KATANA is a look development and lighting tool, replacing the conventional CG pipeline with a flexible recipe based asset workflow. KATANA is built from the ground up with the needs of modern productions in mind. Its node based approach allows rapid turn around of high complexity shots while keeping artists in control and reducing in house development overheads.

Extensive APIs mean it integrates with a variety of renderers and your pre-existing shader libraries and workflow tools, whilst it's collaborative nature means it scales to meet the needs of even the most demanding CG Features and VFX films.

KATANA is backed by The Foundry, highly regarded provider of high end visual effects tools, and has been production proven on over 20 shows since 2004 at Sony Pictures Imageworks.


 KATANA is specifically designed to address the needs of highly scalable asset based workflow to:

  • Allow updating of assets once shots are already in progress
  • Share lighting set-ups, such as edits and overrides, between shots and sequences.
  • Allow use of multiple renderers and specifying dependencies between render passes.
  • Allow 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.


Massive complexity: handled

Production-proven on Hollywood blockbusters, KATANA brings scalability to your pipeline by letting you handle extremely high scene complexity. With its multi-threaded core engine, deferred processing, and user-definable scene graph updates for Live Rendering, KATANA is ready to handle even the largest, most complex 3D projects without slowing you down.

A recipe for efficiency

KATANA lets you create and share ‘recipes’ for asset look development or shot lighting that can easily be reused across any number of other shots; their non-destructive nature makes updating scenes with new versions of assets intuitive and simple. What’s more, with Graph State Variables, you can manage an entire sequence of shots at once, by changing a node’s behavior according to the current shot being evaluated, or pass being rendered.

Renderer agnostic

With KATANA, you can choose to use a supported renderer like Pixar’s RenderMan®, Solid Angle Arnold or Chaos Group V-Ray, or add a renderer of your choice as a deeply-integrated plug-in; with custom shaders, procedurals, deferred processing and instancing, KATANA’s framework lets you unleash the full power of modern production rendering.

Intuitive node-based interface

KATANA’s natural node-based approach lets you construct custom processing graphs for 3D scenes as easily as you would a compositing script. The intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface puts the artist in control, allowing your studio to rapidly turn around high-complexity shots without the need to resort to in-house development.

A custom fit for your pipeline

With KATANA’s extensive public C++ APIs and scripting options, it’s easy to customize it to fit your pipeline and your production processes. Whether you’re automating a common task or procedure, writing custom UI, manipulating scene graph data or even generating geometry on the fly, KATANA gives you the access you need to get the job done.

Specifications & Licensing

System Requirements

 Hardware Requirements

  • Linux 64-bit (CentOS/RHEL 5.4 supported)
  • A graphics card which supports OpenGL shader model 4.
  • A supported renderer, such as:
  • Arnold 3.3.x.x (minimum
  • PRMan 15.x
  • PRMan 16.x
  • Nvidia and ATI graphics cards that support OpenGL shader model 4 can be used with Katana.

Additional Info


RFX is available for all your support needs