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Q100388: Glossary of rendering-related terms in Katana


This article gives short definitions of the most important terms related to rendering in Katana.



  • Preview Render: A Preview Render is a type of interactive render, meaning a render launched from a Katana UI session, in which the rendered image and a progress bar are displayed in Katana's Monitor tab. In a Preview Render, the renderer process quits when the rendered image is completed. This is different to a Live Render, in which the renderer process is kept alive.

    Preview Rendering has historically been called interactive rendering in early versions of Katana.

  • Live Render: A Live Render is a type of interactive render, meaning a render launched from a Katana UI session, in which the renderer process is kept alive while the rendered image is displayed in Katana's Monitor tab. When making changes to parameters of nodes in the Katana project, the renderer is notified of these changes, and the rendered image updated in the Monitor tab.

    It's possible to limit for which scene graph locations updates are sent to the renderer during a Live Render session, by using the Live Render Updates column in Katana's Scene Graph tab. This is typically used for projects that produce very large scene graphs.

    Live Rendering has historically been called re-rendering in early versions of Katana.

  • Disk Render: A Disk Render is a type of render in which the rendered image is written to a file on disk, and then loaded into the Monitor tab when the renderer has finished. Note that progress bars in the Monitor tab are not updated while a Disk Render is in progress.

    Disk Rendering has historically been called hot-rendering in early versions of Katana.

    NOTE: While the Preview and Live Render options are available from any node's context menu, a Disk Render can only be triggered from a Render node. 

  • Interactive Render: An interactive render is a render launched from a Katana UI session. There are two types of interactive renders available in Katana: Preview Render, and Live Render.

  • Interactive Render Filters: Interactive Render Filters (commonly abbreviated as IRF) allow users to set up common recipe changes for interactive renders, meaning Preview Renders and Live Renders, without having to add nodes to effect such changes at various points in a project's recipe. An IRF can consist of more than one change to the recipe, and it is the equivalent of appending nodes to the end of the node from which an interactive render is started. IRFs are defined in InteractiveRenderFilters nodes and can be selectively activated and deactivated in the Interactive Render Filters popup. The popup is accessible from the main toolbar in the Katana main window, before starting an interactive render from any node in a recipe.

    NOTE: IRFs are ignored for Disk Renders.

    For example, an IRF can be set up to reduce the render resolution for interactive renders without affecting Disk Renders, thus making debugging of such renders much quicker. Other examples of changes that can be set up by IRFs might include anti-aliasing settings, shading rate changes, or the number of light bounces.

    More information about setting up Interactive Render Filters can be found in the Katana Online Help as well as in the following article: Q100356: Increasing preview efficiency with Interactive Render Filters

  • Render Dependency: When starting a render from a Render node, other render passes that the render may depend on can be rendered to disk automatically by rendering with dependencies. Historically, this feature was used to produce shadow maps that are then used for a main render pass.


For further information about rendering in Katana, please see the Rendering Your Scene section of the Katana Online Help.

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