New Horizons – plans for 2017 and beyond

New Horizons

New Horizons for Corona Renderer

Today marks the beginning of a new era for Render Legion and Corona Renderer. We will be doubling our development team so that we can build more great software, and do so faster and smarter.

How? After a long 13 months of perfecting our plans, we have agreed to join forces with Chaos Group, which will make a massive long-term investment in Corona Renderer, paired with a vast amount of their technological IP which will help us to push Corona Renderer and other projects even further.

We firmly believe that by making this move we do the best possible thing for you, our users, to deliver the best tools in the shortest period of time while future-proofing the company.

We are happy that we were able to find a partner who is respectable, skilled and with a proven track record of creating great software, and who shares the same vision about the future of CG software.

Ondra and Vlado

First things first

Corona Renderer is here to stay. We know this will be your first concern, so it’s worth repeating – Corona Renderer is here to stay. We are continuing its development as usual. There is absolutely no plan to discontinue the development of Corona Renderer, in either the short or long term..

Render Legion as a company and all of us, the founders & developers, are staying too – only the shareholder of the company is changing. Ondrej, Jaroslav and I will keep our hands on the engineering and development of the software, and there are no restrictions on what we should or should not develop. Period.

Our vision

As some of you might know, Ondrej, Jaroslav and I started the company in May 2014 and our vision was to offer a great, easy to use and powerful rendering tool. I believe that we can say that we have achieved this, and that we are continuing to walk that path.

Our vision since 2014 has grown bigger and wider than we originally anticipated. We want to grow more, develop more and cover a wider spectrum of CG production software. In the last three years we have been learning how to sustainably grow as a company, how to keep high-quality, clean and powerful code while managing a far larger development team, and how to correctly conduct business, marketing and operations while staying financially independent.

Scaling the company

Last year, we started thinking about how to speed up the process, so that we could do more in less time. We realised that it was time to scale up the company. We found two main ingredients for successful scaling: A) Experience in the same field, and  B) Finance. Both of these two ingredients need to be in balance. One means nothing without the other. You can’t dream of doing big things without financing, just as you can’t dream of being big and successful while not backing your plans with experience.

We spoke with quite a few notable investors and venture capital funds in central Europe and we had their offers on the table – however none of them was able to offer us the experience and expertise that we were looking for.

So we shifted our focus to looking for a strategical partner instead, someone who shares our passion for CG graphics. We realised that such a partner could be Vlado and Peter from Chaos Group.

Chaos Group started from the bottom, just as we did; boot-strapped from the beginning, just the same as us. For us, having a partner who is not led by financial investors but by the developers is a major plus and one of the strong motivators for this move.

What can you expect in next couple of weeks or month?

There will not be many changes on the outside in the next couple of weeks. We will work closely with Peter & Vlado on setting up the plan on how best to use the IP and resources available in both companies to maximise the benefit for our users.

You can expect that Corona Renderer as well as V-Ray will benefit from each others IP. For example, some of Corona Renderer’s 1.7 VFX features are co-developed with Chaos Group. Also Corona’s new “faster sampler”, that made the recent builds faster by tens of percent, is the well-known DMC sampler from Chaos Group. So already you, our users, are benefiting from these new investments in our company.

Very soon we will introduce compatibility between each other’s assets. You will be able to use V-Ray proxies, materials and lights in Corona, and vice versa. Our goal is to remove or greatly reduce the need for converters, so that you will be able to switch between engines based on your needs with respect to the project you are working on.

Is there a space for two render engines under one umbrella?

We believe so. Corona and V-Ray are both able to create stunning images and they offer more or less the same features here and there. But what matters is the way you implement those features, how you approach the problem, and what kind of end user you tailor the solution for. Both softwares have distinctive DNA’s, where some parts are the same while others differ.

We believe that Corona lives in a different part of the 3D user base than V-Ray, with some overlaps. We try to tailor the UI and functionality of Corona to users who prefer simplicity and are willing to sacrifice a bit of flexibility. V-Ray on the other hand better suits users who like to have full control and flexibility at their disposal, which is something Corona is unable to offer. From now on, both render engines can complement each other in your pipeline.

Sounds too good to be true

Ondrej, Jaroslav and I have been members of the CG community since the early 2000’s, we live and breathe for the community, and we can understand that you may have some concerns about all that is happening right now. We can assure you that everything what we have negotiated and planned over the last 13 months with Peter and Vlado from Chaos Group is in line with our long term plans for Corona Renderer.

