Quite a few years ago now I made a feature request with Foundry and also a video on the Youtube channel, where I was talking about something I used to use back in the day in Renderman and SLIM.
The concept was broadcasters and receivers nodes. The idea was to create something similar for Mari as working with Nodes can be quite disorienting and result in what I call Mari spaghettification.
You can get spaghettification if you share the same nodes in multiple places.
Node connections go all over the place, I wanted specialized nodes to help declutter the Node graph.
The idea was to introduce a node handling broadcasting, you would basically declare a name and using a specialized receiver node you could, wherever you were in a graph listen to this variable and pick it up.
Basically, you could have noodles connecting to multiple places and hide the number of connecting noodles.
Here is the original Youtube video where I pitched the idea to Foundry for my feature request.
As we all know developing software takes time and I was not expecting this to happen overnight.
Luckily Jens Kafits from Mari extension pack Jumped on the idea and within a few weeks I was already testing the first version of what later came to be known as the radio nodes in Mari extension pack.
I Thought problem solved let’s move along,
But one thing was always nagging me when I created Youtube videos for the community.
I end up using workflows that I personally have acquired throughout my now over 20 years career within VFX and texturing / Lookdev.
I got questions like where I find the radio nodes?
coming from artists wanting to learn Mari and I constantly have to say.
You need extension pack to do this!
It’s not great from a learning perspective, as I do want to teach artists the workflows I expect them to know If I would hire them.
I guess this also boils down to the current barrier in Mari where we don’t really have an indie version to practice/ learn.
Sure you have Mari non-commercial but It’s quite limited and does not support the loading of plugins.
Anyone using Mari would know if you are used to using Mari and the extension pack, it’s quite obvious when you don’t have the extension pack.
Most of the workflows we take for granted are just not working!
Now back to the main subject!
I’m now happy to announce to all artists!
At least I don’t have to say, you need the extension pack to do this!
This is cause we recently saw the introduction of native Broadcaster nodes in Mari.
To some extent, the new broadcasters are even more powerful than Jens radio system as they now also natively take away the barrier the radio nodes did have.
The radio system only works on the same level of the node graph!
here is a Video where I dissect the new broadcasters more in-depth
The radio is almost dead!
Now before I end. Something that was actually working in the radio systems’ favor when building materials was the fact it did not work cross-node graph levels!
Let me explain.
If I build materials and set up templates, where I define names broadcasted within the material, I only want them to work locally.
As otherwise I need to define unique names for each material and that would contradict making templates in the first place.
I already filed a ticket to be able to localize broadcasters and until that happens I will continue to use radio nodes within Mari materials.