Accurate. Physically based. Intuitive.
Introducing Corona Renderer materials.


The Corona Material

Our design goal for Corona materials is to make them physically based, yet intuitive, flexible, and easy to set up, without having to tweak unnecessary sampling values and other confusing parameters. You also won’t have to choose between 10 or 20 different material types, you can pretty much do it all using the single Corona Material.

Corona Material UI

GGX & PBR Workflow

Corona Renderer uses the GGX microfacet model to deliver realistic–looking metals and other glossy materials. Our implementation of the GGX model fully conforms to the industry standard physically–based rendering (PBR) workflow. This model produces much more plausible results compared to legacy models such as Blinn, Phong, or Ward. Because of our state–of–the–art implementation, using this model does not incur any speed penalty unlike in other microfacet models.

Oscar by Victor Naumik

The materials also allow for easy import from third–party applications such as Allegorithmic’s Substance tools, and Quixel’s Megascans.

Material Library

The Corona Material Library

The new Material Library provides more than 520 ready to use materials, each with a high quality preview. The library includes easy to use functionality such as:

There's also our resources section which contains more high–quality materials from well–known artists and companies. All these free materials from the Material Library and the resource section are a great way to get started with Corona!

Material Preview

Material previewing uses the same rendering engine as the final frame rendering. The default 3ds Max material preview scene is replaced with a custom, more representative Corona scene, so you get a genuine “What You See Is What You Get” material editor. The example below shows the material preview on the left, and the material in a rendered scene on the right:

Material Preview and Render


Corona Renderer's 2.5D Displacement lets you achieve detailed and accurate displacement while still optimizing parsing times and memory usage.

2.5D Displacement

Volumetrics and Subsurface Scattering

Corona Renderer also features a powerful approach to Volumetrics and Subsurface Scattering.

Fully Ray Traced Solution

Historically, there were many algorithms for volumetric rendering, most of which relied on interpolation, fakes, and heavy bias to compute the result. Fortunately with modern CPUs in combination with our research, we have been able to ditch all of these outdated options and go straight for the most accurate, 100% ray traced solution. Even we were surprised by how fast the unbiased, un–interpolated solution could be!

Dedicated Skin Shader

Skin is one of the most complex materials to render, with many unique properties that cannot be covered in an all–purpose shader. The new CoronaSkinMtl shader makes it easy to control and adjust the look of the skin, and renders fast and efficiently with realistic results.

Daniel Craig by Luc Begin

Even if you have never tried rendering realistic skin before, you’ll find it easy to use and will get great results with the default settings.

Simple Setup for general SSS materials

Setting up volumetric scattering or SSS is often especially challenging, but Corona Renderer’s implementation in the all–purpose Corona Material makes it simple. It doesn’t need any sampling controls, as all sampling is done automatically. This makes its UI extremely simple: just set up the scattering and absorption properties for Volumetric mode (for liquids, glass, clouds, etc.) or the Amount, Radius and Scatter color for SSS mode (for skin, wax, food, etc.), and press “Render”.

Simple set up for SSS in the Corona Material

True 3D volume materials with “Inside Volume” mode

The Corona Volume Material offers an “Inside Volume” mode for true 3D volumetric materials. For example, by using a 3D noise map, you can have fog that varies in density in true 3D throughout the scene. Combined with the Corona Distance map, the possibilities are endless!

Some example 3d volume materials

The example below compares the “On Surface” mode with the “Inside Volume” mode:

Fire, smoke, water and more

Corona Renderer is compatible with most features of Phoenix FD, letting you use its simulations directly inside 3ds Max – for example, a Phoenix FD explosion is shown below:

A Phoenix FD explosion renderer with Corona Renderer

You can also load and render the industry–standard OpenVDB format using the Corona Volume Grid object, allowing you to work with the results of simulations exported from Blender, Houdini, Phoenix FD, and more. The material settings in the Corona Volume Grid lets you achieve a range of different looks and effects, even from the same OpenVDB data:

Imported OpenVDB data, rendered with different looks

Dedicated Hair Shader

You can’t have a great skin shader without also having a great hair shader! Corona Renderer’s dedicated hair shader keeps with our philosophy of delivering physical realistic results, fast rendering, and a simple UI. Once again, even if you have never rendered hair or fur before, you will get great results even from the defaults.

Edith by Markus Skibinski

Corona Renderer also supports native 3ds Max hair and fur, and Ornatrix and Hair Farm, so that the Hair shader will work for you, whatever plugin you use.


Some refractive materials bend light by a different amount depending on the wavelength of the light. This is called dispersion and creates a rainbow effect in the refracted light. Dispersion can be enabled in the standard Corona Material, and is controlled by the single Abbe number parameter. Enabling it adds realism to gemstones, glass, liquids and other materials. Dispersion also works with Caustics.

Bump Converter

By default, 3ds Max treats bump maps differently, so that some maps do not work as inputs to bump mapping. The Corona Bump Converter resolves this, allowing you to use any map as an input to the bump map channel in a shader. It also lets you use the 3ds Max native Output to apply adjustments to your bump map and get the results you would expect.

The Corona Bump Converter

Many Maps to Choose From

Corona Renderer comes with many useful maps that you will soon find indispensable, such as Ambient Occlusion, UVW randomization, Multimap, Triplanar mapping, and more. We’ll take a look at just two here, the UVWRandomizer and the Corona Distance map.

Corona UVWRandomizer

This flexible map has two main functions. First, it lets you randomize the UVW positioning, rotation, and scaling of a texture across different instances, objects, material ids, etc.

Second, it lets you randomize UVW positioning, rotation, and scaling in just one object by dividing the UVW space into a series of tiles. This lets you avoid the unwanted repetition and patterning which can be seen even with seamless textures when they are scaled to fit large surfaces such as floors, walls, ground surfaces, etc. It even works for procedural maps too, as seen in the image above.

Corona Distance Map

This flexible map can be used with Corona Scatter to easily achieve effects like keeping paths, roads, etc clear of plants and trees, and can also be used for creative effects such as adjusting materials based on distance to place ripples around an object in water, to cause objects to start glowing as they move close to each other, and more – it really is only limited by your creativity!

In the example below, the ground (with water included) and log were brought over from Quixel Megascans. The “Corona Distance map disabled” image looks a little unnatural, as the water appears completely still.

By using the Corona Distance Map to add extra displacement around the log, blended with the original displacement from Megascans, we can give the effect of ripples specifically around the log. Best of all, since this is procedural, if you move, scale or rotate the log object in the scene, the displacement effect will update automatically.

Corona Distance map

Material Overrides

For quick tests, or even for debugging a scene, it can be useful to override the materials with one simple material. This is easy to set up in Corona, with options that let you leave some materials (such as portals, glass, or light materials) unaffected by the override.

Flexible control of material overrides

Download Corona

We invite you to test drive Corona Renderer for FREE for 45 days without any limitations! Get the demo.

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