Katana from The Foundry

The Foundry takes Sony FX tool for global market

Katana was created to light CGI in Spiderman and Superman Returns.

The Foundry, one of the UK’s most influential effects software developers, has again linked with a tier-one post-production company to bring a new tool to market.

Katana is used to control the lighting and appearance of 3D CGI effects before they are rendered and was originally developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI) for use on films such as Spiderman and Superman Returns.

Sony handed on its commercial development to The Foundry in 2009. “There were obviously aspects of the original tool that were very much tailored to how SPI does its work in-house that we’ve needed to tailor for the wider market, as well as advances in the technology itself,” said Simon Robinson, The Foundry’s chief scientist.

His company struck a similar deal with Weta Digital, the New Zealand effects group set up by director Peter Jackson, to bring the Mari 3D texture painting software to market. Before that, the company worked with Digital Domain on commercialising the Nuke compositing software suite.

The Foundry showed an alpha release of Katana at the NABshow production technology event in Las Vegas this week and hopes to have a beta version ready for preview at IBC in Amsterdam this September.

Two other leading effects houses, Digital Domain and MPC (formerly The Moving Picture Company), are collaborating to develop the alpha version. A full release is scheduled for the end of 2011.

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