We’re pleased to unveil Corona Renderer 1.5 for Autodesk 3ds Max! This is the second update to Corona this year, and it focuses on significantly reducing the need for post-production software, increasing compatibility with materials from third party software, and of course increased stability and workflow improvements. This release was originally planned to be a small one, but it grew to be quite a game-changer!
- Interactive LightMix is unique to Corona Renderer and lets you adjust intensity and color of your lights and light emitting materials during and after render – perfect for anything from subtle adjustments through to turning day into night.
- Corona Materials have been updated to match evolving industry standards. This means they will work more like you expect if you are familiar with working in other engines, and gives increased compatibility when importing materials from third party software such as Allegorithmic’s Substance tools, Quixel’s Megascans, etc. Existing scenes will load with the new PBR mode disabled, and with Legacy mode enabled if necessary, to ensure they render without any changes to the materials. Also, textured Corona materials can now be previewed directly in the 3ds Max viewport.
- VFB features such as bloom, glare, filmic tone mapping, vignette, and saturation give you much more creative control over the end result, reducing your need to rely on post-production software.
- LUTs have been added to the VFB so that you can load .cube and .3dl LUT files to apply to your renders. The CoronaOutput map now also supports LUT processing, which can be used to apply LUTs to a bitmap or procedural map for use in your materials.
- Corona Distance Map lets you create “smart” materials that know how far away they are from objects in the scene. Use this to add waves around a coastline, wear-and-tear where objects meet, dirt and noise under window sills, and more.
- Corona Renderer 1.5 is freely available to all our customers on FairSaaS (monthly, yearly), Box with Subscription and Educational/Student license.
- Supports Autodesk 3ds Max versions 2012-2017.
Read more for full details on the update and download link!
Just before we get into the details of the update, we want to keep you informed on the latest news from the company.
Meeting Our Users
We’ve enjoyed meeting with you at several conferences this year, including 3DS London User Group and the End User Event in June, and AVD 2016 in September. In fact, we first officially announced this release during yet another great event, SOA Academy Day 7!
Corona Renderer for C4D Update
The next public Alpha of Corona for C4D is due very soon, and will bring the Mac OS support, denoising, much faster displacement, as well as the same updates to the CoronaMtl that are being introduced in 1.5. Alpha 6 is currently being checked and tested by the closed beta group.
We attended the Dallas Fort Worth C4D users group‘s first meeting, and we expect to be at a few more C4D events in the future – we hope to see you there!
New Web Developer
We’d like to welcome the latest addition to the Corona team, Luděk Uiberlay, who has joined to take care of the website. With Luděk onboard, we’ll be able to tackle an overhaul to the website & Customer Zone in the near future.
Work continues on this, and you can read more on the most recent blog post, including details of the release for Android!
No other renderer offers anything with this range of functionality. Interactive LightMix lets you adjust the intensity and the color of your lights, groups of lights and light-emitting materials during interactive rendering, regular rendering, or after rendering is complete, with almost negligible computing costs.
It allows for subtle adjustments, but also lets you make more extreme changes such as turning night into day, and all with an intuitive interface. Now you can render just once, and get a whole range of lighting setups!
The individual Render Elements for each light or group of lights can also be saved separately, allowing you to recombine and adjust those in post-production, opening up a range of possibilities – not only can you tweak and adjust your lighting without the need for re-rendering (including animation sequences), you could also animate the blending in your post-production software to allow for lights to be turned on and off, night to turn into day, all from rendering just once.
You can also save and load your LightMix setups so that the same settings can be quickly applied to different renders from the same scene. And we will monitor user feedback to push this workflow even further in the next 1.6 release with additional improvements and optimizations.
The GGX BRDF was modified in the CoronaMtl to offer the full glossiness range, bringing it in line with emerging industry standards and removing any physically incorrect dark or light “halo” at the edges of rough objects. This means it now gives expected results for all Glossiness and Fresnel values.
