Deals with Sony Imageworks and Pixar will give their users access to tools.
The Foundry is expanding out of its core business built around its widely used compositor, Nuke. At Siggraph, The Foundry announced a strategic relationship with Pixar as they integrate Katana, The Foundry’s CG and VFX lighting tool, with the Renderman rendering engine.
The Luxology group at The Foundry has become the company’s North American headquarters. They have announced a Linux version of their flagship product, Modo. This is an important requirement for companies working in the film and TV industries, where Linux is a strong requirement.
Finally, The Foundry has announced plans to start selling Sony Pictures Imageworks’ Flix storytelling development tool for animators. Flix is web based, and it is billed as an easy-to-use story-boarding tool that even directors can figure out how to use. Flix has been used at Sony Pictures Imageworks on films such as Hotel Transylvania, The Smurfs (and its desperately awaited sequel), and the equally anticipated among the younger set, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.
Flix handles previs, layout, and workflow. It maintains a history of work done in previs by all the artists, editors, assistants, supervisors, and the director so that everyone can see the current state of affairs, and what decisions have been made, assuming they have the permissions to see that information. It’s a collaborative tool that enables everyone involved to discuss changes and make suggestions. Storyboards, concept drawing, scripts, and tests can all be kept together and tracked. Flix supports direct communication between Maya, Photoshop, Nuke, and Avid software. It’s capable of tracking and saving changes, and offers view of different media within the common site.
As a result of the Katana and Pixar relationship, Katana will ship with a full Renderman license and will include a base set of shaders and free batch render licenses. Katana has been optimized to work with Renderman. Pixar and The Foundry say they’ll continue to collaborate, but The Foundry says Katana will work with other renderers as well.