Siggraph 2013: Pixar Renderman to join forces with Katana

The Foundry has made a swathe of announcements at the Siggraph animation conference in Anaheim, California.

It has partnered with Pixar to integrate its CG and VFX lighting tool Katana with the Renderman rendering engine – plus announced a Linux version of its Modo 3D suite and is going to start selling Sony Pictures Imageworks' Flix storytelling development tool for animators.

Katana will now ship with a full RenderMan license as standard, along with a base set of shaders and free batch render licenses. The company says that getting the tools to work together required significant dedicated engineering effort from both parties, not only to better support RenderMan workflows, but to build new features into Katana itself based on Renderman.

The Foundry says that the two tools were both recently used togetheron Disney/Pixar’s short animated film The Blue Umbrella  (above and below), now playing in cinemas with Monsters University.

Both products will be developed together in the future, but will work with other technologies too, The Foundry says.

The Foundry has used Siggraph to release a Linux version of its Modo 701 3D modelling, animation and rendering suite – which makes the software useable by larger post-production and animation houses that have standardised on Linux for their workstations.

Read our review of Modo 701.

Also announced is the news that The Foundry is to sell Flix, a story development tool created by Sony Pictures Imageworks and used on films such as Hotel Transylvania, The Smurfs (and its forthcoming sequel), and this September's Cloudy With a Chance of Metaballs 2.

Flix is a web-based tool that brings together an animation project's assets including scripts, storyboards, concept drawings and the like. It allows all members of a project from the director and editor to pre-vis and storyboard artists can discuss and develop the assets as a project progresses.

This isn't the first time The Foundry has taken an in-house tool and sold it to a wider audience. Katana was initially developed by Sony Imageworks, and the company's flaship compositing software Nuke was initially developed by Californian VFX house Digital Doman.

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