Krakatoa MX Overview
KRAKATOA™ MX is Thinkbox Software's production-proven Volumetric Particle Rendering, Manipulation and Management Toolkit for Autodesk 3ds Max.
It provides a pipeline for acquiring, caching, transforming, modifying, deforming, culling, 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 Particle and Voxel representation of the same data, support for shading and texturing using standard 3ds Max maps and materials; Particle Self-Shadowing and Shadow Casting from and onto matte objects; support for per-particle Scatter, Emission, Absorption and Density data, Various Light Scattering models incl. Isotropic, Phong Surface, Schlick and Henyey-Greenstein, Kajiya-Kay and Marschner; Environment Reflections; Motion Blur and Depth Of Field effects; Ambient Participating Medium Extinction 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; Particle Retiming using custom graphs, offset and limit range behaviors; Particle Data Channels access via a powerful node-based MagmaFlow editor; read and write access to particle data via MAXScript
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 Thinkbox' open, compact and flexible .PRT particle data format, NextLimit's RealFlow 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™ PRT 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. Particles can also be generated procedurally from geometry volumes, splines and hair strands, FumeFX simulations or using 3D fractal functions.
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, Thinkbox Software's 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 64bit thanks to better memory management.
Krakatoa™ has been used to generate visual effects and elements for movies like "Avatar", "The Avengers", "G.I.Joe", "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2", "Journey 3D", "Thor", "Transformers 3", "Superman Returns" and more.