Within the series of render engines used by the students creating their graduation films, is Krakatoa. The publisher, Thinkbox Software (ArtFx partner by the way) launched a new version of Maya, the Krakatoa MY, at the end of last February.


Krakatoa for Maya

Last February 21st the new Krakatoa for Maya was launched. This software was previously only available for 3ds Max. It is compatible, in its two forms, with Windows and Linux.


FYI, Krakatoa is a particle render engine. This is a high-performance tool that allows us to save a considerable amount of time when duplicating and rendering particles in a very simple way.


Krakatoa was used in feature films like Quantum of Solace, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (watch an extract using Krakatoa), Live Free or Die Hard, Avengers (see more details in this FxGuide article), etc.


Krakatoa at ArtFx

Adrien Cappai, 4th year student, tested Krakatoa.

This is what he has to say about the software:
« During the year, I had the opportunity to repeatedly use Krakatoa for our short graduation film Atome.
It allowed me to render a number of very important particles in record time.. This would have been much more time consuming directly in Maya.
In fact, Krakatoa is capable of very simply and systematically multiplying the particles from one Maya simulation, in order to obtain a continual stream of particles. Once the simulation is multiplied, the parameters of the render are flexible and offer option of having very different results from the same simulation. This allows you to reuse these simulations without recalculating therefore saving time and being more efficient.
For the integration, Krakatoa allows us to render certain useful passes like Velocity, Occlusion, Normal or Z-depth, which is a considerable advantage when compositing. The render can happen two different ways: either you render the particles, or you transform these particles from the simulation by the voxels. The latter solution can providean extremely delicate result for highly detailed smoke, and free itself from the granular particles effect.
Meanwhile, the ‘mod’ option of the engine gives us, once the simulation is recorded, simple particles in function of age, speed and position variables.
The interface is agreeable and easy to grasp, the numerous parameters allow an excellent control on the number and aspect of the particles, and finally the speed of the calculations is impressive.
Using this engine allowed me to work quickly and agreeably on two important shots in the film. »


An example of a creation with Krakatoa

The 3rd year students did an exercise, inspired by the introduction of the Quantum of Solace, using Krakatoa.
Below is a work created by one of the students, Alexandre Lemaire. In total, 25 million particles rendered in 16 seconds with all the necessary compositing passes and integration.


Krakatoa - ArtFx


Sample video: introduction of the Quantum of Solace


For more information

Thinkbox Software publisher’s website.



[small_button]English version by Danielle Harrell, English teacher for ArtFx[/small_button]