1 Meta-History

in The Interface of Kai Krause’s Software

1.1 CV

Kai Krause was born 1957 in Dortmund. He came to California in 1976 with two friends. He worked as a musician for Disney Sound Effects; the sound track for “Star Trek: The Movie” was created on his synthesizers*. * In fact Kai won a Clio Award for his sound effects in a Star Wars radio spot. Emerson, Lake & Powell bought sound systems from him and he is still working with Peter Gabriel today in order to fulfill his vision of visualized music as 3D sculptures. [Truong97]

He was running a forum for several years on AOL: “Kai’s Power Tips & Tricks”. He gave people tips and little pieces of code on line, simply because they shared his passion for computer graphics. This became an extensive and valuable collection of practical information how to get special effects with Adobe Photoshop. It can still be downloaded from several web sites. [KaiTT]

1.2 The Company

Fig. 1 Timeline with companies and products

Harward Systems Corporation (HSC Software Corp.) [also "Happy Software Company"] was founded by John Wilczak. Ben Weiss and Kai joined him in 1991 at HSC and created the first version of Kai’s Power Tools. KPT is a set of plug-ins that use the Adobe Photoshop programing interface for 3rd partyfilters. Many ideas from “Kai’s Power Tips & Tricks” get implemented as simple and easy to use pieces of software. KPT evolved until version3 in 1995. This release contains the “Texture Explorer”, the “Spheroid Designer” and “KPT Lens f/x” among others. Convolver came out as a separate product. HSC was renamed to MetaTools, Inc. the same year.

Eric Wenger and Phil Clevenger came into the team to develop a landscape-simulating product called Bryce (named after Bryce Canyon). They started creating other kinds of software starting with Kai’s Power GOO, Kai’s Photo Soap and Kai’s Power Show. Before GOO Kai was well known only by computer artists as a creator of creative tools. With GOO Kai became noticed by a much broader audience. People played with GOO. The complex and difficult algorithms are well hidden by the interface. Even children can change images of their classmates or their teachers to funny caricatures. Kai himself calls this sort of computer programs “funware”.

In 1998 Phil Clevenger and Kai managed to transfer the main interface concepts from Bryce to Poser3. Poser was originally created by Fractal Design. The companies MetaTools and Fractal Design merged in 1997. The new company was named MetaCreations Corp.. In 1998 it has about 300 employees. The main office is in Santa Barbara, but several other facilities e.g. in San Francisco, are part of MetaCreations. [MCRE]

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Table of Contents MetaHistory The Software Kai's Interface Language References

5/1/20