The Foundry issued a press release today formally detailing their plans for KATANA. Created in house at Sony Pictures Imageworks, KATANA is a look development tool specifically targeted towards to the demands of production: non-destructive, dealing with large amounts of data, and collaboration’

At the end of last year, fxguide traveled to SIGGRAPH Asia and caught up with Matt Plec to get more details about the software. You can watch the full interview in episode #98 of fxguidetv. Click through for the press release from The Foundry.


London, January 5th, 2011 – Leading visual effects software developer, The Foundry (www.thefoundry.co.uk), today provided an insight into their plans for KATANA.

KATANA is an environment for preparing 3D assets for rendering. It allows artists to define and control look and lighting whilst maintaining performance with very large datasets. KATANA operates non-destructively using a rule-based approach, allowing modeling, look development, animation and lighting teams to work in parallel.

Originally developed in house at Sony Pictures Imageworks to handle increasingly complex workflows on productions such as Spider-Man and Superman Returns, the commercial development of KATANA was taken on by The Foundry in November 2009 as part of a unique collaboration between the two companies.

The Foundry’s engineering effort, in consultation with a broad range of users, is ensuring KATANA becomes a flexible product that can ultimately integrate with any pipeline and any renderer in any facility.

These consultations have now developed into much more in-depth collaborations with a number of key sites including MPC and Digital Domain who are now using KATANA in alpha.

“Since creation KATANA has been one of the pillars of the production pipeline here at Imageworks and continues to prove itself on such rigorous productions as G-Force, Watchmen, Alice in Wonderland and animated features such as Monster House, Surf¹s Up, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and The Smurfs.

“We are excited to see KATANA cutting its teeth outside the halls of Imageworks and becoming available for artists and facilities everywhere. The Foundry is a tremendous partner and by broadening the adoption of KATANA and product support, a new generation of artists and productions can benefit from this innovative production-proven technology.”

-Rob Bredow, Chief Technology Officer, Sony Pictures Imageworks

“Many brilliant technical innovations come out of production, but historically those breakthroughs remain only within the production company.  The Foundry works with digital studios to make those innovations widespread, which benefits the entire industry.  I look for KATANA to have a similar impact on the industry that Nuke has achieved.”

-Cliff Plumer, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Domain.

“Like most large VFX studios, we maintain a complex suite of proprietary software to enable us to render ever increasing complexity, quantity and visual quality. We are excited about KATANA’s potential to offer a solid, flexible, off-the-shelf foundation that we can build upon so that we can focus more of our efforts on what we do best, pushing the boundaries of CG, trusting The Foundry to do what they do best, delivering high quality, scalable software.”

-Davie Johnston, Director of Technology, MPC

As the first grup sex commercial dedicated scene development tool, KATANA will enable facilities large and small to build highly scalable lighting pipelines without a large internal engineering effort.

KATANA is scheduled for commercial release in 2011.


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2 Responses to Foundry Formally Announces KATANA Plans

  1. Its nice to see Sony working so nicely with Foundry. KATANA and Arnold will make awesome match. : )

    Posted by Juhani Karlsson on
  2. I’m skeptical about Katana’s commercial release for three reasons.

    One, aside from being a software, Katana is also a business model; it dictates how things should be done, and I think not all studios would necessary agree.
    Two, I think a software like Katana that talks between software packages always needs much tech support no matter how user friendly you turn it into, particularly if you have in-house tools. Studios must choose between maintaining a large tech dept or constantly going back to Foundry.
    Three, I suspected that SPI was originally seeking 2d compositing addition to Katana when they sold it to Foundry. One could guess from their using Bonsai to Katana then to Nuke recently for compositing. I remembered it was Foundry and SPI original plan to combine Nuke with Katana.

    In conclusion, I think Katana is a great software and a good way of doing things and has served SPI well for years, but I don’t see it as marketable as Nuke.

    Posted by H. Wang on

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