go ahead and click on each one of these and click Use. Finally, if you're finding that your UI is a little bit claustrophobic, and you need to increase your toolbar size or font size, the way the icons show up, those sorts of things, you can do it in this section here. If you click the box Use Custom Font Size, you can use this slider here to sort of increase and decrease the font size that MARI uses to your liking.
But I'll go ahead and just keep the default. Additionally, there's toolbar size that will kind of change the way that your icons will be laid out on the screen in your user interface. But, we'll go ahead and leave it at 20 for this lesson. So we can go ahead and say OK and save those settings. And so, speaking of UI, right now I sort of have MARI in th layout that I like to work in. There's a slew of options up here that you can sort of turn on and off, things like Brush Editor, Lights, Layers, those sorts of things.
So if we go up here and say View and Default Layout, yours will probably look something like this. But it looks, again, very claustrophobic. There's extra options up here that we don't really need. And so, if you want to go ahead and start removing some of these and customizing the layout the way that you need it, if you click on an empty area up here at the top, you can right-click and sort of start turning on and off options. Like ptex, we don't really need. Things like mirroring and vector painting, and you'll see as I'm sort of selecting and deselecting those, they'll appear and disappear in this area up here.
Additionally, we'll want to turn on things like lights that we'll use in later lessons. We'll show you how to set up lights in your lighting environment. Objects will sort of give a little pallet on different OBJs that we have in the scene and we can sort of manipulate its settings here. There are also things like tool properties, and you'll see that as I'm selecting those they'll pop up in different areas in the user interface. What's really cool though is you can kind of grab the title bar of one of them and drag it out and sort of undock it from the user interface.
And you can resize the window if you need to or move it over to a different area. You'll see a little outline indicating that it'll dock in that area. And it'll join the other user interface elements on this side as a tab. And again, you can drag it out or you can click this icon here to sort of pop it out and move it to wherever you need, or even close it. I'll go ahead and save my preferred layout for you all, but in order to load it up, if you go up to view and say Load Layout, you can browse to where the layouts are saved and this one is just called Up And Running With MARI.
If you click on that and say Open, you can see that we have the pallets and everything sort of in an ideal situation, kind of how I like to work. One final thing that I want to point out is when we load up our OBJ, if you zoom in you can kind of see what we call faceting in the model where there's very straight and jagged edges, and when it comes to lighting and rendering, the lighters usually do a smooth operation on the model. That's also something that the modeller with do.
When he's modelling, he'll kind of do a smooth mesh preview using things like open subdivision support, and we want to mimic that process in the texture painting pipeline. Something cool with MARI 3.0 is we can sort of bring that unsubdivided model into our scene and subdivide it in our MARI file. That's different in how previous versions used to work where you needed to sort of subdivide it in third-party package and then bring that in, and it's just a very heavy, convoluted workflow.
And so, they've simplified that. If you click on your object up here, if you go ahead and right-click on it and say subdivide, you'll be given this little window here that will allow you to choose your subdivision levels. In addition to the type of subdivision, Catmull-Clark is sort of a widely used subdivision scheme in the visual effects industry. And so really, we can just kind of leave these at he default settings and say okay. And nothing happened yet, but if we go ahead and come back in here again, and scroll down with our objects selected, you'll see down here a subdivision as a section that has levels.
And if you click on the level and go from zero to one, you'll see that the model's magically smoothed and sort of gives you a better representation of what it will look like at rendered time. So we can swap back and forth between the two and see the change in effect as we're going from zero subdivisions to one subdivision. And this basically allows us to paint on the model smoothed, and ensure that it's not going to stretch our textures when it comes to rendering the object at render time.
Now that we've got a nice, clean working environment and our model in the scene, we can start to let the creative juices flow. Since creativity doesn't happen in an enclosed box, let's check out some reference and get some ideas for our asset.
This course will guide members through the ins and outs of this essential visual effects tool. Author Mikey Rogers, a CG artist who has worked on eye-catching spots for Nike, Google, and Sony, covers everything from initial model import and scene setup to channel and layer creation and export. He also touches on shader creation inside of MARI, which allows you to view your work in a physically accurate environment using HDR lights. The course closes with a series of projects that demonstrate real-world workflows for painting different wood and stone textures.
- Adjusting the cache and other MARI settings for best performance
- Working with adjustment and procedural layers
- Using and customizing the default MARI brushes
- Transforming and warping the paint buffer
- Using different projection modes
- Dynamic masking
- Making a tileable texture
- Repurposing diffuse maps
- Painting wood and stone
- Exporting channels
- Saving out and importing MARI archives