Krakatoa MX: User Interface
This chapter contains documentation of the various rollouts comprising the Krakatoa Renderer User Interface. Note that since v1.6.0, some components previous found in the Krakatoa GUI are now independent dialogs/floaters - these are listed further below on this page (Explorers, Preferences, Notes, About dialog).
This chapter describes the Krakatoa Log Window which provides rendering and processing feedback.
The Rendered Frame Window of 3ds Max 2009 and higher (also known as Virtual Frame Buffer or VFB) can be optionally extended with Krakatoa-specific controls that mirror a large portion of the controls found in the Krakatoa GUI. This topic discusses the features found in this extension.
Krakatoa External Utilities
The Krakatoa Birth Channel Generator utility introduced in v2.5.0 is a command line tool which can load and process a PRT file sequence and output a new PRT file sequence containing a "Birth" version of any channel using an ID channel for tracking particles across frames. A Birth channel contains the data of a channel that the particle had at birth, or on a user-defined reference frame. Krakatoa MX implements a scripted UI that exposes the command line utility to the user.
Schematic Flow is a node-based control center representing the major stages of the Krakatoa rendering/saving process. This topic discusses the use of Schematic Flow to analyze the Krakatoa settings and control various aspects of the system.
The Particle Data Viewer is a scripted tool which provides insight into the content of Particle Data Channels exposed by the Krakatoa PRT Volume and PRT Loader objects.
The Particle Analyzer is a scripted utility which can be used to scan the PRT Loaders and some other particle sources in the scene and provide graphical representation of particle counts and memory demands throughout the animation segment. It can generate HTML reports as well as text lists of missing files.
The Shadows Explorer is a scripted utility which can be used to mass-assign Krakatoa Shadow Generators to scene lights and control various parameters like loading and saving paths, shadow map sizes and sampling settings and so on.
The Krakatoa Explorers floater controls several rollouts that provide an overview of the particle sources in the scene and in some cases mass-manipulation tools to change these sources. These include Scene Particle Systems, PRT Loaders and the optional Thinking Particles Groups rollout available if the Cebas Thinking Particles plugin is installed.
Krakatoa PRT Maker Designer Utility (New in Krakatoa MX 2)
The PRT Maker Designer Utility provides both high-level access to the Fractal Design capabilities of the PRT Maker object, and low-level access to all values defining a particular design.
Additional Dialogs and Floaters
The Preferences floater contains three rollouts that can be used to set up various system parameters, User Interface Preferences and Custom Color of the Krakatoa GUI.
The User Notes dialog used to be a rollout in the Krakatoa GUI prior to v1.6.0 and can be used to enter custom information about the content of the scene or the renderer's setup.
The About dialog used to be a rollout in the Krakatoa GUI prior to v1.6.0. It shows the copyright notice, the version number and license status and provides a link to the Prime Focus Software website. Since all of this information is available elsewhere, it is not very often used and is now a separate dialog that can be opened via the Krakatoa Menu, a toolbar icon or a button in the Main Controls rollout.
Data Entry Accelerators
When using Krakatoa, you will find yourself entering similar values in the same controls very often. Several components of Krakatoa allow you to simplify the setup process by letting you store the current settings of the UI as defaults and store/restore values to reduce the time spent entering them again in the future.
Krakatoa lets you save all or some current User Interface settings including checkboxes, drop-down lists and value spinners to an INI file to be used to initialize new instances of the renderer. This topic explains how to create and use these Startup Defaults.
Krakatoa lets you store current values for future use, as well as restore them and delete them when not needed anymore. This is supported typically by value spinners, but in some cases also by lists (Channels To Save, Particle Sources to Render etc.). This topic explains how to use the Value Presets System to accelerate your workflow.
Krakatoa also lets you save manually all or a fraction of the current UI settings to a Presets file and will also automatically create history records of all current settings each time you render an image. These Presets and History files can be used to load all or a portion of the settings in later projects, browse previous records and compare with other records or the current setup to find out how specific results were achieved, and can be mined for relevant data in various portions of the Krakatoa GUI like the Global Overrides and the Save Particles rollouts that offer "History" buttons to access previously used colors and paths. This topic provides an overview of the Presets and History system's usage.
Each rollout in the Krakatoa Renderer GUI provides an icon in the upper left corner with options to save and load the settings only of the rollout. It uses the same dialogs as the full Presets and History rollout but operates at a more local level
A set of useful MacroScripts including Krakatoa-flavored icons is included with the installation to provide faster access to renderer switching, particle objects creation, the Krakatoa Log Window and additional tools. Since v1.6.0 these are also combined in a Krakatoa menu within the 3ds Max Main Menu bar.
This set of MacroScripts was designed to expose the major options of the Main Controls found in the Krakatoa GUI as icons on a toolbar.