Corona Renderer v2




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New advanced high performance renderer for 3ds Max, and (soon) Cinema 4D, and other platforms.

Corona Renderer delivers high quality, physically-based shading in production rendering. All its features are tightly integrated into Autodesk 3ds Max.



corona render rendering qualityRendering Quality

Corona Renderer delivers predictable, reliable, and physically plausible results with no compromises in quality. Realistic lighting and materials are yours right out of the box.

Biased and Unbiased Rendering

Corona Renderer offers both biased and unbiased rendering solutions.

By default, Corona Renderer uses a slightly biased solution, very close to being unbiased but considerably reducing render times. This is the recommended solution and works without you having to do any setup whatsoever. Corona Renderer will always deliver crisp, realistic results without splotches, interpolation artifacts or any other visual imperfections.

Although most users never need it, the option does exist to choose to render in a fully unbiased mode using advanced rendering algorithms like BDPT/VCM. These algorithms can enhance certain specific features in rendering, such as caustics, but with the associated performance penalty.

corona render udhUHD Cache

Traditionally, you had to choose between using unbiased algorithms with no caching and accept long render times, or using biased caching algorithms and deal with splotches, missing shadows, and sensitive input parameters. Corona Renderer merges the best of both worlds – the UHD cache is significantly faster than plain path tracing, but does not suffer from artifacts, missing contact shadows, or complicated UI controls.

The UHD cache uses only partial caching, so does not try to interpolate everything. While this is slower than a fully cached solution (such as irradiance caching), it does not create artifacts, only noise that eventually goes away.

The UHD cache is an ideal solution for animation, and significantly reduces flickering even when light sources or geometry are moving. This is especially important when the cache cannot be precomputed.

Ease Of Use

corona render ease of useNo–one calls themselves a “3D Technician” – everyone rightly calls themselves a 3D artist, and that means your tools should be as close to invisible as possible so they don’t get in the way of your creativity.

Corona Renderer is one of the easiest to learn render engines. Its setup really is as simple as pressing “Render”! Most new users will learn Corona Renderer in just one day, and fall in love with it over the next few.

Easy to Understand

Our mission with Corona Renderer is to liberate users from the technical, unnatural process that rendering was in the past. We are constantly trying to simplify the creative process by removing or hiding any unnecessary technical settings, so artists can focus on their vision. The era of studying manuals and sampling tweaking is over. Just press render and let Corona do its magic.

Artist Friendly

Corona Renderer is developed in tight cooperation with the artist community. Its creators are former artists as well, so this collective knowledge and experience plays a huge role in the design and on–going development.

Whether you are looking to purchase your first third–party renderer, or you are already a pro who has used many different engines, you’ll find Corona Renderer’s ease of use to be refreshing!

corona render speedSpeed & Interactivity

Speed is an important factor in any production environment, and a renderer must always deliver results as fast as possible.

As a result, we are obsessed with speed! We like to hunt for milliseconds in our own code, and are always looking for ways to cut down parsing and rendering times without forcing users to buy expensive hardware, by focusing on creating smart algorithms under the hood. In every version we release, we look to boost the speed of rendering as much as possible as well as adding new features.

Corona Renderer uses Intel Embree Ray Tracing Kernels, making the CPU–only Corona as fast as many GPU renderers but without any of the limitations of GPU–based solutions…


The denoising feature analyzes noise in the 3D space, so is not just a 2D post–process. You can use it to reduce the number of passes needed to get a noise–free image, with render time reductions of 50 to 70% reported to us by third parties in commercial usage (not in carefully crafted test scenes!). It will also remove fireflies (hot pixels) from an image, and can be used only in that mode if required.

Denoising is seamlessly integrated into the core as a one–click solution. The denoising level can be interactively adjusted in the VFB after rendering is complete, so that you are not locked in to the level set in the rendering options. This lets you check and adjust the blending between the regular and the denoised image without having to re–render. You can also calculate Denoising in the Corona Image Editor rather than at render time and without the overhead of working in a 3D application.

Interactive Rendering

Corona Renderer aims to make you faster as well as your renders, with a workflow that is second–to–none. Thanks to its fully–featured Interactive Rendering, Corona Renderer brings you all the same advantages as a GPU render engine but without any of the drawbacks and limitations.


You can change materials, lights, and create or adjust geometry and see your interactive render respond almost immediately. It runs completely on the CPU, so it has no limitations and won’t care what graphics card you have installed.


corona render interactive renderingWhat You See Is What You Get

Our interactive rendering is an integral part of the Corona core and shares over 99.9% of the regular renderer code. This means that all features of Corona Renderer are supported, and that the results are exactly the same as your final render – you can render motion blur, DOF, create proxies, scatter systems and more, all with instant feedback.


