Kai Krause

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Kai Krause (born 1957) is a software artist and user interface designer, best known for founding MetaCreations Corp., for his widely acclaimed Kai's Power Tools series of products, and for revolutionizing the state of graphical user interface design at that time.[1]


[edit] Biography

Born in Dortmund, Germany, Krause moved to the United States (California) in 1976. He worked with early synthesizers and vocoders. He worked on almost thirty records and movies. Krause has a Master's degree from the Brooks institute in Santa Barbara, California (1996), and a honorary doctorate from the University of Essen, Germany (1999). Time honored him in 1997 as "Future Leader", and Newsweek selected him as one of the 50 most influential thinkers of the next decade.

Today Kai Krause lives and works in the 1000-year-old castle Burg Rheineck near Bonn in Germany, which he calls Byteburg. In February 2005, the "DEMO" conference acknowledged him as one of the Top 15 Innovators of the last 15 years.[2]

[edit] History

Krause significantly broadened conventional notions of the graphical user interface by applying innovative design principles and providing realtime interaction for the user, neither of which were widely deployed in the 1980s because most users found them too oblique to learn and remember. User interface elements like soft shadows, rounded corners, and translucency, which are today common in Mac OS X, Windows XP and Linux, appeared already in products of his companies.

The company which he co-founded, MetaCreations Corp., began as HSC Software, which released the first version of Kai's breakthrough product, Kai's Power Tools (a.k.a "KPT"), in 1992. HSC went on to release a second version of KPT, and the first version of KPT Bryce, and several other titles before changing their name to Metatools in 1995. This name remained until 1997, when a rapid series of mergers with Fractal Design, RayDream, Specular, and RTG (Real-Time Geometry) necessitated a new identity for the growing organization: MetaCreations.

For the rest of the 1990s, MetaCreations continued to develop a wide variety of successful graphical software titles. Application and interfaces for which Krause was most directly responsible include Kai's Power Tools, Live Picture, KPT Bryce, Kai's Power Show, Kai's Power Goo, KPT Convolver, and Kai's Photo Soap and Poser.

[edit] Influence

As MetaCreations continued to grow, Krause was able to extend his vision even further by surrounding himself with, and often mentoring, like-minded designers and engineers. MetaCreations products that carry Kai's imprint, and were created by or with the aid of this close-knit team, include: MetaSquares, KPT Vector Effects, Canoma, Soap 2, Life In The Universe, and Poser. Many of Krause's core team remain influential in the industry today, continuing to create interfaces that further the fundamentals of Krause's unique design philosophy: simplicity, elegance, and sympathy for the end user. Some examples:

  • Picasa - Designed by Robert Bailey, Picasa is a consumer photo editing application, published by Google, where Bailey currently directs interface design.

[edit] Software

[edit] Quotations

  • "An interface is about hiding complexity from the user, It's about guiding a process, without cognitive understanding of what goes on beneath. Interface design is the art of enveloping the observer in an enticing, "try this" exploration with ever-new elements and designs as the tools to triumph in new territories."
  • "Make plans and take pictures."[3]
  • "A good analogy is like a diagonal frog."[4]
  • "93.8127 % of all statistics are useless."

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

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