REVIEW: Corona Renderer 7 for 3ds Max
With the recent release of Corona’s latest offering for 3ds Max, version 7, we thought it would be good to take it for a spin to see if it is worth the purchase or upgrade?
All image and video credits supplied by Corona
With the recent release of Corona’s latest offering for 3ds Max, version 7, we thought it would be good to see what it’s like. Since its inception in 2009 Corona Renderer has gone from strength to strength. What started as one man’s project has now since been swallowed up by the mighty photo-real rendering outfit that is Chaos Group and this has led to further growth in features and performance leading to it becoming one of the forerunners in the visualization industry.
New features for this release of Corona Renderer centre on an all new physical material, an updated sky model and an updated material library. This might not sound like the most exciting set of features but it’s worth noting that with every passing release Corona Renderer is becoming an increasingly well-rounded tool to turn your visions into reality. Let’s take a look at these features in turn.
Other than lighting, materials are pretty much the biggest tool within a renderer’s arsenal. It’s been 5 years since Corona delivered a substantial update to their materials so this will come as a welcome addition to every Corona user. The old physical material is still included as a legacy version with the new version pushing the limits in areas of clear coatings, sheen and glass. These are all areas that had substantial limitations in version 6 so these additions make version 7 a much more robust tool to render materials.
The Clearcoat part of the new Physical Material does away with having to use multiple layers to represent surfaces that have coats over them, such as paint and varnish. This will be a big time-saver. The addition of a Sheen effect for fabrics ensures that they are rendered accurately and improved glass capabilities ensures you have all the settings and accuracy you need. Finally, they have included 35 presets to the new Physical Material which load in the required settings automatically. It’s unfortunate that maps are not also loaded in for these presets but they do obviously have the Material Library if you want to make use of that.
If you’re new to Corona Renderer then these changes will be expected for any renderer but if you’re an existing user then you’ll be glad to see these changes. They will speed up your workflow and enable you to focus on your materials without any unnecessary hassle.
This has undergone a facelift and with that has come a new name: the PRG Clear Sky Model. The new Volume Effect is impressive! Gone or the days of having to use a Volume material to simulate an accurate looking atmosphere. In the real-world you want distant objects to take on more of the sky color and that’s exactly what this effect does. With this carried out in the Sky Model you are not bogged down with a complex setup or long render times. It’s as simple as turning it on and adjusting the strength of the effect. Great news. Settings for Turbidity and Horizon Blur are also included in this updated model.
Another thing that is great about this model is that you can turn it off if you don’t want realistic results. So, if you’re aiming for something more artist and avant-garde then you won’t be limited.
Along with a new Physical Material there are also some amends and additions to the library of materials. As the Physical Material has been given improved functionality they’ve also updated the wood and metal materials. There is also the addition of a Masonry category to make the overall set of materials more complete. It’s great to see that the library of materials is being regularly reviewed, revised and added to. This ensures that results continue to get better and more accurate with every release.
Improved Corona Converter
Along with the new Physical Material, Corona have delivered major updates to the Corona Converter. They had to didn’t they! With ease and simplicity, it converts every material to the new Physical Material. Your old scenes can therefore be quickly updated so that you can take advantage of the improvements added in this version. Along with the new Physical Material, Corona have delivered major updates to the Corona Converter. They had to didn’t they! With ease and simplicity, it converts every material to the new Physical Material. Your old scenes can therefore be quickly updated so that you can take advantage of the improvements added in this version.
Tell me, is it faster?
Understandably one of the main things we want to know, aside from the new features, is whether it’s quicker or not. No-one likes to sit around while they wait for their render to finish and so any improvements in render time are very much welcome. We’ve not carried out our own benchmark tests but there are some speed improvements that are advertised by Corona. The introduction of their new 32 by 32 pixel blocks gives between a 5-15% improvement. Faster denoising gives up to 20%. Faster rendering of Transparency gives up to a whopping 50%. This is great news as we all know how slow glass can be to render with certain settings. And finally, scenes open 35% quicker on average. You might not notice each of these speed improvements individually but you can rest easy knowing that your scenes are rendering more quickly than before!
This new version is a solid upgrade. If you’re already a happy Corona user then this will only add to your satisfaction. The renderer is going from strength to strength and this intentional development is set to continue. If you’re looking for a new renderer then this should certainly be in your list for consideration. If you have more money, you might want to invest in an even more highly developed renderer such as VRay and to help you make your decision Corona have released details of their upcoming development plans for the renderer.
Corona Renderer 7 for 3ds Max New Features