Wednesday, November 1st, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Foundry releases Katana 7.0

Foundry has released Katana 7.0, the new version of its lighting and look development software.

The release introduces a new Native USD framework based on the same architecture as Nuke’s new USD-based 3D system, makes Live Rendering “up to twice as fast”, and introduces support for VFX Reference Platform 2023.

The update was released in parallel to another new version of the software, Katana 6.5, which has the same new features, but which is based on VFX Reference Platform 2022.

New Native USD framework streamlines USD workflows
The biggest change in Katana 7.0 are the new USD-native workflows for production pipelines based around the Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD) framework.

Although Katana has been able to import USD data for some years now, the new Native USD framework – based on the same low-level architecture as Nuke’s new USD-based 3D system – should provide better performance when working with very large production assets.

It comes with new nodes for creating and manipulating USD Stages, and should also be more customisable, with studios able to build custom nodes and engines, and to integrate their own version of USD in place of Katana’s FnUsd library.

The existing USD framework – which uses the Geolib scene graph processing engine – and the new Native USD framework will be provided in parallel “for the foreseeable future”.

Performance improvements and updates to the Hydra viewer
Updates to existing features include support for OpenVDB volumes in the Hydra viewer.

In addition, Live Rendering is now multi-threaded, making renders “up to twice as fast”.

The Geolib3-MT runtime has been optimised to improve memory management, and now supports three alternative scene caching modes.

Support for the same pipeline standards as Nuke 15.0 and Mari 7.0
For pipeline integration, Katana 7.0 supports the CY2023 specification for the VFX Reference Platform, along with USD 23.05, and Rocky Linux as a successor to CentOS.

Foundry is also supporting the same standards in the latest versions of its other key applications: Nuke 15.0, released last month, and the upcoming Mari 7.0.

Price and system requirements
Katana 7.0 is available for Windows 10 and Rocky Linux 9. The software is now subscription-only.

Since Katana 6.0, the price of Katana Interactive subscriptions has risen to $4,199/year, up $200/year. Katana Render subscriptions cost $323/year, up $15/year.

Read an overview of the new features in Katana on Foundry’s product website

Read a full list of new features in Katana 7.0 in the online release notes

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