One of Mari's biggest shortcomings is its UI and UX. In this page I have collected a lot of UI and UX requests that would improve the quality of life of Mari artists with the help of friends and colleagues. These range from very small tweaks to large changes in Mari's UI and UX. Each of them would affect the user experience of the artist positively and make using Mari more pleasant and enjoyable. Some of these may have reasons for not existing already or may have already been explained. These are in no order.
1. Floating panes per node
The ability to open a nodes parameters in a floating pane independent of the Node Properties palette would be extremely useful and would increase productivity. For example, right clicking on a HSV node and opening its parameters in a floating pane so you always have access to that while also being able to continue working with the other parameters in the Node Properties palette as usual.
2. Mask input for adjustment nodes
Having to merge changes adjustments into the stream works but isn't very intuitive, having a mask input for the adjustment nodes like HSV, Levels, Color Lookup would be great.
3. Creating dot nodes in the center of a connection
Currently, the option to place a dot node when holding Ctrl is only available half way through a connections total length. This can be very annoying when you have a very long connection and want to place a dot node in it. The option to place a dot node when holding Ctrl should be for the middle of any connection relative to that connections length on the Node Graph palette. Exactly like how Nuke does it. Doing this the same way that Katana does it by letting you hover over a connection and press the dot button to place a dot node there would also work.
4. Image manager image resizing
There should be a few different options for image sizes in the image manager.
5. Palette distinction from rest of UI
When you have a palette open, there is no color outline or even a drop shadow to distinguish it from the rest of the UI so it can be difficult to find the edge of that palette. The image manager is the biggest culprit of this.
6. Pushing updates to material default values
When you have a Mari Material with a parameter exposed, to expose a value as the default you need to un-expose and then re-expose that parameter to have that value be the new default in the material. This causes you to break whatever layout you had in your materials exposed parameters and is really frustrating. There should be a way to push an update to the materials defaults without having to re-expose the parameter. Maybe something like a ctrl + click on the wrench?
7. Katana style exposing of parameters
The current way Mari handles the exposing of parameters is a bit clunky and not very intuitive. Katana on the other hand handles this very well and I think if Mari handled the exposing of parameters like Katana does it would not only make the user experience better but it would also tie the two software's together better as it would allow artists to transfer knowledge from one to the other.
8. Larger, cleaner palette buttons
Goes without saying that the palette buttons are extremely small and in dire need of a refresh. The new shelf has better palette buttons that I think should be applied to all other palettes too.
9. Place new nodes on screen
Currently, when you create a new node, more times than not it creates the node off screen where you have to look for it. This is very frustrating. Having the node be placed where the mouse is (or as close as possible without overlapping other nodes) would greatly reduce this frustration.
10. Native high DPI scaling
11. Stop Mari pulling attention to itself when in background and doing tasks
When launching Mari and or a project inside of Mari, I and others like to other things in other programs while the project or Mari loads - especially on large projects. Currently, Mari keeps pulling itself to the foreground even though it is not yet ready for input. Making it so that Mari does not pull itself to the foreground until it is completely ready for input from the user would also improve the user experience.
12. Allow continuing to work while certain tool tabs are open
When some tools are open you cannot do anything unless you close that tool. The biggest one that comes to mind is the color picker from a color node for example. It would be great if you could have the color picker from the color node (or anything like this scenario) open, and also do other things such as pan the camera, move around the node graph, make other changes etc.
13. Katana style nodes
One of the cool things about Katana's nodes in the NMC is that they show both the node type and the nodes custom name. This would be very helpful to also have in Mari as I often find myself having to type what the node is after the name I give it to remind myself of it, for example "Accent Plating HSV"
14. New node addition should scroll to top of Node Properties
When you're at the bottom of the Node Properties panel and you double click on a new node to view its properties the Node Properties palette should scroll all the way to the top to reveal the properties of the newly double clicked node.
15. Ability to custom color nodes manually
Having an option that lets you choose a custom color for a node would be greatly helpful. This would require a nodes redesign so that the different node types (paint nodes, bake nodes etc.) can still be distinguishable at a glance.
16. UI for exporting textures
Currently when you are exporting textures the entire Mari UI freezes besides a tiny bar at the bottom right indicating the state of Mari. A new section of the export manager showing exactly what is being exported and what percentage it is at currently would be very helpful.
17. Full names of channels in Materials and Multi-channel merge
Having the full names of channels (or exports) in Materials, Multi-channel merge, bake etc. would be very helpful as it can be quite annoying trying to find out what each of the outputs are based on just the letters.
18. Larger connection ports when zoomed out
Make connection ports larger for easier connecting of nodes when further zoomed out.
19. Palette fade out
Palettes being opened from the right Side Menu fade out when the mouse moves away from them but quite jarringly pop back up even if the 'fade out' is already past 70%. There should be a minimum 'opaqueness' to the palettes before they don't come back again when the mouse moves over them
20. Dragging a non-pinned palette from its default location should automatically pin it
21. Shader Streams cannot be activated/deactivated from the node graph. You always need to go to the Shaders Palette. There should be a way to do this in the node graph.
22. Node presets
There should be a way for us to save a nodes settings into a reusable preset. Similar to filter presets.
23. UI in full screen mode
When Mari is closed in full screen mode, new session does not bring back the UI back as it was configured. Second issue is that once you start building your UI in a full screen mode (space) and press space, entire UI gets reset to full screen. Would be nice if Mari could save the UI no matter what mode you are on
24. Multi-monitor borders
If you have multi monitor setup and the resolution is not big enough, Mari tabs are going through monitor borders to another monitors making some part of the tabs not accessible through monitor you are working on. Would be lovely to get Mari stick to on monitor until multi setup is supported correctly.
25. Node connection cutting
A way to cut connections similar to what Maya has.
26. Ability to change multiple values with a shortcut slider instead of inputting numbers manually.
27. Ability to “enable” or “disable” all channels in the Multi-channel merge and Multi channel bake point nodes.
Having to go through manually and untick all the channels in a shader as complex as PxrSurface takes a lot of time.
28. Tab menu in the nodegraph to be smarter.
Nuke has a very nice and smart tab menu that weighs your entries and even allows you to set favorite nodes that show up first. The addition of hitting tab and having the previously searched for node already be filled in so you can just hit tab again and have that same node appear is incredibly useful too.