Aug 2, 2011

Thinkbox Software Unveils Krakatoa MX 2.0 at Siggraph 2011

Introduces standalone cross-platform volumetric particle renderer, Krakatoa SR 2.0.

At SIGGRAPH 2011 in Vancouver, Thinkbox Software is unveiling Krakatoa MX 2.0, the latest version of its high volume particle rendering, manipulation and management toolkit, with new creative features and improved performance. The company is also introducing Krakatoa SR 2.0, a standalone cross-platform particle renderer for Linux, Windows and Mac.

Krakatoa MX provides an efficient pipeline for particle acquisition, caching, modifying, deforming, shading and rendering inside Autodesk 3ds Max. It enables artists to recreate natural phenomena and solid objects, or create abstract images in unparalleled detail. Key new features in Version 2.0 include:

• Hair rendering support – Krakatoa MX supports the conversion of 3ds Max Hair&Fur, Hair Farm and regular Bezier splines into particles. The dedicated PRT Hair object provides optional view-dependent particle distribution and advanced controls over hair shading using Krakatoa Channel Modifiers. Krakatoa MX also exposes two new shading models specifically targeted at hair rendering and supports dedicated Render Elements for advanced compositing control.

• New atmospheric effect – Krakatoa supports both point and voxel representation of particle data at render time, and Version 2.0’s new atmospheric effect allows the direct integration of voxel rendering in any other renderer that supports native 3ds Max atmospherics, including the 3ds Max Default Scanline Renderer, Chaos Group’s V-Ray and Cebas finalRender.

• Faster and more powerful Magma system – The completely re-factored Magma 2.0 features multiple output nodes per modifier, multiple output sockets per node, default input values and improved debugging. It also introduces a multitude of new operators including advanced texture map sampling and scene objects properties access, proxy particle data sampling and more.

• PRT Creator fractal designs generation – Version 2.0 introduces a new PRT Creator object which, combined with the power of the Magma channel editing, can generate complex particle distributions and animations procedurally.

• Overall performance improvements – The Krakatoa PRT Loader can now load multiple particle file sequences in parallel using all available cores, achieving significant speed ups when reading from fast drives, especially SSDs and Fusion-io cards. The multi-threading of all rendering stages has also been optimized, resulting in speed ups across the board.

Introducing Krakatoa SR 2.0

Krakatoa SR, a new standalone volumetric particle renderer for Linux, Microsoft Windows and Apple OSX, can be integrated with any 3D content creation application like Autodesk Maya, The Foundry’s Nuke or Side Effects Software’s Houdini via a clean, Python-based scene description interface inspired by the Renderman C specification and using the open Thinkbox PRT file format for particle data exchange.

It provides point and voxel particle representation modes, which support per-particle light scattering as well as light emission and absorption. Taking full advantage of 64-bit computing and multi-core systems in all processing stages, it handles multi-million particle clouds efficiently.

Krakatoa MX 2.0 will be available this fall, and is a no-cost upgrade to Krakatoa customers on active support contracts. Krakatoa SR will be available this fall as a standalone offering, for an MSRP of $495 per node.

See Krakatoa MX 2.0 and Krakatoa SR in action at SIGGRAPH

Thinkbox will host demos of Krakatoa MX 2.0 and Krakatoa SR in a suite on the Gold Level in the Fairmont Pacific Rim, minutes from the SIGGRAPH tradeshow floor. Demonstrations will feature the new 2.0 software rendering billions of particles at once on an ultra-high performance workstation provided by SuperMicro.