For compatibility, any existing scenes will load with materials that have the new PBR mode disabled, and Legacy mode enabled if necessary, to ensure they render without any changes to the look of the materials.
As well as making the behavior of materials more predictable and expected for those familiar with other software, this also gives increased compatibility with materials imported from third-party software such as Allegorithmic’s Substance tools, and Quixel’s Megascans.
In the example below, Substance Painter was used to create some materials. Notice how the render from 1.4 has particularly bright reflections at grazing angles, which was not like the material created in Painter – the changes to the CoronaMtl in 1.5 mean that Glossiness and Fresnel give the expected results.
The same Worn Metal material exported to Corona
New VFB Image Processing
The post-processing options in the VFB have been greatly improved, reducing the need to use third-party software to carry out the most common post-processing tasks, and all the parameters can be adjusted during rendering, interactive rendering, or after rendering.
You can also save the post-processing settings to easily load and apply those to any image. Each new item is detailed below:
Bloom creates a large, soft glow around bright areas in the image, ideal for adding softness to windows as an example, or giving a soft glow around a candle flame. Hue Power and Shift let you adjust the hue of the effect rather than have it purely dependent on the color of the light source.
Glare creates a sharper, more-focused glow with rays from bright areas in the image. This is ideal for creating a “starburst” effect around bright highlights on cars, from bright light sources, on gemstones, etc. The Hue Power and Shift parameters affect Glare in the same way as Bloom.
Bloom & Glare Render Elements
A separate beauty pass can be created without bloom & glare applied. Also, bloom & glare can be saved to their own render element. In the Beauty pass, Bloom and Glare can be turned on or off via a single checkbox.
Filmic Tone Mapping
Gives you control over highlights and shadows using the new filmic tone mapping. This can give more pleasing results with more ease than adjusting with the previous tools alone. Exposure, White Balance and Contrast still work alongside the Filmic highlights and shadows options.
You can now apply a LUT (Look-Up Table) to your rendered image. This supports both .cube and .3dl format, and allows you to quickly apply the “look” of particular film stock or camera model to your render.
Corona Renderer 1.5 comes with 77 LUTs bundled in the installer – we’d like to thank Adan Martin for providing his LUTs, Ground Control for designing 10 LUTs specially for Corona, and Martin Nabelek for providing the LUTs he used in the making of award-winning short film OFF.
In the examples below, the initial render at the top was changed subtly or dramatically simply by loading different LUT files:
The CoronaOutput map also supports LUT processing, which lets you apply LUTs to bitmaps, procedural maps, etc for use in your materials, as seen in the image below:
Controls the color saturation across the entire image:
Adds a circular vignette to the rendered image:
Corona Distance Map
The new Corona Distance Map generates a color gradient based on the distance to another object. It is also able to detect when the distance is on the inside of an object. This has an endless number of uses, limited only by your imagination! Some examples to get you started could be:
- Modifying water around an object, e.g. to show displacement around a boat, ripples around a rock, etc. This would work with sand or ground too.
- Add dirt, noise, corrosion or wear-and-tear where two objects meet, e.g. to add staining on a concrete wall under a windowsill, or to make mud more wet only under some rocks.
- Various VFX effects, such as one object beginning to glow when it gets close to another, or a “force field” that opens up to let an object through.
This first example shows a very simple setup just to illustrate how Corona Distance Map works, and to show that it is dynamic – even in the viewport:
In the example below, the ground (with water included) and log were brought over from Quixel Megascans (the grass was added with a CScatter). The “Corona Distance map disabled” image looks a little unnatural, unless the water was completely still.
Corona Distance Map was used to add extra displacement around the log, blended with the original displacement from Megascans. A native 3ds Max gradient was used to make the displacement rise and fall repeatedly with changes in distance, to give the effect of ripples.
Since this is procedural, if you move, scale or rotate the log object in the scene, the displacement effect will update automatically.