We believe that the cooperation of both companies will allow us to create better, faster and more interesting software in the near future which will benefit you, our users.

 

FAQ

What has happened?
TL;DR. Render Legion joined Chaos Group.

Will Chaos Group cease development of Corona Renderer?
Absolutely not. On the contrary, Chaos Group will invest in Render Legion, and as a result we will double the development team in the next 12 months.

Will Chaos Group cease development of V-Ray?
Absolutely not. V-Ray will continue its development as well, following their plans.

What is the benefit for our users?
By combining IP’s and technologies from both companies, we can improve Corona and V-Ray. We can and will also work on some projects together. You can already try the first improvements brought over from V-Ray in our current daily builds.

What is happening to the Corona Renderer team?
We will continue the development of Corona Renderer as planned, and we will expand the team in the near future.

What was the purchase price?
We have decided not to disclose transaction details.Let’s not make it all about the money.

Why did Chaos Group agree to acquire Render Legion?
To put it in Vlado’s own words: “Render Legion is a brilliant team, and we share the same passion and vision. By working together, we can make both V-Ray and Corona better — in ways we couldn’t do alone.”

Why did Render Legion decide to join Chaos Group?
We were looking for a strategic partner who would like to help us grow and who shared the same vision in the CG field. Chaos Group was able to offer us important knowledge in this field, with the resources and expertise to achieve our goals. We believe that Corona and our other projects will be developed further, and with the greatest care and intentions.

Ondrej, Jaroslav and I feel like parents, and Corona is our baby. We want only the best for our baby, and we want to see it grow and be successful. We want to be proud of what we have helped to create. At some point in your life as a parent, you realise that you cannot give your baby all that it needs by yourself, and you want others to help you with the growth and development of your child. And that’s what we did here. We want the best, and Chaos Group is the best for our baby.

Will Chaos Group integrate Render Legion into its own teams and processes?
The development team stays unchanged. We will be not playing chess with developers from the two companies, as we recognize how important is to keep well-functioning teams together, working on their own terms. But we will certainly cooperate in many ways – Chaos Group will help us with things where they have even greater expertise than us, such as sales, marketing and business development. We might also streamline some of our processes, so that we can both work more efficiently as a team.

Corona Renderer is cool. What will happen to the Render Legion culture?
Nothing. We will stay cool, posting memes and ponies on forums until we grow up one day.

What will happen to existing sites?
Forums, support, and our website will stay. We might change some parts of our website in the future, as it would be better to maintain just one system so that we can focus more on development, but that is something which we will figure out with Vlado and Peter.

I have other questions. Who can I talk to for more information?
You can shoot your question here in the comments under this article; alternatively you can write to support and your message will find its way to my inbox.

THANKS

We would like to say thanks to our customers, users, developers and other team members who helped and supported us in the past three and half years on our journey.

Today we are continuing that journey towards new broader horizons, and we want you to be part of it, as you always have been.

Thank you!
Ondra, Jarda and Adam

58 thoughts on “New Horizons – plans for 2017 and beyond

    1. Both products will continue, with their same philosophy and approach as always (just able to share IP so that both teams don’t have to spend their time solving the same problems separately). So yes, there will be two great renderers (or I should say greater renderers, both were already great!)

      Thanks!
      Tom

  1. What with the pricing and licensing policy? Will be some serious changes? We’d like to stay at normal price as usual.

    1. I can’t talk about specifics at the moment, other than to say what was mentioned in the Q&A and live presentations – there will be work done on greater compatibility so that one will be able to handle the assets of the other. So if you have a V-Ray scene, you can just switch render engine to Corona Renderer and press render and get a good result, without having to do any conversion first (and the same the other way round if you have a Corona Renderer scene).

      So, making the assets (materials, lights, etc.) from both work well with each other is definitely on the cards. More details as development continues, of course!

      Thanks!
      Tom

  2. Very scarring information, let’s hope it won’t end as usually – slowly killing bought product…

    1. It won’t end that way. The deal took over a year to finalize all the details, and part of that is protecting the Corona that we and our users love! I can also just say that neither Chaos Group nor Render Legion are anything at all like the other companies people point to in past acquisitions (naming no names) 🙂

      Thanks!
      Tom

    1. Not true at all. Vray rental costs 30 euros per month, yearly plan. Corona is 20. And i dont see why this has to change. But im surprised with the amount of misinformed users all over the internet.

    1. And those will remain our strengths for sure! The plan would be to have even faster development in fact 🙂 And still focused on changing the world of 3D rendering and pushing boundaries on what users can do, and do intuitively and simply!