Because our interactive and regular renderer are almost identical, all types of geometry and proxies are supported. The same goes for all the 3ds Max maps and third party maps. Even the advanced third party plugins, such as Itoo Forest Pack, or hair and fur from Ornatrix, and Hair Farm, work as expected. You can find a full list of supported plugins in the Resources section.

Interactive Rendering also offers as many render regions as you like, which can be moved and resized as you choose. This means that so that they can act as a “sample brush”, letting you paint–in areas which you want to refine faster or inspect at better quality.

If you want to know more about the differences between CPU and GPU solutions, you can see here why we are proudly CPU based.

Efficient Handling of Many Lights

Corona handles scenes with many lights without problems and with no penalty to render time, so that you don’t have to worry about trying to optimize your scene.

Adaptive Image Sampling

This balances out the rendering calculations over the image to focus more processing power on tricky areas like shadows. By keeping noise more evenly distributed, this gives a usable image more quickly, and also allows Denoising to work its magic.

Powerful Workflow Tools

corona render workflow toolsAs former CG artists, we know that the output quality and speed are not the only things that make a great renderer. That is why Corona Renderer comes with many powerful tools to accelerate your workflow that will make you faster as well as your renders!

Extensive Post–Processing, Inside the VFB

Save time (and money) by reducing or even removing the need to use third–party software to carry out post–production work on your renders, thanks to the extensive range of post–processing tools available directly inside the Corona VFB. All of these can be adjusted before, during or after rendering, and settings saved for instant re–use in any scene.

Take a look at how much control you have over your final render with the list of effects below:

  • Exposure – Controls the overall exposure of the image.
  • Highlight Compression – Compresses highlights in the image to reduce/remove burned–out areas.
  • White Balance – Controls the white balance of the image.
  • Contrast – Adjust the contrast of the image.
  • Saturation – Controls the overall color saturation.
  • Filmic highlights – Controls a subtle highlight compression without loss of color saturation.
  • Filmic shadows – Controls the richness/saturation of shadows in the image.
  • Vignette intensity – Applies a subtle, realistic vignette.
  • Color tint – Adjust the overall color tint of the image.
  • LUTs – Allows quickly changing the overall look of the image by applying one of many ready–made LUTs. The strength of the LUT effect can be controlled using the LUT Opacity so that it is not “all or nothing”. A variety of LUTs are provided along with Corona.
  • Bloom & Glare – Bloom is a large, soft glow around bright areas in the image, while Glare is a small, sharp glow with adjustable rays around bright areas. The color of these effects can be adjusted using the Color Intensity and Color Shift parameters.
  • Sharpening/Blurring – This first blurs an image and then sharpens it, useful to remove “pixel–perfect” noise and give a more photographic look to the final image.
  • Denoising – If Denoising was enabled, this allows you to blend between the fully Denoised image and the raw render.

A quick example is given below of applying all the above effects to a finished render (although the effects can be applied and adjusted before or during rendering too):

Corona Image Editor

The Corona Image Editor, commonly referred to as the CIE, is a standalone tool for working with your images. Its user interface is inspired by the Corona VFB, sharing its look and feel, and it offers rich and fast post–processing options for Corona EXRs saved from the VFB such as LightMix, full–featured denoising, tone mapping, LUTs, bloom and glare, curves, blur / sharpen, vignette, etc.

The benefits of the Corona Image Editor are:

  • The CIE has lower system requirements than working with an image inside any 3D software – it is not necessary to have a scene loaded while you are working with your images, so you can denoise Corona renders outside of the rendering process for example, reducing the memory requirements significantly.
  • All LightMix and post–processing settings can be easily shared between the VFB from any host application (such as 3ds Max and Cinema 4D) and the CIE.
  • No need to copy settings manually: CXRs from the VFB are automatically loaded with their associated settings.
  • It also works with regular, non–Corona EXRs (in Float format). It is possible to add bloom and glare to them, apply your tone mapping settings or a LUT, etc. Denoising and LightMix are not available for such EXRs because they miss the necessary “hidden” auxiliary data.
  • It is a portable application, which works with just unpacking, no installation necessary.
  • Free with a regular Corona license.

Corona Camera

Artists can use a realistic camera model which incorporates all the common parameters, such as f–stop, shutter speed, ISO, sensor width, and aperture shape (blades/custom). This allows close matching to live footage. On top of that, you then get access to all the Corona Renderer post–processing options, panorama / VR options, the ability to set focus distance via a static or animated object in the scene, and more.

