Over the last few months, The Foundry’s look development and lighting tool for the VFX Industry, KATANA, has found itself adopted by a growing number of studios around the world.
Originally developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks, but purchased and commericialised by The Foundry, KATANA is quickly proving itself to be the solution of choice, not just for large studios like SPI, Digital Domain, ILM and MPC, but also for smaller mid-sized studios and boutique facilities.
The list of clients currently using KATANA now includes the like of the Californian-based Tippett Studio, who recently worked on Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 and Ted. “We really looked at KATANA as a game changer for us,” says Sanjay Das, CTO at Tippett. “Pipeline is key to our operation and we need to push shots through it fast. KATANA fits the mentality of the way we work. It provides us with industrial strength architecture and is a great foundation to which we can add our own tools. Once integrated it will replace around 50% of our existing pipeline and in the long term we expect it will improve our proficiency by at least 20%. This kind of streamlining means that KATANA will literally pay for itself.”
Parisian studio Mikros Image has also adopted KATANA, currently using it on the CG feature Astérix and the Land of the Gods. “KATANA is going to help us to have a more pragmatic approach to the lighting pipeline and at the same time we expect for it to give lighting artists a smoother and more intuitive working environment, especially with the node based workflow,” says Mikros CTO Fabrice Macagno. “With KATANA in our pipeline, we will be able to handle large datasets to work in a full asset driven workflow in a collaborative context and to improve the tools available to lighting artists.”
Finally, Canadian studio Newbreed and Swedish studio Fido are just two of the boutique sized set-ups integrating KATANA into their pipeline. “KATANA fulfilled all of our principal requirements regarding look development and lighting work and was very easy to integrate,” says Hubert Maston, CG Supervisor at Newbreed. “KATANA helps artists to spend all of their time working on what is most important; the final image. This only results in better looking pictures.”
“KATANA is the missing piece to our 3D pipeline puzzle,” adds Fredrik Limsäter, CTO at Fido. “It’s the tool that glues together all our different 3D departments such as animation, hair and cloth, FX and lighting.”
KATANA itself has been undergoing rapid in-house development at The Foundry, and CEO Bill Collis believes the widespread adoption of the software is testament to the its quality. “The way KATANA streamlines and simplifies the process within facilities is really changing the ways that teams are working to deliver lighting and CG elements,” he says. “Artists find it easier, more intuitive and less frustrating and facilities are discovering the cost benefits of choosing a package that ends up paying for itself in a relatively short period of time. The organisational structure KATANA enforces allows them to reduce costs and become more efficient than ever before.”