Kai Krause (born 1957) is a software and graphical user interface designer, best known for founding MetaCreations Corp., his Kai's Power Tools series of products, and for his contributions to graphical user interface design.
Born in Dortmund, Germany, Krause moved to California, United States 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 an honorary doctorate from the University of Essen, Germany (1999).
Today Kai Krause lives and works in the 1000-year-old castle Burg Rheineck near Bonn in Germany, which he called Byteburg. In February 2005, the "DEMO" conference acknowledged him as one of the Top 15 Innovators of the last 15 years.
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 of the low graphics abilities of the current hardware, and most users found them too oblique to learn and remember. Krause's products pioneered user interface techniques like soft shadows, rounded corners, and translucency, which were adopted in the Aqua of Mac OS X in 2001, and later became common in Windows XP and Linux.
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 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, Bryce, Kai's Power Show, Kai's Power Goo, Convolver, Kai's Photo Soap and Poser.
- Kai's Power Tools is now published by Corel Corporation, as "The Corel KPT Collection".
- KPT Bryce is now published by DAZ 3D, as simply "Bryce".
- Kai's Power Show, Kai's Photo Soap and Kai's Power Goo are now property of Nuance Communications. They have been discontinued.
- Lombreglia, R. The Genie in the Machine The Atlantic Online, 1997-04-16
- Borchers, Detlef Der Herr der Landschaften zeit.de, issue 30/1995 (German)
- Conference Honors Those Who Defined the Best Products and Technologies of the last 15 years