Foundry Updates Katana Look Development & Lighting Tool
January 10, 2020

Foundry Updates Katana Look Development & Lighting Tool

LONDON — Creative software developer Foundry ( has released Katana 3.5, the latest version of its asset-based look development and lighting tool. Katana 3.5 has a newly rebuilt core engine, making it quicker to perform key operations so artists can iterate faster. A new option to render images directly to the viewer means artists now interact directly with their work. A Foundry-supported, render agnostic USD plug-in allows studios to build powerful USD pipelines with less development effort. The source code will be open sourced shortly after the release of Katana 3.5.

In Version 3.5, Foundry has rewritten Katana’s core engine in collaboration with Intel, making the software up to 30 times faster for many operations involved in handing over scene data to a renderer plug-in.

The new monitor layer allows artists to interact with ray traced renders directly in the viewer. With the image and the tools that manipulate the image in the same place, artists now have a streamlined experience. Katana’s existing rendering system is 100 percent compatible with all existing renderer plug-ins. This workflow also comes with a performance boost, with drastic improvements to refresh rates of large images with or without large numbers of AOVs.

Improvements to Katana’s Shading Group mechanism allows artists to make customized shading groups with user-defined input and output connections. Shading groups can now be whole materials or regularly utilized blocks of shading nodes. Simple workflows allow selected nodes to turn into shading groups via a hotkey, both in large numbers, and with better interactivity. 

Katana 3.5 includes integration with a Foundry-supported, renderer agnostic USD set of tools, allowing studios to set up, experiment and build powerful USD production pipelines. Foundry will open source the USD plug-in source code and manage pull requests as part of its larger open source plans. A 30-day free trial is available, along with a range of licensing options.