Kai Krause

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Kai Krause
Head and shoulders photo of Kai Krause
Kai Krause in 2009
Born (1957-03-14) March 14, 1957 (age 62)
ResidenceBad Breisig, Germany

Kai Krause (born March 14, 1957) is a German 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.[1]


Born in Dortmund, Germany, Krause moved to California, United States in 1976. He worked with early synthesizers and vocoders, and contributed sound effects to almost thirty records and movies.[2] During the 1990s he ran several software companies –HSC Software, MetaTools, MetaCreations– to develop tools for graphic designers.[3]

In February 2005, the "DEMO" conference acknowledged him as one of the Top 15 Innovators of the last 15 years.[4] 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 Krause lives and works in the 1000-year-old Rheineck Castle [de] near Bonn in Germany.


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. Krause's products featured signature interface elements including soft shadows, rounded corners and translucency - all of which would later enjoy wider adoption, such as seen in Mac OS X and Windows XP Luna.

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.



  1. ^ Lombreglia, R. The Genie in the Machine The Atlantic Online, 1997-04-16
  2. ^ Borchers, Detlef Der Herr der Landschaften zeit.de, issue 30/1995 (German)
  3. ^ Müller-Prove, Matthias The Interface of Kai Krause's Software seminar paper 1999
  4. ^ Conference Honors Those Who Defined the Best Products and Technologies of the last 15 years
  5. ^ "About Frax: The Team". iter9, LLC. Retrieved October 4, 2013.

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