Katana, what is look and light development software?


With its highly efficient, collaborative approach to look development and lighting, Katana® gives you the creative scope and scalability to meet the needs of today’s most demanding CG-rendering projects.

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Reduce artist downtime

A studio’s most valuable resource is its people. Katana’s deferred loading and processing lets you get to work immediately, so you can spend more time being creative and less time twiddling your thumbs.

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Share the workload

Katana’s flexible node-graph and rule-based workflows lets you naturally build up templates as you work, which you can then easily share with other team members or reuse on other shots.

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Keep your assets accessible

Katana’s streamlined, artist-friendly approach removes the need to bake assets out into render-ready formats, keeping them easily accessible for last-minute changes.

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Work in parallel to finish faster

With Katana’s Look Files, material instructions and texture map assignments are packaged as separate assets, so you can separately update look-development and animation data.

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Choose your renderer

Use your renderer of choice, with a unified workflow for Renderman, V-Ray, Arnold and 3Delight, or add your own renderer. You can even work with multiple renderers while keeping a consistent artist workflow.

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The perfect fit for your pipeline

Integrate, automate or customize Katana to fit your pipeline and processes with extensive C and Python APIs, and support for open standards like Alembic and OpenColorIO.

What's new In Katana 2.6

Katana 2.6 includes multiple UI and UX improvements, as well as significant progress towards the new Hydra-based Viewer and Viewer API.

See all the new features

Who's using Katana

See how studios large and small are using Katana to achieve the holy grail of 'better, faster, cheaper' look development and lighting.

  • Atomic Fiction use Katana
  • Industrial light and magic use Katana
  • MPC use Katana

Pat Tubach, VFX Supervisor for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, ILM

Being able to paint that dirt onto the Falcon in such a way that we could layer it and [do that] through a shader—where it’s actually going to look the same to the guy who’s painting it in Mari [through] to the guy whose lighting the shot in Katana, and being able to look at it in a way that’s really representative of how it will look in the shot—is a huge benefit.

Katana is for


Aleksandar Horak — Lookdev TD Lead, MPC

Aleksandar Horak Lookdev TD Lead, MPC

After 20 years of experience, I can't imagine another application like Katana for lookdev. We can do first passes of lookdev on hundreds of assets in a matter of minutes.


Mahsa Ghorbankarimi — Senior Lighter, Spin VFX

Mahsa Ghorbankarimi, Senior Lighter Spin VFX

I really believe that Katana is a very good tool, particularly for smaller studios. The way we work in Katana and the number of shots we are producing would not be possible with any other tool


Jason Gagnon — Lookdev Supervisor, MPC

Jason Gagnon Lookdev Supervisor, MPC

Katana makes life easier for artists. It is great for creating custom tools, macros and standard templates to ease production.

User guides & release notes

Katana user guides Access help & release notes

Get started with Katana

Find out exactly how Katana can save you time and money by trying it for yourself.

Using Katana? You'll love Mari

Working with complex CG assets? Check out Mari's ability to create high quality photorealistic content.

Enhance my pipeline
Find out how Katana helps you out with Mari


Access to technical support

One year maintenance


Meet our support team

With the best support team around (or so our customers keep telling us), we're easy to contact and dedicated to delivering a quick response when you need a hand.

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