Tuesday, March 11th, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

Pixar announces RenderMan for Katana

The Foundry’s current ‘What is Katana?’ video. New free Linux plugin RenderMan for Katana makes shaders and other features from Pixar’s RenderMan Pro Server 18 accessible inside the lighting and look dev toolset.

Pixar has announced RenderMan for Katana, a free Linux plugin that provides a “fully integrated bridge” between RenderMan Pro Server and The Foundry’s look development and lighting toolset.

The plugin makes it possible to use RenderMan shaders and new features of RenderMan Pro Server 18 like path tracing and geometric area lights inside Katana.

To use it, you’ll need to run RenderMan Pro Server 18 and Katana 1.5 or 1.6. Katana is only available on Linux, so there are no Windows or Mac OS X versions.

Pixar Animation Studios today announced the release of RenderMan for KATANA, providing a fully integrated bridge between Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning RenderMan feature film quality renderer, and The Foundry’s acclaimed KATANA asset based look development and lighting toolset.

Developed with The Foundry as part of a collaboration announced at SIGGRAPH 2013, Pixar is making RenderMan for KATANA (RfK) freely available to all KATANA users. Key benefits include support for the advanced features in RenderMan Pro Server 18 including path tracing, geometric area lights, enhancements for interactive re-rendering, and a sophisticated shader suite that can be used with both KATANA and RenderMan Studio. In addition, Pixar’s image tool ‘it’, is included as an alternate viewer from within KATANA.

“We are very happy we switched to a RenderMan/KATANA pipeline. The workflow in KATANA is great and the plausible shading in RenderMan is fantastic. The other reason we favor RenderMan is its flexibility. We have confidence that for any given problem we throw at it, there will be a solution,” said Colin Davis, VFX Supervisor/Partner at Spin VFX.

“RenderMan for KATANA leverages the breadth and depth of knowledge within the RenderMan team, alongside the experts at The Foundry, to provide a complete and optimized integration into KATANA. It’s reassuring to know that we’ll have access to new RenderMan features as soon as they’re available within the core renderer and that Pixar is standing behind KATANA as a first class platform for their flagship product,” said Hilmar Koch, Head of CG – Industrial Light & Magic.

“It has been great to see Pixar take ownership of KATANA integration through the RfK plugin. We have seen huge improvements in performance, stability, and features. KATANA now feels like a fluid extension of RenderMan Pro Server. We are happy to be able to focus our efforts on the rendered images rather than plugin development,” said Micah Henrie, Production Technology, Laika.

RenderMan for KATANA is designed to provide every user of The Foundry’s KATANA with fast and easy access to Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning rendering technology used for the stunning visual effects seen in the majority of today’s feature films.

RenderMan for KATANA is available as a free plugin for KATANA users on Linux, and is compatible with RenderMan Pro Server 18 and KATANA versions 1.5 and 1.6. A program of continuing dot release upgrades and support for new versions of RenderMan Pro Server is also available.

Visit the RenderMan website