The Mari radio node system

Tales From Beyond | Mari Radio Node System
Ever since the early days we have transmitted radio waves out into deep space. One day green aliens with intelligence will pick up the remnants of our civilisation. By the time this happens mankind will most certainly be extinct.

How will this tie into texturing in Mari you might ask?

We are in dire need of a sophisticated sharing workflow when texturing and using the node graph in Mari. This is my stab on a workflow that I envision using and it’s not taking any technical limitations in to consideration.

Behold the radio node system!

radionodes2 The Mari radio node system

I envision the radio node system as follows. It would consist of two things, a transmitter and a receiver node that would work together.

Transmitter node

The transmitter would do what the name implies. You could connect anything to the node and broadcast it loud and wide into the Mari ether. The node itself would have a few internal knobs, such as defining the broadcast channel variable and the ability to reveal who is picking up the signal. The idea behind the node is anything you put into the node you can be accessed anywhere in the Node Graph using a receiver node. This would take away the strain of hunting for dot nodes and building autostradas through your node graph.

Radiotransmitter The Mari radio node system

Receiver node

Radio waves in outer space has no purpose unless they get picked up by someone and the receiver node would do just that. You previously declared a variable in the transmitter node and now in the radio receiver node you declare the same variable to connect the dots so to speak. Yes the radio node mechanism would be a glorified dot nod in Mari terms but it could do a few more clever things the dot nod can not achieve. The Radio system would be able to send its signal even inside groups so you can make powerful gizmos and hook up the transmitted channel and effects for use anywhere within Mari. By doing this way will allow you to declutter some aspects of the Mari node graph.

radioreciver The Mari radio node system

A receiver node could pick up multiple bandwidths at the same time. For each bandwidth the output interface of the node would get its own port list output, making it a swiss army node.

transmittersready The Mari radio node system

Taking it a bit further 

What about transceiver backdrop nodes that tie into the radio system? I envision it as the following.  You have declared your effect somewhere in the Mari node graph using the radio node, let’s say an Ambient Occlusion bake, you could use the receiver node mentioned above. If we could make backdrops aware of the radio node system we could also utilize the transmitted channel straight from the backdrop node. I imagine the backdrops as a transceiver that can both receive and broadcast. On the left side of the backdrop you would have  all defined channels as Mari ports. You would declare them by the same variables as in the receiver node.

bacxdroptransiver The Mari radio node system

Here we see the backdrop with ambient occlusion declared and it’s ready to be used.

nodeprop2 The Mari radio node system

The variables would be separated by a comma sign.

Backdrop Transmitter

Similar to the radio transmitter node the backdrop could be utilized to broadcast as well. You can build an effect inside the backdrop using broadcasted effects from elsewhere in the graph. In the end you can declare a transmitted variable in the backdrops node properties field and connect the end result from the content inside the backdrop into the newly created transmitter port. You can then set it up to use it anywhere you need via transmitters or other backdrops. I can see myself building advanced procedural masks inside the backdrop for later use without the clutter of spaghetti node criss crossing throughout the entire graph.

backout The Mari radio node system

Here we see the effect acting as a receiver and transmitter at the same time.

Strength comes with numbers!

Yes I spend a lot of time working in Mari and since I first came across Mari back in 2009 I have hassled The Foundry support team with requests of Node based workflows on numerous occasions and we are now here “in the future”! The node graph has now finally been introduced

My nature is not to stay still and I’m constantly looking to improve my workflows. Easy and powerful sharing is important both to declutter the node graph but also important to speed up node workflows in general. Without it we have to use point nodes to connect everything we want to use and that means a lot of hunting around in the node graph. I want to be able to declare texture effects in a structured manner and whenever I need them I have them ready to access without the hassle to do hyperspace jumps back and forth inside the Mari node graph.

If you like this idea jump over to The Foundry support team and give ticket number TP 172112 – Add Radio Point Nodes a thumbs up. And remember strength comes with numbers, the more people making their voice heard the more likely that we will see a similar workflow being adopted inside Mari!

Fsupport The Mari radio node system

Here is the place to support my cause!

If you found this article interesting or have other ideas how this subject could be resolved just leave a comment below.

Happy Painting


Author: The Mari Channel

Peter Aversten Lead Texture artist and Blogger. Started in the 90s writing about graphic art and 3d in Mac Art & Design and VFX art and design magazines under the collumn The Meshmen. In the 2000s I began my journey within VFX and now working as texture artists and blogging in the subject.

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