For older scenes, we have maintained the legacy CoronaCameraMod modifier, to ensure any existing scenes will still work as expected.

corona render scatterCorona Scatter

Corona Renderer comes with its own scatter system. Corona Scatter is designed to give a complete solution for distributing millions of high–poly meshes or proxies across geometry surfaces. A typical use is the distribution of vegetation such as grass, forests, etc.

Thanks to Corona Scatter you can create scenes with a virtually unlimited number of objects or polygons, while enjoying the luxury of a low memory footprint and high performance. It contains advanced functions like distributing and scaling objects by a texture map, distributing objects along splines, collision detection, etc.

A Scatter Lister plug–in is included, to list and control all Corona Scatters objects in a scene from one easy dialog.

SmartProxy: .cgeo

Corona comes with its own proxy format, .cgeo. The format is cross platform (you will be able to use it in 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Corona Renderer standalone, or any other future platform). It uses compression, so it is small and fast to save, load, and to upload to renderfarms. Proxy models are always converted to millimeters and properly scaled when loading into scenes that use different units.

The proxy contains human–readable metadata at the beginning of each file, for example the name of the source object and its material, making them friendly to your pipeline.

3ds Max UI Remains Unblocked While Rendering

Ever started a render, then minimized 3ds Max to get at something else on your desktop, only to find you can’t maximize Max again until the render is done? Ever started a render then wanted to check a setting in a different tab in Max, only to find that Max is locked? Those annoyances become a thing of the past, as rendering in Corona does not block the 3ds Max UI!

Built–in Help

The UI has tooltips for most parameters, activated automatically when you hover over the controls. There is also an automatically generated online GUI manual you can consult when you do not have 3ds Max opened.

corona renderSmart Masks

Creating masks in Corona Renderer is an easy process. You can create monochromatic as well as RGB masks simply by specifying Object ID, Material ID or by directly picking objects in the scene. You can combine different selections as union or intersection.

Render Elements Only

Waiting through a final rendering just to discover that you forgot to set one mask can be very annoying. Usually you would have to create a copy of the scene, turn off lights and GI or set up material overrides to speed things up, and render again. Corona has a better solution: simply set up the missing mask and check the "Render only masks (disable shading)" option to render only the masks and other render elements without the time–consuming beauty pass.

Not Visible in Masks

The Corona Material can be made invisible to masks, while staying visible in the beauty pass. This is a very useful function, for example when you want to create masks for objects behind glass panels.

Resume Rendering

At any point during the rendering process, you can save the contents of the frame buffer into a single .CXR file. This includes all the rendering passes as well. You can then open another scene or even close the application, and later resume the original render right where you left of.


With one click you can enable the Autosave function, which will save the rendering progress every few minutes in an .exr file. So if your render or computer crashes, you have the latest progress saved. You can either use the .exr as it is if the render had progressed far enough, or resume the rendering from it if needed.


corona flexibilityFlexibility

Corona Renderer is extremely flexible. While we aim for realism, we also understand how important it is to “bend” physical laws to deliver the results your clients expect. To keep your artistry free, Corona supports numerous reality hacks which allow you to get exactly the effect you desire!

Flexible Lights

You can make any light source invisible to the camera, as well as invisible to reflections/refractions. Shadows can be turned on or off, and specific objects can be included/excluded from receiving illumination from any Corona light. Backplates can be easily created with the invisible to GI option. 3ds Max default lights are fully supported.

Rayswitcher Material

The Rayswitcher material and texture allow a wide range of artistic tweaks when rendering with Corona. Use them to create materials invisible to camera, to create materials that don’t affect GI, to reduce or increase color bleeding, to have an object show differently when it is reflected vs. viewed directly, and more.

Environment Overrides

You can use different environment maps for reflections, refractions and direct visibility from the camera. For example, you can use a clear sky HDRI as a light source and a second cloudy HDRI just for reflections and refractions.

Glass without Caustics

Caustics can be difficult to compute, especially when using path tracing. But in many cases, water or glass look plausible even without caustics, window glass panels being prime examples. Because of this, refractive caustics are disabled by default. This significantly reduces render times, and if caustics are needed they can easily be enabled with the “Caustics” checkbox in the Corona material.

corona render caustics
In the image above, the glass and the liquid inside have caustics enabled on the left, and disabled on the right, with no other changes. Although the effect is more realistic on the left, it is not as large a difference as you may expect. Caustics can usually be left disabled unless absolutely necessary for a particular object.

Shadow Catcher

Corona implements its own shadow catcher (matte/shadow) solution. It is a single material with all the necessary controls in one place – there is no need to combine special materials with other special texmaps. It works especially well with our interactive rendering for rapid camera and illumination matching. Advanced features, such as light illuminators and matte bump mapping, are of course supported.