The pre-processing of displacement has been improved – now calculating displacement is 8 times faster or more, on average. But we saw speedups of up to 40x!
Corona Scatter Lister
A script included with Corona Renderer 1.5 that lists all CScatter objects in a scene and lets you adjust the most important parameters for all scatters in the scene, from one easy dialog.
For example, you can change the display mode, the number of scattered objects, etc. It also lets you easily select any CScatter in the scene, should you need to change parameters not covered in the Scatter Lister script.
This new Corona helper object lets you create warps for the Corona VR app directly inside 3ds Max, which means you can build a VR tour without the need to use the standalone editor.
Simply place the CoronaVrWarp object where you want the warp to appear in VR, set a few parameters, render as normal, and save to the new Corona JPG format to have the warp information embedded in your image, ready to use in Corona VR. Look for a full video walk-through over on the Corona VR tutorials page soon!
Cubemap VR images
The CoronaCameraMod now offers rendering to cubemap format, creating images that are in a horizontal strip layout (with side-by-side format used for stereoscopic images). Cubemap format is easier to edit in post, as it has no distortions.
Simply set the Image Aspect to 6 for ‘flat’ panoramic renders, or 12 for stereoscopic panoramic renders – a pop up dialog will warn you if the Image Aspect is incorrect, with the option to cancel the render and automatically apply the correct Image Aspect.
- CoronaMtls can now be displayed directly in the viewport
Corona materials can now be displayed in the viewport with visible textures.
- Making refraction glossy no longer darkens the material
- Added option to denoise individual render elements
A checkbox for each render element allows you to enable Denoising for that element.
- Added temporal consistency option to Corona Scatter
When the “Distribute on” object is animated, enabling this option will prevent the instances popping in and out of existence across keyframes.
- CoronaOutput map has new controls: brightness, saturation, contrast.
- Non-color mapped render elements (e.g. world position, normals, velocity) are now saved linearly in EXR format
This is due to a limitation in 3ds Max. It also means that for proper saving to LDR, the gamma has to be overridden to 1.0 in the file save dialog.
- Partial support for 3ds Max ART Renderer’s Physical Material added
Most features are supported, with partial support for Clearcoat and Subsurface Scattering. Metalness is not supported.
- Lowered memory footprint when using more than 255 lights
- Unchecking the Cast Shadows property now has a more consistent effect
Changing this setting in the 3ds Max Object Properties dialog now works the same as using the object’s material in a CoronaRaySwitch in all but the GI slots.
- Improved parsing of scenes with a LOT of Scatter instances by about 50%
- New contrast algorithm – works very closely to Photoshop, and does not make the image brighter or darker in general.
- Contrast can now have negative values that lower the original image contrast.
- Color Tint is now accessible from the VFB
This was previously available in the CoronaCameraMod and Camera/Exposure/Tone Mapping rollout in the Render Setup, and is now shown directly in the VFB.
- Corona Proxy Exporter was updated to version 0.96.
- Corona Converter Script was updated to version 1.29.
- Depth of Field is now disabled for free views, for smoother workflow in interactive rendering.
- Scatter in density mode is now always limited by the total count to prevent accidentally creating huge scatters.
- CoronaMix map now has a checkbox to select whether it works in linear or sRGB space – use sRGB mode to get 1:1 results with Photoshop.
- Added many new modes to CoronaMix map.
- Displaying any submap inside LayeredMtl/RaySwitchMtl in viewport now works.
- CoronaRaySwitchMtl – The material displayed in the viewport by default has been changed to the directly visible slot, with the option added to change which one is displayed.
- Resetting 3ds Max now resets Corona’s render regions.
- VFB History item names are now editable.
- Optimized material editor refreshing when material preview parameters are changed.
- Added option to use both normals to CoronaAO map.
- Added opacity clip checkbox for CoronaMtl.
- Added same material include/exclude option for CoronaRoundEdges map.
