Corona renderer is a new (un)biased photorealistic renderer, available both as fully integrated 3ds MAX plugin, and a standalone CLI application. While it is still under development, it is already widely used in production. Since Corona was started in 2009 by Ondra Karlík, it became a production-ready renderer capable of creating high quality results, with over 10 000 downloads already.
The renderer is currently in an open alpha-test stage. This means it is free to use, even for commercial projects, without any resolution limitations or watermarks. It can be downloaded after registering at the Corona forum. The forum is currently also the main source of information, since there is no proper website yet.
- Free for commercial use without any limitations, with user-friendly pricing planned for future releases.
- Easy to use - most scenes can be rendered with default settings, without changing a single parameter! Most new users are able to learn Corona in 1-3 days. And it is a deeply integrated 3ds MAX plugin, not only an exporter.
- High quality results with no interpolation artifacts or splotches. Only 100% crisp ray-traced shadows and GI. Even biased results are very close to the unbiased reference.
- Fast rendering with immediate feedback with the progressive rendering. Corona can quickly render complicated scenes with glossy reflections, soft shadows, massive vegetation, etc.
- Fast development - There is a new major version every few months. Most serious reported bugs are fixed in a matter of days. Users can propose new features, and most of the good suggestions are implemented in the next major release.
Some of the supported features are:
- Full 3ds MAX integration
- Standalone version with a third-party Blender exporter
- Unbiased/consistent rendering with path tracing, light tracing, bidirectional path tracing, progressive photon mapping, and Vertex Connection and Merging
- Biased splotch-free rendering with radiance caches
- Corona material supporting: diffuse, reflection, refraction, translucency, opacity, bump/normal mapping, displacement, emission, and anisotropy
- Physical sun & sky, area lights, IES light profiles, and fast geometry lights
- Physically correct depth of field and motion blur rendering, physical camera and light emission settings
- Progressive and bucket rendering modes
- Distributed rendering
- Built-in simple and fast scattering and proxy plugins, custom texmaps
Getting started with Corona is surprisingly easy. Just create an account on the forum and download and install the latest build. You can quickly try Corona by converting an old scene via the conversion scripts. To learn the basics of the renderer, view the videotutorials, or go through the online documentation. If you have any questions, suggestions, feature requests, or bugs to report, be sure to post them on the forum!
We are open to any mutually beneficial cooperation. Here are some examples of possible collaboration, if any of them apply to you, or if you have any other idea, do not hesitate to contact us.
- Other plugin developers: we will be glad to work with you to make your 3ds MAX plugin compatible with Corona renderer.
- Models/materials/textures vendors: we can help you create Corona-compatible content, or convert existing one.
- Renderfarms: we can help you with deploying Corona to your renderfarm, or by adding features to make it more friendly to your pipeline.
- CG applications developers: we can integrate Corona into your application, or provide you with a simple API. Discounted/unlimited licences will be available.
Frequently asked questions
- What are the minimum hardware requirements?
- There are two versions of Corona - standard and legacy. The standard one uses the SSE4.1 instruction set to achieve maximum speed on modern CPUs, and needs an Intel i3/5/7 CPU or newer Core 2 (e.g. 9xxx). Legacy version should run on all CPUs of the last decade, but is about 20% slower. The installer automatically chooses the correct version for you.
- What are the minimum software requirements?
- You currently need an x64 3ds MAX 2011/2012/2013/2014 running on Windows Vista or newer.
- Is Corona CPU or GPU based?
- It is entirely CPU based with no intention of making a GPU version in the foreseeable future. The reason is that the CPU version is fast enough, and there would not be nearly enough speed improvement to justify the amount of changes required and reduced flexibility.
- Is Corona biased or unbiased renderer?
- It is both. It does not follow the traditional division and tries to combine the best of the two worlds - the speed and flexibility of biased renderers with the image quality and simplicity of unbiased ones. As such, it supports both unbiased and biased rendering modes, that can be additionally combined together to get the best bias/noise ratio.
- Is Corona commercial software?
- Currently, it is free to use, but there are plans to make it commercial in the future, after it is fully developed. It will however always have some free versions, and the most active betatesters will get access to the full versions for free.
- Will Corona support 3D packages other than 3ds MAX?
- This is definitely planned. The architecture of the renderer has been prepared for it from the beginning. There is currently a finished CLI standalone version, Cinema 4D version in development, and a third-party Blender exporter.
- I've found a bug, what should I do?
- Post it in the bug reporting section of the forum. Be sure to include good description of how the bug manifests, how to reproduce it, and attach the scene if possible.
- What are the plans for the future?
- Main priorities are to add the last remaining "big" unsupported features, such as SSS, interactive rendering, etc., then create better user interface, and try to build wide user-base.
- Why does this webpage suck so much?
- Because the renderer development if very time-intensive and we did not have the time to build a proper website yet. That being said there will definitely be one in the future.