VR Support

Using a Corona Camera, you can export images in Spherical or Cubemap format ready for viewing in a wide range of VR applications.

While stereoscopic and panoramic images can be used in any VR software of your choice, there is especially close integration with theViewer from theConstruct, allowing you to create and manage your warp points in 3ds Max without the need for an external editor.


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.

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.

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

Material Library

corona rneder material library

The new Material Library provides more than 300 ready to use materials, each with a high quality preview. The library includes easy to use functionality such as:

  • Drag and drop materials into the viewport, Slate, and Compact material editors
  • Materials can be viewed by category
  • Can set and view only favorites
  • Assign a material to the objects selected in the scene
  • Select all objects in the scene that use a certain material
  • Many don’t need UV mapping, as they use the Corona Triplanar map
  • And more!

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:

corona material preview

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!

corona skin shaderDedicated 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.

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”.

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.

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.

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.

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 one here, the 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


It’s time to explore the individual aspects of Corona, and we’ll start where it all begins, with lights. The whole process of creating lights is designed to give artists complete control over their scene, while being fast and intuitive.

No Sampling Parameters

There are no sampling parameters that you would have to set by trial and error. Lights will always work as expected.

corona lightsCorona Lights and Corona Light Material

There is no difference in behavior between a Corona Light object and a geometry object with the Corona Light Material applied – both of them have almost the same options and deliver the same results, so it is up to the artist to use what is more convenient!

Lights and Rendering Speed

In Corona, there is very little penalty for using mesh lights which have a high polycount. They will perform as well as low–poly ones with the same shape. Also, directional and IES lights render almost as fast as regular diffuse lights.

No more Dome Lights for HDRI

There’s no need to set up an object to act as a dome light for HDR image–based rendering – just put your HDRI into the 3D software’s environment and you are done! There is also no need to put downsampled / blurred versions of the map into a GI override slot – HDRIs in Corona always work fast and without splotches, regardless of resolution or complexity.

Corona Sun and Sky System

Corona Renderer was the first production render engine to implement the most accurate sky system available today – the Hošek-Wilkie sky. It is currently selected as the default whenever sun and sky is used, so adding those to your scene will get you instant realistic daylight.

corona render light mixInteractive LightMix

With just a single click, you can set up the Interactive LightMix, a feature unique to Corona Renderer that lets you change the color and intensity of lights during or after rendering.

You can then save your LightMix setups for reuse from any camera or render location within the scene, letting you render just one time and save versions of the render with different lighting. With this, one render can give you a daytime scene, a nighttime scene, different lights turned on and off, and more.

You can also save the separate light passes for compositing or animating later in post-production, which means a single frame can be turned into an animation where the lighting changes.


corona distributed renderingDistributed Rendering

Rendering with multiple computers is made simple by Corona Renderer. It has its own distributed rendering system, and is also compatible with 3ds Max’s native Backburner and Thinkbox’s Deadline render farm management systems. Any purchased Corona Renderer license (other than a Student License) includes a minimum of three additional render nodes, so you can leverage multiple computers that you own to reduce render times.

Corona is also supported on a number of commercial render farms.

Auto Discovery of Render Slaves

Setting up Corona Renderer’s distributed rendering (DR) is easy. Just make sure all render nodes have Backburner and Corona DR server installed on them. The search process is automatic and Corona Renderer can even search for render nodes during rendering – render nodes will connect and disconnect automatically as you turn the computers on or off, without stopping the render!

Slaves Automatically Gather Missing Assets

When using Corona DR, you don’t have to give a second thought to where your assets are located – slaves will automatically gather models and textures before rendering.

Fast and Simple

3ds Max is spawned immediately on slaves after the DR server starts, letting them begin rendering much faster. Corona DR works with adaptivity, respect VFB render regions, while the UI keeps you informed of the status of all the slaves, how much memory they are using, and how many passes they have contributed to the current render.

Proudly CPU Based

corona render cpu basedCorona Renderer does not need any special hardware to run. It uses the CPU and you can run it on any processor from Intel or AMD released in the past decade.

Why only CPU?

By rendering only on the CPU we avoid all bottlenecks, problems, and limitations of GPU rendering, which include the unsuitability of GPU architectures for full GI, limited memory, limited support for third party plugins and maps, unpredictability, the need for specialist knowledge or hardware to add nodes, high cost, high heat and noise, and limited availability of render farms. Read our in-depth look at the advantages of CPU-based rendering.

Using GPUs for What They Are Actually Good At

We’re not anti–GPU in any way, we just believe in using them for what they are good at! In the future, you will see the GPU put to use by Corona Renderer, but in the areas in which the architecture excels. This will be in things like post–processing, e.g. bloom & glare, where the predictable, self–similar nature of each calculation can be shared between the processors in an efficient and effective way.

