Katana 4.0 Reveal Shows Major New Features Coming Fall 2020
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The leading company for creative media and entertainment software Foundry has a look under the hood of Katana 4.0The groundbreaking new update of the rendering software is planned for autumn 2020.

Jordan Thistlewood, Director of Product – Pre-Production, LookDev & Lighting, and Gary Jones, Associate Product Manager – Katana, gave a sneak peek at some of the key features of Katana 4.0 during their recent Foundry Live event.

Thistlewood found Foundry's product development always focused on performance, so the technology embedded in the software met the needs of both artists and pipeline developers. He said that the main concern and drive of Foundry's katana team was building on katana's ability to handle complexity and volume. A main goal remains to turn a largely TD-oriented workflow into a digital cinematography platform that is based on artist tools.

"Katana 4.0 is the culmination of the work we started with the Katana 3 series to transform the light artist's UX from a technical" old school "process to a rich, modern, audience-based approach," he commented . "We took this direction because we believe that the measures to realize an idea should be as simple as talking about the idea – and that our software facilitates the creative flow of the artist with just a few clicks."

Thistlewood further explained that the pipeline world is changing and scalability is becoming increasingly important. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the inherently difficult work even more difficult. Customers are increasingly concerned with topics such as remote work by artists, cloud computing, central infrastructure and PCoIP.

According to Thistlewood and Jones, who are illustrated in a series of video clips, key features of the Katana 4.0 fall release include:

  • Support for all rendering plugins
  • Improvements to the viewer, including direct interaction with the scene through rendered images.
  • The program introduces a new lighting mode that provides workflows based on traditional cinematography.
  • Support for light interactions directly above the image so that artists can respond more precisely to the art direction.

  • Two functions that are separate but closely related: multiple simultaneous rendering and a scalable interactive network rendering that has yet to be named.
    • Multiple simultaneous renderings allow an artist to perform multiple tasks across shots, assets, frames, or any variation of results that they want to see to respond to creative decisions and artistic direction.
    • This way, artists don't have to stop and wait for the next render.
  • The MSR's ability to operate the MSR extremely is Katana 4's ability to use machines on the network to render interactive renderings directly into the Katana 4 user interface.
  • An interactive katana session can be scaled, at least linearly, by the number of machines that a studio provides to an artist to control its rendering. This can be a second machine under your desk or a dynamic pool of render farm machines that are only assigned to artists during the day through a company's existing render farm management system.
  • Not only can it trigger multiple renderings, it can also queue them so that they can run on computers that are not on the network.
  • You can use a small pool of machines for interactive rendering during the day and back to the render farm to deliver daily newspapers for the next day.

Katana 4.0 will be available in the fall on the Foundry website.

Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is the editor and editor-in-chief of Animation World Network.


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