KRAKATOA™ is Prime Focus' production-proven Volumetric Particle Rendering, Manipulation and Management Toolkit.

It provides a pipeline for acquiring, caching, deforming, shading and rendering vast quantities of particles at unprecedented speed to represent natural phenomena like dust, smoke, silt, ocean surface foam, plasma and even solid objects. Krakatoa™ integrates well with Particle Flow, the flexible 3ds Max built-in Event-Driven Particle System, and provides data exchange capabilities for sharing particles with other 3D and simulation applications.

The rendering features include 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.

The Particle Manipulation pipeline includes Particle Culling using arbitrary geometry and Particle Deformations using 3ds Max deformation modifiers and Space Warps like Bend, Twist, PathDeform and Free Form Deformation lattices.

The Particle Management features include the ability to generate millions of particles using a unique Particle Partitioning method which overcomes memory and system limitations of 3ds Max; Input and Output support for Prime Focus' open, compact and flexible .PRT particle data format, NextLimit's RealFlow 3 and 4 particle BIN file format and a versatile and easy to use ASCII Comma Separated Values .CSV format which could be used to interact with any application that can read and write text files. Particle files can be saved from Krakatoa™ and also loaded into 3ds Max using Krakatoa™ Particle Loader objects or into Particle Flow using dedicated Krakatoa™ File Birth and Krakatoa™ File Position operators, thus allowing for a full data flow cycle where particles can be saved, reloaded and processed multiple times through different particle system setups.

Krakatoa™ provides a highly sophisticated Presets and History System which does automatic book-keeping and thumbnail management of any rendering and saving operation performed in the Krakatoa™ GUI and allows any settings and render results to be browsed, compared and restored partially or completely to easily achieve the same look in later projects.

Krakatoa™ integrates well with Deadline, Prime Focus' Network Management Software and allows any number of CPUs to process particle files or render particles.

Krakatoa™ takes full advantage of 64 bit computing and has proven to run up to twice as fast on 64 bit builds of 3ds Max and Windows XP64 thanks to better memory management.

Krakatoa™ has been used to generate visual effects and elements for movies like Marc Forster's "Stay", Wes Craven's "Cursed" and Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" (and is currently being employed on projects like Journey 3D and Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium by Walden Media.)

Feature Set
Particle Sources:
· Input particles from 3ds Max particle systems like Particle Flow and Thinking Particles.
· Use geometry vertices as particles.
· Load particle files in Krakatoa´s PRT format, CSV files or RealFlow BIN files.
Rendering Options:
· Render using volumetric or additive shading models. The volumetric model simulates attenuation due to the density of particles that the light passes through accurately modeling physical light.
· Particles can be rendered as self-illuminated, or with volumetric lighting. Use specular shading when the particles have normals.
· Shade particle color and density with 3ds Max material´s color and opacity, or supply a custom color, use blended z-depth and blended camera distance as alternate methods.
· Full support for motion and depth of field effects. Use 3ds Max´s built-in multi-pass effects for compatibility.
· User can cache particle pipeline results in RAM before or after the lighting phase – allowing for quick adjustments to lighting parameters or camera placement.
· Advanced partitioning enables more particle rendering than 3ds Max can normally process by itself. When running Max in conjunction with Deadline®, users can distribute large particle simulation jobs over multiple machines.
· By evaluating the same system multiple times – with different random seeds for each partition – Krakatoa™ can generate massive particle counts.
· Recombine partitioned files and render them as a single particle cloud.
· Ultimately, the only limitation on particle counts is your available RAM.
Interaction With Other Renderers
· Load specified scene geometry to act as matte objects, obscuring particles from the camera and casting shadows onto particle systems.
· Use shadowing attenuation maps created during the rendering process to project shadows from particles onto scene geometry in other renderers. Several provided scripts simplify the process of switching between renderers and re-applying the shadowing attenuation maps to the scene lights.
PRT Loader
· Krakatoa´s PRT loader allows users to 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 particles just like any other object.
· Use custom geometry to cull volumes for selectively deleting particles.
· Playback graph lets users change timing on particle sequences


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