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KATANA is a 3D application specifically designed for the needs of look development and lighting in an asset based pipeline. Essentially KATANA is a system that allows you to define what you want to render using filters that can create and modify 3D scene data.
KATANA's user interface is designed to be the primary application for artists to use for all their 3D look development and lighting needs. KATANA also provides a rich set of more technical tools for power users and TDs and pipeline integrators.
The supplied renderer plug-ins are compiled and tested against these versions. Minor version increments of PRMan and Arnold may work, as long as they are API compliant with the supported versions.
To use a version of PRMan or Arnold other than those listed above, you may need to recompile the renderer plug-in.
To expose new features and portions, you may need to modify the renderer plug-in.
Using a version of PRMan or Arnold other than those listed above may produce unexpected behavior. Please note that we can only guarantee to respond to Katana bug reports when they are reproducible with the supplied versions of the renderer plug-in.
KATANA is production proven on over 20 shows since 2004 at Sony Pictures Imageworks, however it's not your standard boxed product and requires integration with your current workflow. To discuss your requirements please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or register your interest by completing our online KATANA Site Survey.
Initially KATANA will only be supported on 64-bit Linux. The official qualified version of Linux is CentOS/RHEL 5.4 .
KATANA was designed and developed in-house at Sony Pictures Imageworks, starting in 2004, as no commercial solution offered the scalable asset based workflows required by high end production. Over the next 5 years it was used on over 20 shows, and in 2009 The Foundry elected to share technologies with Sony Pictures Imageworks, in order to bring KATANA to to the wider post production community.
For more information, read the press release:
KATANA pricing is bespoke to each customer dependent upon requirements, please contact email@example.com to discuss your requirements.
Due to the unique nature of KATANA we will not be offering trial or rental options online. To discuss your requirements please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The KATANA user interface has a natural node-based approach, in many ways appearing similar to node-based compositing packages such as NUKE. Nodes are used to specify assets (such as Alembic files) the user wants to bring in, what filters the user want to use, output nodes for renders, and any dependencies between renders.
No. If you want to use Pixar's RenderMan or Arnold with KATANA you need to already have them as standalone renderers.
In KATANA 1.1 we aren't providing our own shader library, so you will have to provide your own shaders or shaders that come with the renderers. This is in line with the needs of most large VFX and CG Feature animation companies that have their own extensive shader libraries. We will be looking to provide our own shaders at some point in the future.
Currently Pixar's Photorealistic RenderMan (16.x) and Arnold (3.3.x and 4.0.x) are the two officially supported renderers. We are working on supporting some additional renderers.
Very much so. KATANA was originally created by Sony Pictures Imageworks where it has been used for both CG Feature and VFX productions since 2004.
KATANA has filter functions that allow all the classic operations usually done in look development and lighting, such as:
A rich set of APIs are provided with KATANA to integrate with existing pipelines. In particular there are APIs to integrate render farm and asset management systems into KATANA.
The principle here is that we don't need to load all the scene data to light it. In KATANA , we are creating the recipe that will allow the scene data to be generated rather than directly authoring the scene data itself. It is only the renderer that needs to be able to see all the scene data, and only when it needs it. In KATANA we provide access to any part of the scene data to the user if the user needs to work on it, such as to set an override deep in the hierarchy or examine what attribute values are getting set, but the user can work by only having a small subset of the whole scene data open at a time. This is the key to how KATANA can deal with scenes of potentially unlimited complexity.
We recommend using Alembic, the open source format for geometry caching and 3D data interchange from ILM and Sony Picture Imageworks, as it's almost ideally designed to work with KATANA. In particular Alembic is very efficient at delivering data as it is requested on-demand, which works ideally with KATANA's approach.
KATANA has its own format called 'Look Files' to hold data such as what materials to use on an asset and which material may need to be bound to any particular piece of geometry. In Look Development you bake out Look Files that represent the materials and assignments that need to be applied to the 'naked' asset, and in lighting Look Files can be assigned to assets to re-apply that data.
KATANA Look Files can also be used to hold data such as show and shot standards for image resolutions and anti-aliasing settings for different render passes, along with other data such as what output channels (AOVs) to use and any renderer specific settings such as PRMan shading rates.
As well as traditional 'Macros' to allow users to wrap up a number of nodes into a single one, KATANA allows you to also create 'Live Groups' to share nodes between different shots. Essentially a Live Group is a dynamically created macro to create nodes in KATANA, so if the macro is updated every scene that references it will get the update too.
Yes. The output of KATANA's filters is simply 3D scene data in a per-frame iterable form. This can potentially be used for other output processes.
KATANA is designed to be a very configurable system, with support for Python and PyQt. Python can be used in a number of ways including:
Two C++ APIs are provided to create new KATANA filters: