Thursday, February 26th, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Corona Renderer 1.0 ships

The new interactive rendering functionality in Corona Renderer 1.0 for 3ds Max in action. The first commercial release of the renderer also adds support for SSS, more realistic glossy materials, and improves performance.

Render Legion has released Corona Renderer for 3ds Max, the long-awaited first commercial version of its production-ready CPU-based biased/unbiased render engine.

In development since 2009, Corona built up an enthusiastic following during pre-release, particularly for visualisation work. According to Render Legion, the software has already been downloaded over 80,000 times.

New interactive renderer
If you’re using the latest beta, the commercial release adds a number of features that bring Corona’s functionality further in line with more established production renderers, notably interactive rendering.

Also CPU-based, it supports all of the features of the standard renderer, including motion blur, DoF and proxies; the same geometry types; all native and third-party map types; and many key plugins.

Render Legion claims output is “exactly the same” as the core engine, but usually resolves in under a second.

Improved caching, new SSS and BRDF functionality
There is also a new ‘partial caching’ system, UHD Cache, intended to hit a sweet spot between uncached unbiased renders (accurate, but slow to calculate) and cached biased renders (fast, but artefact-prone).

Other additions include a new volumetric/subsurface scattering system, which Render Legion calls ‘SSSR‘, and support for the GGX microfacet BDRF model for more realistic metallic and glossy materials.

Performance increases
There is also a new CoronaMultiMap texture for randomising colours and textures between instances, while the Blend material has been expanded, including support for nested Blend materials.

Performance in processor-intensive tasks has been improved over the last release: Render Legion claims speed boosts ranging from 5% on HDRI-only lit scenes to 1,200% when parsing “geometry-heavy” scenes.

There is also a fairly long list of UI and workflow improvements, and bugfixes.

Pricing and availability
Corona Renderer 1.0 for 3ds Max is available for 64-bit 3ds Max 2011 and above, running on Windows Vista and above. Users have a choice between a perpetual ‘Box’ licence and a ‘Fair SaaS’ rental model.

A Box licence costs €449 (around $510). It’s node-locked, and includes three fixed render nodes. Maintenance, which provides access to both major updates and monthly builds, costs a further €99 ($110) a year.

A Fair SaaS rental is a floating licence, and costs between €19.99 and €39.99 a month ($23-45) for between three and ten accompanying floating render nodes. It includes access to updates and monthly builds.

You can try the 1.0 release for free for 45 days, although Render Legion is also running a 45-day launch discount to encourage you to buy earlier. Last year’s Alpha 6 release will remain permanently available for free.

Read a full list of new features in Corona Renderer 1.0 on Render Legion’s website