Foundry has released Katana 6.0, the latest major version of its lighting and look development software.
The update adds a new Material Soloing feature for previewing the output of parts of a shading network, and a new Performance tab and heat map ovelay for the Node Graph to help identify performance bottlenecks.
In addition, since the release of Katana 5.0 last year, Foundry has introduced new subscription pricing.
Material Soloing helps troubleshoot complex shading networks
Key changes in Katana 6.0 include a new Material Soloing feature, which makes it possible to preview the output of sections of a shading network, as well as the combined output of the entire network.
The results are shown in an interactive session during a Preview or Live render, with users able to toggle between the outputs of up to nine separate parts of the graph using keyboard shortcuts.
The change is intended to help artists debug complex material networks.
New Performance tab helps identify bottlenecks in complex scenes
The update also adds a new Performance tab, intended for identifying bottlenecks in complex scenes.
Among other stats, it displays the output of Katana’s Render Scene with Profiling feature, which captures the processing time and CPU usage of nodes in the scene graph.
The 20 nodes that require the most CPU time are displayed in a table in the Performance tab.
In addition, Katana can display the results as a colour-coded heat map overlay to the Node Graph: by default, nodes with the highest Cook Time are highlighed in red; those processing faster shown in orange or green.
Workflow improvements and support for VFX Reference Platform CY2022
Other new features include LiveShadingGroups, a new feature for sharing parts of a Katana shading network with other artists, or storing them for reuse.
As with Katana’s broader LiveGroups system, publishing changes to a LiveShadingGroup causes other materials or projects referencing the group to update automatically.
The release also features updates to the NetworkMaterialEdit Material Interface that Foundry describes as “giving artists the freedom to break away from linear workflows” and modify set-ups downstream.
You can find a list of the specific changes in the release notes.
As with its recent updates to Nuke and Mari, Foundry has also updated Katana to support the CY2022 specification for the VFX Reference Platform, and to support USD 22.05.
New subscription pricing
Another change since the release of Katana 5.0 last year is that Foundry has begun listing prices for the software on its website again, although for subscriptions, not the previous perpetual licences.
Katana Interactive subscriptions, which provide access to the GUI edition of the software, cost $3,999/year, while Katana Render subscriptions, for use on render farms, cost $308/year.
For comparison, old perpetual Katana GUI licences cost $9,458 when Katana 4.0 was released in October 2020, while perpetual Katana Render licences previously cost $528.
Updated: Foundry has confirmed that Katana is now available to new customers via subscription only.
Pricing and system requirements
Katana 6.0 is available for Windows 10 and CentOS 7 Linux. The software is now subscription-only. Katana Interactive subscriptions cost $3,999/year. Katana Render subscriptions cost $308/year.
Read an overview of the new features in Katana on Foundry’s product website
Read a full list of new features in Katana 6.0 in the online release notes
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