Mari 5 is in open beta and it ships with a number of really powerful new features. We seen features like initial USD support, a new USD preview shader as well as the ability to export USD looks to software like Katana, Or hydra based viewports.
Foundry also made improvements to baking speed and this was achieved in collaboration with Weta. I saw speed increases in baking on a 276 UDIM asset in 4k from 3min bake in Mari 4.7 to just above 1 minute in Mari 5. This will on large scale assets on complex networks or channels means a lot of artist time saved in the end.
An old feature request of mine also now saw the light of day in the form of filter bake points, this will help maintain non-linear filter operations in the node graph and will open up workflows not easily possible before.
Node graph also saw improvements where we now have a grid and snapping to the grid. As Well as we can also now tweak the grid background color, not sure why you would do this but hey! That’s cool I guess.
There was also a number of new gradient nodes that will open up more powerful procedural techniques using gradients between locators or objects in the scene. I hope the locator workflow is expanded on in the future as the current locator implementation is clunky at best.
Mari 5 also gets open-colour 2.0 added, its a welcome addition for your VFX pipeline.
All in all its an interesting update and I’m exited to see where the USD workflow will take us next