It Doesn’t Have to be Either / Or

There’s no doubt that both GPU and CPU approaches have their advantages and disadvantages, which is why we still see strong products on both sides being developed and used for commercial work.

While completely switching to only a GPU–based solution is just not worth the risk at the moment, you and your company don’t have to be on just one side or the other – with Corona’s pricing options, you can always have a CPU–based approach at your disposal to use based on the needs of each project, whether or not you also have a GPU–based alternative in your pipeline.

And in the Future…

We are always watching and researching existing and upcoming technologies whether that is CPU, GPU or other coprocessors. If things change with the hardware, we won’t rule out changes to the software – but right now, and for the foreseeable future, the hardware just is not at that point.

Intel Embree Ray Tracing Kernels

Corona Renderer uses the Intel Embree ray tracing kernels, the fastest CPU ray tracing primitives on the market. Since they mesh well with the Corona architecture, they are an important factor in its performance.

Corona Renderer feature list

Render Engine

  • Biased and Unbiased solution
  • Path Tracing: unbiased solution
  • UHD cache: faster biased cached solution for interiors
  • Denoising
    • Reduces the number of passes needed to get a noise-free image, with render time reductions of 50 to 70%
    • Interactive amount adjustment
  • Adaptive Image Sampling
    • Balances out the rendering calculations over the image to focus more processing power on tricky areas
  • Progressive rendering
  • Max Sample Intensity (MSI): automatically removes fireflies - accuracy/render speed tradeoff
  • Bidir/VCM: experimental unbiased engine with faster/more precise caustics
  • Proudly CPU based

Interactive LightMix

  • Adjust color and intensity of lights, during and after rendering
  • Single-click set up (by instances, groups or individual lights, with memory requirements reported)
  • Manual set up if required
  • Controlled from the VFB
  • Results can be pushed to the scene
  • Can be used for anything from subtle adjustments, to turning day into night, without re-rendering
  • Each light select pass can be denoised independently (this can be enabled during automatic setup)
  • LightMix result can be saved to a CXR file and then adjusted in the Corona Image Editor, or saved for compositing in other post-processing software
  • Lights can be selected in the scene from the LightMix tab

Interactive rendering

  • 100% the same render engine as for the final frame
  • All final frame rendering features supported, including Interactive LightMix, post-production effects such as bloom & glare, LUTs, etc.
  • While zooming-in in the IR, rendering is focused on visible area only
  • Subsampling lowers initial resolution at the beginning of rendering, for virtually real-time performance
  • Results shown in 3ds Max viewport or Corona VFB

Corona Virtual Frame Buffer

  • An optional, feature-rich replacement of the 3ds Max native VFB
  • Integrated Interactive LightMix, allows changing color and intensity of lights without re-rendering
  • Integrated post-production effects, including bloom & glare, vignette, sharpening/blurring, histogram, curves, etc.
  • Integrated color mapping controls, including exposure, filmic tone mapping, LUTs, etc.
  • Statistics: render time, remaining time, performance, polycount, tooltip explanations ...
  • Displaying/saving render elements
  • Pixel color probe on right mouse button
  • Controls: start render/stop render, resume last render, resume rendering from file, save/clone/copy image, ...
  • Optional stamp with scene info at the bottom of rendered image
  • Customizable information in the title bar
  • VFB History and Comparison
  • Interactive and Multiple Render Regions
  • Render Regions scale with the VFB, are saved with the 3ds Max scene file, and can be globally enabled or disabled
  • Fuzzy render regions
  • Zoom buttons for use when accessing a machine remotely

Post-processing effects

  • Controlled from render settings, Corona Camera, or VFB
  • All settings are adjustable during/after rendering
  • Image updated in real time
  • Bloom & Glare
    • Independent strength for each
    • Threshold
    • Color intensity & shift to adjust colors
    • Glare ray count, blurriness and rotation

Camera Effects

  • High quality (raytraced) depth of field and motion blur effects
  • Photographic controls (optional): shutter speed + ISO + f-stop
  • Bokeh shape
    • Circular
    • N-gonal (bladed aperture)
    • Custom image
    • Center Bias
    • Vignetting
    • Anisotropy
  • Multi-segment (curved) motion blur
  • 3ds Max 2016 Physical Camera
  • Virtual Reality Camera

Corona Camera

  • Dedicated Corona camera offering all standard camera controls plus all Corona controls such as exposure, DOF, motion blur, LUTs etc.
  • Set focus distance using a static or animated target object
  • Per-camera object includes / excludes
  • Customizable viewport appearance
  • Tone mapping parameters respond immediately in Interactive Rendering without restarts
  • Render to orthographic, perspective, spherical, cylindrical or cubemap projections


  • Legacy Camera object modifier for backwards compatibility
  • Allows setting Corona exposure/DOF/motion blur/bloom & glare/color mapping on any camera


  • CoronaSun
    • Standalone object or part of 3ds Max daylight assembly
    • Uses state of the art Hošek & Wilkie model of emission
    • Allows non-physical properties (changing size, color, disabling visibility in reflections, ...)
  • CoronaLight
    • Shapes: sphere, rectangle, disk, cylinder
    • IES profiles
    • Directionality
    • Textured emitters
    • Physical units
    • Color (RGB input, Kelvin temperature, texmap)
    • Non-physical settings: disabling shadows, includes/excludes, disabling visibility in reflections, preventing black appearance for lights with directionality
  • Corona Light Material
    • Turns any object into a light
    • No render time differences compared to using a CoronaLight
  • 3ds Max native lights


  • CoronaAO
    • Ambient occlusion shader
    • Supports textures
    • Includes/Excludes
    • Additional controls: spread, directionality, inverted mode, ...
  • CoronaDistance
    • Gradient based on distance to other objects
    • Supports textures
    • List of objects to calculate distance from
    • Can be used in Corona Scatter density map to control placement of objects
    • Wide range of other creative uses, e.g. ripples on water around objects, controlling light intensity and color, etc.
    • Supports all geometry including Corona Proxy, Corona Scatter, and 3ds Max particle objects
    • Works as an input to bump mapping
  • CoronaFrontBack
    • Shows different colors/texmaps on front/back sides of a material
  • CoronaColorCorrect
    • Adjust brightness, saturation, etc. of a texture map (and still have it affected by VFB post-processing)
    • Unique tone mapping capabilities (not present on other output nodes), including LUTs, gamma, curves, etc.
  • CoronaTonemapControl
    • Specify whether a texture map should be affected by VFB Exposure, Tone Mapping, etc.
  • CoronaOutput
    • Legacy only, used in scenes created before Corona Renderer 2. Replaced by CoronaColorCorrect and CoronaTonemapControl.
  • CoronaMix
    • Advanced mix shader
    • Texture or color inputs, different blending modes
    • Works as an input to bump mapping
  • CoronaRaySwitch
    • Same as RaySwitch material, but on texmap instead of material level
  • CoronaSky
    • Implements latest Hošek & Wilkie realistic sky model
    • Allows changing ground color and turbidity
  • CoronaColor
    • Allows to input single constant color using a color picker
    • HDR numerical values, Kelvin temperature, web hex input
  • CoronaWire
    • Wire shader
    • Allows to set edge/vertex size in world or screen coordinates
    • Falloff between Base and Edges/Vertices color
    • Can be used as an input to bump mapping
  • CoronaBitmap
    • Works similarly to 3ds Max bitmap, but faster (10-20%)
    • Spherical, Dome, Cross and Mirrorball modes for use as an Environment
    • Rotation via degrees or U Offset (for environments)
  • CoronaRoundEdge
    • Rounded corners shader
    • Works as an input to bump mapping and other material slots
    • Fast mode for faster rendering and no noise, with no parameters needed
    • Precise mode for blending across other objects / elements / materials
  • CoronaMultiMap
    • Randomly assigns colors/maps to instances
    • Frequency spinners
    • Hue and Gamma randomization
    • Features advanced blending modes
    • Global blur multiplier to affect all multimaps elements
    • Supports up to 25 inputs
    • Can be used with just one input, applying gamma and hue randomization
  • CoronaTriplanar
    • Apply textures without explicit UV mapping, with no stretching or seams thanks to the in-built blending
  • CoronaNormal
    • Automatic detection of incorrect input gamma
  • CoronaBumpConverter
    • Converts RGB maps to be compatible with the Bump channel (e.g. 3ds Max native Marble, Wood, ColorCorrect, etc.)
  • CoronaUvwRandomizer
    • Apply random offset / rotation / scale to textures and maps by instance, material id, etc.
  • CoronaUserProperty
    • Assign a numeric value to a node, for use with Maxscript

Material library

  • Over 430 ready-to-use high quality materials
  • Drag-and-drop from the Library to the viewport, Slate material editor and Compact material editor
  • Real World Scale or Triplanar mapping used where possible, to reduce tiling and give expected scaling
  • Materials organized by category
  • Set favorites, with Display Favorites Only option
  • Sort by name, favorites, or most used
  • Select all objects in the scene that use a particular material
  • Resizable material previews
  • Open standalone large preview windows for materials


