Q100079: Best practices for sharing and backing up Mari Projects by using Archives and Session Scripts



Artists are often required to share their projects with others, or backup their work to network drives. This article describes when to use each method, and which practices should be avoided to ensure efficiency.


A Mari Project does not consist of a single file. Instead, a Project is a folder that contains a large number of encoded files, which are often called the Mari cache. This structure improves performance and allows Mari to handle massive projects.

The directory where these Project folders are located can be found by selecting Edit > Preferences > Data > Project Location. In a studio context, it can be tempting to set this Project Location to a network drive, so that all artists have access to each others' Projects. Unfortunately, this can cause the following issues:

  • Mari needs to access this cache directory while working on a Project, so if this cache is in a network drive, Mari won't be able to read it as quickly as if the cache was on a local drive. This can lead to performance issues.
  • Network issues or overloads, such as those that can happen during crunch times, can cause irreversible project corruption and loss of work. For this reason, the Project Location cache also shouldn't be used as a backup.

As such, artists should keep their Project Location set to a local drive, such as an SSD on their computer. To efficiently share Project data between computers or network drives, artists can use Archives or Session Scripts instead.


Mari Archives

Mari Archives contain the entire project in a single .mra file. They are a practical, secure, and efficient way to store all the data within a project. This makes them ideal if the user wants to send their Project to another artist who would review or continue the work, and they are also the safest option as project backups. However, archives can become very large files, while Session Scripts can be lighter and provide other advantages.

Note: Archives can be opened through the Open Archives button in the Projects tab. For more information on Archives and how to create one, please refer to the following documentation:

User Guide: Managing Projects


Session Scripts

This method is a convenient way to version and exchange data, as Session Scripts allow artists to easily export chosen parts of a Project that can then be imported into other Projects, such as Light setups, specific Objects, or updated Shaders. As such, they're recommended when the goal is to share only a specific part of the Project to be used by other artists.

Note: Please be aware that there is currently one limitation with Session Scripts, which is described in the Session Scripts section of Mari’s online  documentation:

Additionally, the following documentation describes how to export and import Session Scripts:

Exporting Session Scripts

Importing Session Scripts



If you are experiencing difficulties or have any workflow questions, please create a Support ticket and provide us with the information requested in this article:

Q100090: Information to send to Support when reporting a Mari issue

For more information on how to open a Support request, please refer to this article:

Q100064: How to raise a support ticket

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