3D scene assembly, lighting and look development

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.

Production proven, Academy Sci-Tech Award winning technology
Originally created at Sony Pictures Imageworks almost ten years ago, KATANA has been used on more than 30 productions, including Men in Black 3, The Amazing Spider-Man and Oz the Great and Powerful. In recognition of their work, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the original creators of KATANA, Imageworks engineers Steve LaVietes, Brian Hall and Jeremy Selan, a prestigious Academy Technical Achievement Award on 9th February 2013 in Los Angeles.

Flexible and highly scalable, KATANA is a framework for lighting & look development in an asset-based workflow, offering speed and efficiency to meet the needs of even the most demanding CG Features and VFX Films.

KATANA allows artists to create re-usable ‘recipes’ for the look development of an asset or lighting of a shot. Recipes are made up of filters describing lights, materials and rules to assign them to objects, and because each recipe is re-usable artists are able to automatically apply them across any number of shots. Now assets can be easily updated through the pipeline and the ability to re-use lights, rules and sets of materials in different shots makes creating asset variation simpler too.

KATANA’s natural node-based approach means custom pipelines for 3D scenes can be constructed as easily as a compositing script.

KATANA uses deferred processing, uniquely from inside the renderer at render time, meaning it can handle incredibly high scene complexity. Data is only processed as it is requested by the renderer, it’s on-demand data processing.

KATANA is open to all renderers. Renderers can be added to KATANA as plug-ins, and custom renderers can be integrated as deeply as supported ones. With custom shaders, procedurals, deferred processing and instancing KATANA’s framework can really unleash the full power of modern production rendering.

Globally adopted
KATANA is becoming the solution of choice, not just for large studios like Imageworks, Digital Domain, ILM and The Moving Picture Company, but also for smaller mid-sized studios and boutique facilities including Mikros Image in Paris, Fido in Stockholm, Newbreed Visual Effects in Montreal and most recently the famous Tippett Studio in Emeryville, CA. Other facilities to adopt include LAIKA, SPIN VFX and Reliance MediaWorks.

For more info about all things Katana, please click here.

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