  • CoronaMtl
    • Diffuse, translucency, reflection, refraction, glossiness, opacity
    • GGX BRDF with full glossiness range
    • Compatible with third-party tools such as Allegorithmic's Substance Painter and Quixel's Megascans
    • Adaptive displacement
    • Vector displacement
    • Bump mapping
    • SSS mode for wax, marble and other materials that do not use Refraction or Translucency
    • Volumetric scattering and absorption mode for fog, mist, and for colored glass, liquids and other materials that use Refraction or Translucency
    • Self-illumination
    • Fresnel reflections, anisotropic reflections
  • CoronaSkinMtl
    • Dedicated material for skin
    • Three independent Subsurface Scattering layers
    • Two independent Reflection layers
  • CoronaHairMtl
    • Dedicated material for hair and fur
    • Colored and Colorless reflection layers
    • Color controls via melanin amounts, or directly
    • Adjustable random glints
  • CoronaLayeredMtl
    • Similar to 3ds Max Blend material
    • Combines multiple materials instead of just two
  • CoronaPortalMtl
    • Optional
    • Accelerates lighting in interiors with small windows
  • CoronaLightMtl
    • Identical performance to CoronaLight
    • Various non-physical settings
    • Textured emission (useful for backplates)
  • CoronaRaySwitchMtl
    • Uses different material for different ray types: direct, GI, reflections, refractions
  • CoronaShadowCatcherMtl
    • Custom backplate textures
    • Screen, spherical, or no projection
    • Supports glossy surfaces
    • Bump mapping
    • Lights work additively (illuminators) or subtractively
  • CoronaVolumeMtl
    • Simplified material for volumetric scattering and absorption
    • "Inside Mode" allows for true 3D volumetric materials
  • 3ds Max materials
    • Standard
    • Blend (including nested blend materials)
    • Multi/Sub-Object
    • XRef
    • Shell
    • Double Sided
    • Top/Bottom
    • DirectX Shader
  • Support for 3ds Max physical material

Corona Official Toolbar

  • Provides one-click access to many Corona Renderer functions, such as creating a Corona Camera from the current perspective view, opening the VFB, opening the Material Library, creating Corona Scatters, Proxies and Lights, etc.


  • Corona Camera can render to spherical or cubemap format, supporting a wide range of VR apps
  • Easy set up, with default settings handling 99% of cases
  • Conventional stereo rendering (non-360)
  • Bloom & Glare supported for spherical VR images

Distributed rendering

  • Slaves can join or quit the render session after it has started
  • Auto discovery of slaves on local network
  • Auto sending of assets to all machines (only if required)
  • Pass, Time and Noise Level limits can be used
  • Can be enabled / disabled during rendering

Exposure and Color mapping

  • Controlled from render settings, Corona Camera Mod, or VFB
  • All settings are adjustable during/after rendering
  • Image updated in real time
  • Two exposure control modes
    • Photographic exposure: shutter speed + ISO + f-stop
    • Simple exposure: single EV value
  • Additional settings
    • Contrast
    • Highlight compression
    • Filmic Highlights
    • Filmic Shadows
    • Color tint
    • Saturation
    • White balance
    • LUT with opacity adjustment
    • Custom curves for overall brightness, and individual RGB
    • Sharpening/Blurring (both can be used at the same time, to reduce "pixel perfect" noise)

Corona Image Editor

  • Runs outside of any 3D software
  • All the familiar controls from the Corona VFB
  • Adjust lighting in the renderer image using the full range of LightMix controls (on Corona EXRs)
  • Apply Denoising (on Corona EXRs)
  • Apply all the Corona post-processing options (on any EXRs)
  • Save and load LightMix and post-processing configurations, and exchange those to and from the Corona VFB
  • Bloom & Glare virtual element which can be viewed or saved separately
  • Save to EXR, PNG, JPG and BMP

Render Elements

  • Arbitrary number of render elements
  • Optional render elements anti-aliasing
  • Optional render elements Denoising (where relevant)
  • Beauty element, with independent Denoise amount
  • Alpha element
  • Beauty composition elements
    • Direct, indirect, reflect, refract, translucency, emission
  • Geometry elements
    • Geometry normals, shading normals, primitive coordinates, UVW coordinates, world position, z-depth, Velocity render element
  • Masking elements
    • Wire color
    •  Primitive/Material/Object ID
    • Custom mask
      • Object selection
      • Material G-buffer ID
      • Object G-buffer ID
  • Shading elements
    • Albedo, individual direct/indirect BRDF components, raw components, source colors, shadows
  • Arbitary texmap elements
    • Ambient occlusion
    • Wire shader
    • Vertex colors


