The Foundry's texture-painting software Mari is the latest VFX tool to be released in a free, unwatermarked version for non-commercial use.

The company said artists can use Mari Non-commercial as a learning tool, as well as for working on personal projects including material for demo reels.

The release of Mari Non-commercial follows the launch at NAB last year of Nuke Non-commercial.

"With our non-commercial products, we want to give artists all the time they need to get familiar with the software," said The Foundry's chief product officer, Andy Whitmore, in a prepared statement. "They can work on personal projects such as making their demo reels stand out from the crowd, or simply use our extensive free tutorials to thoroughly learn the software — for as long as it takes."

Is there a catch? Well, yes — the free version is somewhat feature-limited. Export texture resolution is limted to 4K and 16 bits per channel; export formats are limited to PSD, PNG, TGA, and JPG/JPEG (TIF/TIFF, HDR, DDS and PTX are not supported); Python scripting and Session Scripts are disabled; UV texture patches are limited to six per object; custom shaders are unsupported, and the software can work with a maximum of five objects at once. The free version's project files are also incompatible with the commercial version of Mari. Working within those parameters, however, the functionality is said to be the same as the full version.

Like its commercial counterpart, Mari is officially supported on Max OS X 10.9.5/Mavericks or higher; Windows 7 64-bit or higher, and Linux 64-bit (CentOS/RHEL 6). MARI Non-commercial is available for free download now.