- Disabled autosave during rendering on DR slaves, when rendering from the command-line, or when having 3ds Max locked during render.
- Generally speeded up the UI when loading scenes and having material editor / VFB / render settings open.
- Added dome (half-spherical) mapping mode to CoronaBitmap.
- Improved resume from VFB History tab: loads previous render statistics (# of passes, …); does not clear VFB when pressing the button during rendering (when resuming is not allowed).
- Corona render elements are now created with unique names; minimizing overwrites by error.
- Added option to gather denoising data without actually performing denoising (for use in future standalone Corona app).
- Support for Max 2011 has been removed
After consultation with users, only Max 2012 and newer will be supported going forward.
- Removed support for correct rendering of Alpha v7 materials.
New “Camera” tab under Render Setup
All camera and post processing features have now been grouped for easy access to the new Camera tab, covering Tone mapping, Basic photographic settings, LUT, Bloom and Glare and Depth of Field / Motion Blur in one location.
New system-wide settings dialog
Several settings have now been made system-wide rather than saves with a scene, and all those settings are conveniently placed in one dialog.
New “+” Button functionality
All Corona functions that feature a + button (for picking scene nodes) have been updated with new functionality. As before, you can click on the + button, then click on objects that you want to be added to the list. However, you can now also select an object, or selection of objects, and then click the + button to add them all at once, while right clicking the button gives the option to clear the selection.
Improved Color Selector
Color tint and LightMix in Corona VFB features our brand new color selector with a range of useful improvements over the standard 3ds Max selector: additional Temperature selection method, ability to pick any color on screen via the Pick option, color can be represented in either 0-255, 0-1, or 0-100% scale, and also as hex code. Additionally there is a checkbox for selection between linear RGB and sRGB input. The Corona Color Selector can also be set in 3ds Max preferences for all color picking actions.
New Corona installer
- Faster typical installation.
- Consistent across plugins (3ds Max, C4D, Sketchup)
- Installs required MSVC redistributables and specific Windows updates automatically, removing problems with deployment.
- Can be uninstalled from Windows “Program Files” (or “Apps and Features”).
- Uninstaller more reliably cleans up all files, directories and registry entries.
- New pictures! 😉
Miscellaneous UI changes
- Localized tooltips added for render settings and Corona objects, materials, and maps – tooltips can now be displayed in a choice of 7 languages.
- CoronaBitmap open file dialog:
– Works even when rendering in Slate is turned off.
– Works when assigning a new bitmap to the 3ds Max Environment slot.
- Added option to save current render settings as defaults.
- ‘Render only elements’ button now replaced with ‘Render only masks (disable shading)’ checkbox. A warning is shown in the Beauty channel when render only elements are active.
- Added option to display CoronaLightMtl as wireframe.
- Set scatter point cloud displayed default to 1%.
- CoronaMultiMap now has an improved appearance in the material editor when showing the map alone:
- All logs are now periodically clamped to stay under 1 MB.
- Existing tooltips updated for grammar and clarity.
- CameraMod, Proxy, Light UI split into separate rollouts.
- Added warning when render stops because a bitmap was modified on HDD.
- Added small menu to the docked interactive VFB with stop, restart, copy functionality.
- Corona VFB render elements combo box now handles the home and end keys.
- Stats tab now displays number of passes gathered from DR separately
- Added warning when using DR + duplicate camera names
- Added warning to output texmap that it cannot unmap non-monotonic operators.
- UHD cache, autosave, file open dialogs remember last selected file when open again.
- Improved drawing of Corona Scatter spinners for Density and Frequency.
- Node list boxes now allow selecting more than one item at a time, so that the “-” button can delete all of the selected items at once.
- Using two (or more) materials with Refraction enabled in Blend or CoronaLayeredMtl now works as expected.
Previously, if two or more CoronaMtls with Refraction enabled were combined using the 3ds Max native Blend or the CoronaLayeredMtl shader, unexpected results could occur. This has been corrected.
