Welcome to the Mari Node Master Training Series. I made this training video to teach that nodes are much more powerful than layers, and that we can achieve everything we want, plus a lot more, with nodes. If you’re a texture artist, or a Mari enthusiasm, I think you’ll find this very useful and interesting.
You may be asking, why should I use nodes rather than layers?
With layers, you can make something very nice. That’s true. But with nodes, you can improve organization 100 fold. It will improve your efficiency, workflow; it’ll give you a greater understanding of problem solving, how to fix problems, and all of this will improve time management.
Using nodes exposes your workflow, making it easier to remember what you’ve done and how you did it, but also makes teaching and training easier as well.
Using nodes also makes it much easier and quicker to address feedback from clients and supervisors. For example, if they ask you’re asked to fix a piece of the head or the shoulders, you can go straight to the area where you were working on the head and fix it very quickly.
Unlike layers, with nodes you can see where everything is and where everything is coming from. You can see which assets are sharing connections. Everything is very well labeled and organized, so you’re never lost, even if you have hundreds of nodes!
In this video, we’ll start off creating a diffuse for the body and the head and create a custom node graph to isolate specific areas of the face. On top of that, we’re going to be adding some decals and damage to the decals. We’ll be isolating these changes in specific places, so that if you want to go back and change something, you can change them in those exact areas where you started it. This way, you can just make a couple of changes, as opposed to trying to fix something on the top of everything within layers.
We’ll look at doing this with the body, legs, arms, and from that we’ll create a specular light and a bump as well.
Towards the end of the training video, there is a more advanced section where we’ll look at creating a blur, transforming, offsetting, and isolating an alpha. We’ll do this by combining nodes together, which is really the power of using nodes.
After that, we’ll look at creating a custom edge extender. For example, imagine you have a decal and you want to be able to extend it with the click of a button as opposed to repainting everything.
We’ll look at creating an edge detect so we have control over the color of the edges.
We’ll look at creating custom curvatures. The power of nodes is that if something doesn’t exist, we can create it ourselves. By doing this, we’re learning how to develop tools that we can use in our pipeline.
For a bit of fun, we’ll look at how to create a key and how to create a de-spill inside of Mari. You might think keying and de-spilling inside Mari is excessive - but it’s not - because this way you can cut something out or change a color of semi-transparent areas and everything blends in so much better. This video is really looking at giving you complete control of every aspect of your texturing. Isolating, controlling colors, sharing assets. Everything you can’t do with layers.
If you like Mari, you will find this very interesting. Not only that, it will help you improve your workflow and problem solving skills. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
The Foundry Mari
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Jonathan has worked in VFX for over 10 years and has had many different roles. He is currently teaching 2D and 3D with full-time and part-time VFX courses at Escape Studios, London’s elite training facility. He is also a member of the VFX society. He has worked in 2D and Comp and as comp supervisor in Hengdian, China, plus he has developed training videos on Matte Painting in Nuke. His filmography includes Prometheus, Narnia, Dredd, Star Wars, the finale of the Harry Potter series, Men in Black 3, and Dark Shadows. Among this impressive list of films and even though he is lecturing full-time, Jonathan has found the time to create training videos that shed some light into his teachings in 3D, VFX, and Comp. His training topics range from Concept Art, Modelling, Texturing, Lighting, Render, Prep, and then Comping. Jon's favorite weapons of choice are Nuke, Silhouette, Maya, Zbrush, Mudbox, Mari, 3D Equalizer, and Photoshop: pretty much the whole VFX pipeline stored in his brain. He has recently released training videos on sculpting and texturing in Mudbox and has now developed a training video about speed painting in Photoshop. In Jonathan’s latest video, he explores and dissects the methodology behind concept art and matte painting in order to take you on a step by step guide through the creation of some fantastic speed paintings. In Jonathan’s teachings, he uses a variety of software tools to demonstrate the limitless styles that can be created.