(San Diego, CA - SIGGRAPH 2007, Booth#1720 --August 7, 2007) The software division of award-winning visual effects studio Frantic Films today announced the commercial release of Krakatoa, the company's high-volume point-based particle rendering, manipulation and management toolkit.
Available as a plug-in for Autodesk 3ds Max running on Windows, the software enables VFX artists to create dust, smoke, silt, ocean surface foam, plasma and even solid objects, all at unprecedented speeds. Krakatoa will be demonstrated at the Frantic Films booth, #1720, throughout the SIGGRAPH conference August 5-9, 2007 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.
Krakatoa provides a pipeline for acquiring, caching, deforming, shading and rendering millions and even billions of particles per frame at breakthrough speeds. The product is being released following successful beta testing at facilities including Ubisoft, CafeFX, Dinamo Productions, Tigar Hare Studios, Catastrophic FX and Anatomical Travelogue, and is now shipping.
"For the first time, we have a particle renderer that frees us from the confines of polygons and lets us efficiently display huge amounts of data. And because Krakatoa operates within the familiar context of 3ds Max, we can leverage numerous existing tools so artists can easily grasp the workflow and call upon their experience with visual effects instead of trying to learn a new paradigm," said Chad Capeland, Animation Director, Anatomical Travelogue.
Frantic Films originally developed Krakatoa for handling particle-intensive animations in the film Stay directed by Marc Forster. Krakatoa was subsequently fine-tuned on Wes Craven's Cursed and Bryan Singer's Superman Returns, and is currently being employed on the forthcoming stereoscopic feature Journey 3-D directed by Eric Brevig, and on Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium directed by Zach Helm.
"Krakatoa takes the worry out of wondering whether you can physically handle that big money shot on your current Hollywood film project-and frees up your budget and schedule to spend more time unleashing your creativity and vision," said Krakatoa beta tester Allan McKay, Director, Catastrophic FX. "It completely frees your limitations with particle intensive shots allowing you to render hundreds of millions of particles without a hitch."
Krakatoa Feature Overview
- Particle Sources-Input particles from 3ds Max particle systems like Particle Flow and Thinking Particles; use geometry vertices as particles or load particle files in Krakatoa's PRT format, CSV files or RealFlow BIN files.
- Rendering Options- Support for shading and texturing using standard 3ds Max maps and materials; motion blur and depth of field effects; particle self-shadowing and shadow casting from and onto matte objects; ambient participating medium extinction to simulate atmospheric and underwater light and color behavior and more.
- Particle Files-Save sequences of particle files to disk in PRT, BIN or CSV formats; write all the channels from the particle sources to disk or minimize storage by baking materials into single color per particle.
- Partitioning-Render more particles at once and parallelize large particle simulation jobs over multiple machines with Frantic Films' Deadline; generate massive particle counts by evaluating the same system multiple times with different random seeds for each partition; partitioned files can be recombined by Krakatoa and rendered as a single particle cloud so that the only limitation on particle count is available RAM.
- PRT Loader-Preview input particle files in the 3ds Max viewport and specify how they will load and render in Krakatoa; apply 3ds Max object space and world space modifiers to the particles; use custom geometry as culling volumes for selectively deleting particles and use playback graph to change timing of particle sequences.
- Presets and History-Automatic bookkeeping and thumbnail management of any rendering and saving operation performed in the Krakatoa GUI; allow any settings and render results to be browsed, compared and restored to easily achieve the same look in future projects.
Additionally Krakatoa offers seamless integration with Deadline, Frantic Films' network management software and it takes advantage of 64 bit computing, running up to twice as fast on 64 bit builds of 3ds Max and Windows XP64.
A comprehensive list of features is available online at: http://software.franticfilms.com/
Said Chris Bond, president and creative director, Frantic Films Software, "Our development team has been working very hard to make sure that Krakatoa lives up to the buzz it earned during production on Stay and Superman Returns, and we are confident that after its release, we will be seeing many more VFX films incorporating intensive particle effects shots."
Pricing and Availability
Krakatoa is available directly through the Frantic Films Software Division, please visit http://software.franticfilms.com/
or contact firstname.lastname@example.org with sales inquiries. Krakatoa is available now for a list price starting at $495.00 and is compatible with Autodesk's 3ds Max Version 8 and higher.
About Frantic Films Software
Frantic Films Software has developed a reputation for creating innovative custom-built R&D solutions and quality software products. From the Deadline™ Render Farm Management System, to the Amaretto 3ds Max interface for the NVIDIA Gelato renderer, to the Flood Fluid Simulation Suite, Frantic Films Software is pushing the envelope of conventional thought and applying real science to create tools and technology that truly open a whole new world of possibilities for VFX professionals. For more information, visit Frantic Films Software at http://software.franticfilms.com
About Frantic Films
Headquartered in Winnipeg, Canada, with offices in Vancouver and Los Angeles, Calif., Frantic Films has been operating divisions that provide visual effects for film and television, live action production and VFX software development since 1997. Frantic Films' award-winning visual effects teams have worked on films including Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer, Grindhouse, Superman Returns, X-Men 3, Poseidon and many others. The company's software tools were developed to solve complex production challenges on in-house feature effects projects, and are also in use at many leading 3D animation and effects facilities worldwide. Frantic Films' live action division creates and produces Gemini Award-winning programs for Canadian and international television networks. For more information, visit http://www.franticfilms.com/