      Thanks!
      Tom

    1. Big news and unexpected, so yes, we understand how it may come as a surprise and shock – all will be excellent though! And thank you for the best wishes!

      Thanks!
      Tom

    1. It’s not true 🙂 Both products will remain separate (as they appeal and sell to different people).

      Thanks!
      Tom

  3. I am a VRay and 3dsmax user and I find it very refreshing to see a small company not being bought by autodesk, but by an only tiny bit bigger company.
    I trust Chaos to be both human and pragmatic in managing the merge. They aren’t driven by shareholders and are dedicated to making the smartest moves, in my humble and smart opinion. 😉
    Even if at one point corona disappears, it wouldn’t be for strategical reason but for completely merged DNA. In a Darwin way, not in rigged oligarchic way.

  4. I am so upset. This is so typical. You guys rear your head in a market, like so many other markets, needing innovation and an injection of motivation to the big players (vray). I personally think you guys were kicking their ass and they obviously got quite nervous. If things would have played out, you would have surpassed them and could have bought them. This story started so awesome, the small guy stomping on the big guys toe, but then this is how the story ends….
    I understand retirement and financial stability, but this wasn’t the way.

    First order of business, wipe the ingenious licensing scheme…. jack the prices up 1200%

    You DO NOT SELL OUT TO THE LOSING SIDE. Vray has its place, has been around awhile, but you guys were infants and already teaching lessons.

    I don’t even know what to say. Im from the ARCH VIZ side and Vray never once gave me what you guys have in a couple months ever.

    1. No sell out involved – as noted in the blog, live presentation, and the Q&A session, this idea originated on our side. Investment was needed, and it came down to either having general venture capital (from people with no understanding of the product, the market, or the users), or from someone like Chaos Group who knows just where we are coming from.

      As the blog says, “Our vision since 2014 has grown bigger and wider than we originally anticipated. We want to grow more, develop more and cover a wider spectrum of CG production software. ” – and to do that will take investment, which had to come from somewhere. We believe that coming from people who understand the technology and market is better than just from general venture capital.

      For sure, V-Ray does not fit everyone’s needs, just like you say – and that’s why both products will continue to be developed, as they appeal to different people.

      And just to note, the pricing is not changing 🙂

      Thanks!
      Tom

  5. Don’t know why you had to give in. With hard work, dedication & time you could be in the same position as V-Ray in a few years. No competition hinders progress whether you say it or not and you’re forgetting users left V-Ray for a reason. It’s a sad day for your loyal customers. You could of made it on your own and with the support of us. Not chaos groups money. Rant over.

    1. Absolutely no “giving in” happening here 🙂

      The blog notes – “Our vision since 2014 has grown bigger and wider than we originally anticipated. We want to grow more, develop more and cover a wider spectrum of CG production software. ”

      To do that takes investment, either from general venture capital with no compassion or understanding of the market, our users, the technology etc, or from people like Chaos Group who started the same as we did so share our passion and knowledge.

      And for sure we could have “made it” on our own and continued development of Corona Renderer, but we are looking to go beyond that – again to quote the blog “We will be doubling our development team so that we can build more great software, and do so faster and smarter.”

      Thanks!
      Tom

      1. Thanks for the reply.

        I do still think give in is an appropriate way to put it. I just don’t get why coronas biggest rival. It’s kind of like Barcelona FC getting bought by Real Madrid because they share the same passion and need financial help.

        Yes, they have passion and expertise but that’s something you could of gotten over time. Let’s just hope chaos groups intentions are good and they give you, the Corona team free rane to develop the software as if they were silent partners. Yes the IP will be exchanged which is one great thing to come from this but I’m worried that new features will need to be approved by CG in order to start development.

        Please prove me and all the doubters wrong.

        1. We will be working hard to prove all doubts and fears unfounded 🙂 I know for some it will just take time, to see it for themselves and that no amount of words right now will give that assurance, but we will indeed show over time that all is good with the world and the Corona Renderer everyone knows and loves is not going anywhere!

          The blog notes that there is free rein on choosing what features, direction etc. Corona Renderer goes in (and V-Ray too of course).

          On the investment side, the comparison would be more like, would you prefer your favourite football team to be bought by a businessman who has no interest nor background in football, or to have an investment put into it by someone who lives and breathes football themselves? The former would be “regular venture capital” where the investors would expect ROI on their investment but have no clue about 3D, rendering, or our users. So we went with the second option instead 🙂

  6. I do not know if I should feel sorry for this news, but what I know is that I did not like corona render very much. I think I’m sorry …

    1. Sorry to hear you do not like Corona Renderer – if you are a V-Ray user, the same assurances apply, that V-Ray will remain a separate product and keep the same approach it is known for. All that will change is that there will be sharing of IP and technology that will make V-Ray even better!

