The Foundry today launched KATANA 1.0, a newly flexible version of the node-based technology it acquired from Sony Pictures Imageworks in 2009. The look development and lighting tool lets VFX artists share lighting setups across sequences by giving them access to the lighting "recipe" that generates scene data as they assemble scenes, not the highly complex, compute-taxing scene data itself. KATANA lets artists update shots even after they are in progress and take advantage of more than one renderer, where the full scene data is read, from each render pass to the next.
When The Foundry acquired KATANA two years ago from Sony Pictures Imageworks, where it has been in use since 2004, it was seen as an obvious companion to NUKE. The new version, like NUKE, uses nodes to specify assets, such as 3D scene files, users want to import or filters they want to use. It also plays well with renderers like Pixar's RenderMan and the newer Arnold, another technology originally developed at SPI. The Foundry says it rebuilt this newly commercial version of KATANA with extensive APIs so that it integrates easily with a facility's existing pipeline and shader libraries.
At the time of today's launch, The Foundry announced that Industrial Light & Magic had purchased a site license of the software and was already using it in both its San Francisco and Singapore facilities. “We worked closely with The Foundry over the past year on specific features and functionality we wanted to see in KATANA and after implementing it in production, we believe the package shows great promise and we look forward to our continuing relationship with The Foundry as we integrate technologies such as KATANA into our production pipeline," ILM's John Knoll said in a prepared statement.
For now, KATANA runs only on Linux (specifically, the CentOS/RHEL 5.4 qualified version). The Foundry says it is looking into the viability of other OS versions.
For more information: www.thefoundry.co.uk