- Velocity render element now compatible with Fusion and other post-production software.
The Velocity render element output has been updated. This now makes it fully compatible with post-processing in tools such as Blackmagic Design’s Fusion (previously, the direction of the blur may not have been as expected).
- Fixed: Slow scene parsing and excessive memory usage in some scenes with many objects.
- Fixed: Black highlights on glossy objects behind default glass materials (solid glass with transparent shadows).
List of Minor Bugfixes:
- Fixed: 3ds Max no longer crashes when a bitmap is changed on HDD.
- Fixed: Slow rendering/poor CPU utilization when using adaptivity + small render region.
- Fixed: Render elements saving black when using DR.
- Fixed: Layered mtl with Corona bitmap as mask causes recurring “browse images” to pop up.
- Fixed: Rare crashes / unexpected behavior in the VFB render History.
- Fixed: Viewport display of CoronaMtl with opacity map in alpha mode.
- Fixed: Standard mtl rendering of opacity map in alpha mode.
- Fixed: Changing color mapping in VFB restarted interactive rendering.
- Fixed: Cloning Corona scatter produces objects with the same name.
- Fixed: Slow scene playback when heavy Corona Scatter was present.
- FIxed: Scatter rotation not stable when distribution object rotates.
- Fixed: Animated morpher modifier freezing scene parsing.
- Fixed: Interactive rendering locking up when resetting Corona settings.
- Fixed: Render only elements + render selected did not work together.
- Fixed: Atmospheric fog does not render in IR.
- Fixed: Loading of Corona EXRs into Photoshop
- Fixed: Saving/resuming render from non-ASCII path EXR now works correctly
- Fixed: Excessive noise when using a large number of disc and spherical lights.
- FIxed: CoronaScatter updated automatically even when using manual updates.
- Fixed: Crash when using 3dsmax native lights along with a global volume material.
- Fixed: Corona VFB drawing when using bright 3ds Max UI.
- Fixed: A/B comparison not reset when IR starts.
- Fixed: Slow MultiMapTex UI in max 2017 SP2.
- Fixed: Spherical or Cylindrical camera + crop lead to incorrect texmap filtering.
- Fixed: Crashes when opening scene which included a CoronaSky.
- Fixed: Legacy proxy formats loading in 3ds Max 2017.
- Fixed: Grazing angle reflection artifacts.
- Fixed: CoronaFp.stopRender() only restarted interactive rendering instead of stopping it.
- Fixed: Crop/blowup vs. screen-mapped bitmaps on geometry.
- Fixed: Crash when using custom mtl editor preview with deleted scene.
- Fixed: Material editor not refreshed after interactive render with material editor off.
- Fixed: Crash in texture baking with extremely thin polygons.
- Fixed: Spinners mouse drag wrapping around when using 2 monitors with different resolutions.
- Improved Denoising for raw and texmap passes – fixed artifacts where diffuse texture would show up as a pattern in the result.
- Fixed: File selection dialogs not being modal (which could result in crashes).
- Fixed: CoronaSun include/exclude lists in interactive.
- Fixed: VFB autosave: open button not freezing when autosave is disabled.
- Fixed: freezing of + button in Mtl override when override is disabled.
Now you know what 1.5 can do, it’s time to try it for yourself! Download the latest version from here:
Now that 1.5 is out, it’s time to set to work on 1.6! This will feature improvements to Distributed Rendering, further improvements to the VFB and post-processing options, speed and memory optimizations, and more!
We continue to work hard on the Cinema 4D and SketchUp versions. Public Cinema4D MacOS release, as well as Linux compatibility are also well underway.
As ever, my thanks go out to everyone involved in Corona Renderer – to our devs, support, forum moderators, translators, beta testers, advisors, partners, resellers, and our users. All of you play a critical part in shaping how Corona grows and develops!
Adam, Ondra, and the Corona Crew