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Thinkbox Krakatoa MX Workstation

Krakatoa™ MX for 3ds Max 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.

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Krakatoa MX

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.


Particle Sources

  • Acquire data from 3ds Max particle systems like Particle Flow, Thinking Particles and the legacy particle objects.
  • Convert FumeFX voxels to particles for direct rendering of fluid simulations.
  • Use geometry vertices as particles.
  • Load particle files in Krakatoa´s PRT format, CSV files or RealFlow BIN files.


Rendering Options

  • Render particles as points or as voxels, using volumetric or a range of additive shading models, or a blend thereof.
  • Control particle Color, Density, Emission and Absorption, supply a custom color, override the particle color globally, or design your own shading data sources using the node-based MagmaFlow Editor.
  • Use the 3ds Max´s built-in DOF or Motion Blur multi-pass effects, or employ the native Krakatoa Motion Blurand Depth of Field effects.
  • Apply Ambient Participating Medium Extinction to particles to simulate light behavior in air or under water.
  • Cache particles in RAM before or after the lighting phase to adjust lighting parameters or camera placement and re-render in a fraction of the time.


Saving and Partitioning

  • Save any supported particle type to disk for direct access to every frame without preroll.
  • Specify the exact channels layout to be saved, or create new channels to save custom data from 3rd party systems or channels created by Krakatoa Channel Modifiers.
  • Use the Advanced Partitioning capabilities of Krakatoa to render more particles than 3ds Max could normally process by itself. When running Max in conjunction with Deadline®, distribute large particle simulation jobs over multiple machines, or even over multiple cores of the same machine.
  • 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 to obscure particles from the camera and cast shadows onto particle systems.
  • Use the Krakatoa Shadows Generator to generate Deep Opacity Map shadow maps in Krakatoa and to apply these shadows in other renderers.
  • Use the Krakatoa Shadows Explorer and Matte Objects Explorer utilities to mass-assign, manage and inspect the shadow and matte object settings of the scene.


Particle Data Editing

  • Use the powerful node-based MagmaFlow editor to read, modify and write back particle channel data.
  • Perform per-particle mathematical operations
  • Test particles against arbitrary geometry surfaces using raytracing or nearest point lookup operators
  • Construct custom shaders by using particle data like Position and Normal as well as scene objects like Light Sources and Camera position
  • Input Color, Mono and Normal Perturbation data from 3ds Max Texture Maps.
  • Access arbitrary scene data using MAXScript and the Script Input node.
  • Use the Global Channel Override option to apply MagmaFlows to all scene particles at render time.
  • Debug the values at each step of the flow or generate graphical representation of the final output.
  • Save groups of operators as compound operators (BlackOps)


MAXScript Exposure

  • Develop your own scripted tools to read and write particle files in the Krakatoa PRT format.
  • Access all relevant properties of the Krakatoa renderer and most of its tools via MAXScript.
  • Learn from the Krakatoa User Interface and Utilities script source code provided in unprotected form.
  • Tweak and extend the scripted components of Krakatoa to better fit your pipeline.


Performace and Scalability

  • Most Krakatoa operations scale in linear fashion, e.g. rendering twice as many particles takes twice as long.
  • Krakatoa is largely multi-threaded and will take advantage of multi-core systems to accelerate operation
  • Material evaluation and particle culling as well as Krakatoa Channels Modifiers containing custom MagmaFlows are fully multi-threaded.
  • Krakatoa will take advantage of the larger memory address space of 64 bit systems, and performs up to twice as fastas in 32 bit

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System Requirements for Krakatoa
Minimum
Software
  • 3ds Max 2010, 3ds Max 2011 or 3ds Max 2012 (32-bit)
  • 3ds Max 8 was supported by version 1.1.x and earlier. It is not supported by v1.5.0 and higher.
  • 3ds Max 9, 3ds Max 2008 and 3ds Max 2009 were supported by v1.5.x and v1.6.x. They are not supported in v2.0.0 and higher.
CPU
  • Intel® Pentium® IV or AMD Athlon® XP or higher processor (same as 3ds Max)
Hardware
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 50 Gigabytes free hard drive space


Recommended
Software
  • 3ds Max 2010, 3ds Max 2011 or 3ds Max 2012 (64-bit)
CPU
  • Intel® EM64T, AMD Athlon® 64 or higher, AMD Opteron® processor (same as 3ds Max 64-bit)
Hardware
  • 8 GB or more RAM
  • 1 Terabyte network hard drive space


Multi-Core Support
  • Krakatoa v1.1.x was largely single-threaded except for the Particle Sorting operation and a faster CPU with more RAM was generally recommended over a Multi-Core CPU with less RAM.
  • Krakatoa v1.5.x improved the support for multiple cores in various stages of the rendering process except for the actual drawing of particles, so a 4 or 8 core system would provide significant speed increase.
  • Krakatoa v1.6.0 further improved the multi-core support by accelerating the particle drawing and Matte Objects ZDepth pass generation.
  • Krakatoa v2.0.0 added full multi-threading support to particle loading when using multiple particle file sequences in a single PRT Loader, and in procedural particle sources like the new PRT Creator. Multi-threaded performance was also improved in the sorting and drawing phases.
  • Adding more RAM to a 64 bit system in all versions always improves Krakatoa performance and allows the renderer to handle higher particle counts.
  • According to internal benchmarks, Krakatoa with 3ds Max 64-bit renders almost twice as fast as Krakatoa with 3ds Max 32-bit on the same machine and on a Windows 64-bit operating system due to the larger addressable memory space and better memory management.

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