      Thanks!
      Tom

  7. Looks good. As long as they don’t merge completely. Personally, I love of both renderers. Each has unique qualities.

    Corona is very good and simple. If they include more functionalities without great UI experience then they will lose their “Simple and Easy” mark. Which will make corona “Just an another renderer!”.

    On other hands, V-Ray is also having great progressive rendering power. Also, It has been king of rendering industry since a long period. They gave user so much power in their scene. In that case, No other renderer can beat V-Ray.

    So? What is It? Maybe a beginning of something new like “C-ray”!!!?? (In Long Term Process).

    Whatever happens, we hope they always consider each other’s great powers and don’t merge them completely. as they are saying they won’t in near future.

    Best of luck teams!

    1. Thank you! No plans for the two to merge, separate products with separate philosophies, both continuing on their planned paths – only things will progress faster now for both engines 🙂

    1. The live announcement and Q&A today touched on this – the plan is to make it so that you can load a scene set up for one renderer and use it in the other, without needing to do any sort of conversion before hand. So the plan is that a Corona material or light will render in V-Ray without conversion, and the same the other way round 🙂

      Thanks!
      Tom

    1. Thank you! And there will be other benefits to come (2D displacement, and Phoenix / OpenVDB support to name two that should be seen in the fairly immediate future)

  8. both engines evolved a lot because of the competition between each other. now they might adopt the good stuff from each other but in the long term I am sure the innovation will stop because of the lack of competition. This makes me sad.

    1. Competition has not stopped by any means. There are still a lot of choices in terms of render engines, and every 3D software comes with one built in – engines always have to offer something over and above that if users are to want to move beyond what they already have by default 🙂

      Not only that, but don’t forget that the driving force for developers like Vlado and Ondra are that they just LOVE solving problems, making things possible that were never possible before… there are some good replies from both developers on the forum (https://corona-renderer.com/forum/index.php?topic=17232.msg107898#msg107898 to start the thread from where the devs were back from the D2 conference and able to start replying). As noted, if it was about money, there are more profitable jobs for coders to be working in than rendering – they do this for love of the subject, and that means that they will always be looking to push boundaries and take rendering into new territory 🙂

      So innovation and growth will not be slowing – speeding up, in fact, as the developers can share IP and not “reinvent the wheel” separately for each innovation.

      Thanks!
      Tom

  9. Hi guys!

    This is really great, I can’t understand where all the negativity is coming from, people just fear change in an irrational way.

    As soon as I read the news I got very excited as I understand perfectly well the need to grow and develop faster, I could see how you were getting overwhelmed with all the different requests from your users wanting you to focus on several different things, everyone arguing that their needs were the most important.

    TL;DR I think this is fantastic news and I believe in you and your work and I am very excited for the future to come.

    Thanks for all the hard work!

    1. You are welcome, for the hard work the team puts in! It is what we love doing 🙂 And yes, the future will be very exciting!

      On the negativity, I see it as passion and love for Corona Renderer – kind of like a parent yelling at their kid for coming home late, when what they really mean is “I love you and was very worried” 😉

    1. Oops somehow my reply got posted as a new post 🙂 Just wanted to say thank you and glad you were able to attend!

  10. How much was Render Legion acquired for, as in total acquisition cost and technicalities of the merger? It would be good to understand what value Chaos group assigned to Carona Renderer.
    A typical example of M&A, larger companies absorbing smaller businesses to wipe out the competition and quantum leap their development, R&D etc into the unbiased rendering space. We saw this type of activity with Adobe & Autodesk with some success, ultimately creating a bigger better business and service offering in the end.
    Only time will tell how this will be received by the community, and it would be difficult, if not silly to speculate the outcome of this. Either way, best of luck, we truly expect and hope this will be a wise move forward for all.

    1. Thank you for the best wishes! As noted in the blog, we are not disclosing the financial details of the arrangement since it has no effect on the users – the things that do have an effect we are happy to talk about, such as the doubling of the size of our development team 🙂

      On other acquisitions, I can just say that neither Chaos Group nor Render Legion are companies that are similar to other megacorporations that people look to when thinking about stories of past acquisitions 😉

  11. Thank you! Glad you got to attend, it was great for everyone to be able to deliver the news in person from the stage.

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