Sony Pictures Imageworks


Latest News

Back to News


Leading visual effects software developer, The Foundry (, announced the commercial release of its newest product, Katana 1.0. The look development and lighting tool, originally developed and in use at Sony Pictures Imageworks since 2004, is specifically designed to address the needs of a highly scalable asset based workflow by offering the following features:

-Allows updating of assets once shots are already in progress
-Shares lighting set-ups, such as edits and overrides, between shots and sequences
-Allows use of multiple renderers and specifying dependencies between render passes
-Allows shot specific modification of assets to become part of the lighting 'recipe' for shots to avoid having to deal with large numbers of shot specific asset variants

To coincide with the product's release, The Foundry has also announced that Lucasfilm company ILM has purchased a site license of Katana 1.0. The Foundry's CEO Bill Collis comments, "We're pleased to release Katana, a product highly anticipated by pipeline engineers and lighting supervisors. The Foundry is proud of its close association with industry leaders such as Imageworks and ILM. Katana is yet another validation of The Foundry as the partner of choice for the VFX industry."

KATANA is an environment for preparing 3D assets for rendering. It allows artists to define and control look and lighting whilst maintaining performance with very large datasets. KATANA operates non-destructively using a rule-based approach, allowing modeling, look development, animation and lighting teams to work in parallel.

Originally developed in-house at Sony Pictures Imageworks to handle increasingly complex workflows on productions such as Spiderman and Superman Returns, the commercial development of KATANA was taken on by The Foundry in November 2009 as part of a unique collaboration between the two companies.

The Foundry's engineering effort, in consultation with a broad range of users, is ensuring KATANA becomes a flexible product that can ultimately integrate with any pipeline and any renderer in any facility.

"Since its creation, KATANA has been one of the pillars of the production pipeline here at Imageworks and continues to prove itself on such rigorous productions as the Spider-Man movies, Alice in Wonderland and animated features such as Monster House, Surf's Up, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, The Smurfs and Arthur Christmas.

"We are excited to see KATANA cutting its teeth outside the halls of Imageworks and becoming available for artists and facilities everywhere. The Foundry is a tremendous partner and by broadening the adoption of KATANA and product support, a new generation of artists and productions can benefit from this innovative production-proven technology."

Rob Bredow, Chief Technology Officer, Sony Pictures Imageworks

As the first commercial dedicated scene development tool, KATANA enables facilities large and small to build highly scalable lighting pipelines without a large internal engineering effort.

Please enable Javascript to view this site.