  • Drag and drop any texture into the 3ds Max environment slot
  • No dome object required
  • Uses importance sampling
  • Direct/Reflect/Refract overrides
  • Global material (for volumetric effects – fog)


  • Corona Proxy
    • Cross-platform proxy format: .cgeo
    • Faster save/load/display of large scenes
    • Compressed format to save disk space
    • Supports animated meshes
  • CoronaScatter
    • Fast and simple scattering tool
    • Supports multiple distribution and scattered objects
    • Supports scattering on splines
    • Supports scattering in regular patterns
    • Random translation/rotation/scaling of instances, with optional discrete stepped values
    • Supports aligning instances to local normal
    • Supports millions of instances
    • Textured density, scale
    • Vertex paint support
    • Optionally avoids objects intersections, with tweakable inter-object spacing
    • Fast generation and viewport preview using multiple threads
    • Included Scatter Lister plugin to easily access and control all scatters in a scene

Supported 3ds Max features

  • Most texmaps
    • Including Bitmap, Camera Map Per Pixel, Cellular, Checker, ColorCorrection, Composite, Dent, Falloff, Gradient, Gradient Ramp, Marble, Mix, Noise, Output, Particle Age, Perlin Marble, RGB Multiply, RGB Tint, Smoke, Speckle, Splat, Stucco, Vertex Color, Waves, Wood
  • 3ds Max standard/photometric lights
    • Including soft shadows via CoronaShadows
  • 3ds Max render switches
    • Disabling displacement, Render Hidden Geometry, Renderable, Object Visibility, ...
  • XRef geometry/scenes
  • 2D Pan Zoom Mode
  • Render to Texture (RTT) basic support: denoising RTT results is supported


  • V-Ray compatibility
    • Supports assets from V-Ray 3.60 or newer (assets from older versions may work, but not guaranteed)
      Renders VRayMtl and VRayLight, even if V-Ray is not licensed or not installed, without running any sort of conversion
  • Hair and Fur support
    • 3ds Max native Hair and Fur
    • Ephere Ornatrix
    • HairFarm
    • Hair rendering both as billboards or as full cylindrical geometry
  • Phoenix FD support
    • Supports Phoenix FD 3.10.00 or newer (3.10.03 required for compatibility with Interactive Rendering)
  • FumeFX support
    • Supports FumeFX 5.0 or newer
  • Corona Displacement Modifier
    • All displacement features and settings available in CoronaDisplacementMod
    • Allows setting per-object Subdivision Quality
  • Advanced “Render Selected”
    • Render mask by an include list, object ID, or viewport selection
  • Improved Color Picker
    • Can be set to replace default 3ds Max color picker
    • sRGB mode for ease of use with Photoshop and similar; can be disabled for a linear workflow
    • Perceptually uniform color gradients in both modes
    • Color selection by Temperature
    • Adjustable averaging of neighboring pixels
    • Inverse color picker allows setting of white balance in combination with the Color Tint parameter in the VFB
  • Error reporting with online help
    • Error messages linked to a support page with more info and possible solutions
    • Automatic selection of the offending object
    • Automatic correction of certain errors
    • Error message forwarding from render slaves in DR
  • Corona Converter
    • One-click solution to convert materials, lights, and maps from other renderers
  • Improved material editor scene
    • More representative previews
  • Override material option (with excludes/includes, and options to preserve displacement, light materials, glass materials, portals, and unsupported materials)
  • Save and resume
    • Ability to save VFB and resume rendering later (even on a different computer)
  • Render only elements
    • Computes render elements in seconds without doing shading
  • Autosave
    • Optionally saving the VFB every few minutes and after rendering. Rendering can be resumed from these backups
  • Bundled LUTs
    • Over 70 LUTs included with the install
  • Bundled IES profiles
    • Sample IES files included
  • UI supports HiDPI monitors


What's new in version 2?

  • Heterogeneous media rendering (Phoenix FD, FumeFX, OpenVDB, new “Inside Volume” mode in the CoronaVolumeMtl)
  • Compatibility with VRayMtl and VRayLight even without V-Ray installed (for assets from V-Ray 3.60 or newer; assets from earlier versions may work, but not guaranteed)
  • Over 110 new materials in the Material Library, plus Real World Scale and Triplanar used wherever possible
  • Advanced bokeh effects: Center Bias, Vignetting, Anisotropy
  • Corona Official Toolbar

Full Details

What's new in version 1.7


  • 100% speed boost comes from the integration of V-Ray’s DMC sampler, the first (of many) benefits to Corona Renderer users from the Chaos Group merger
  • You can get up to a 600% additional speed boost  in scenes with more than 1 light, thanks to the optional new adaptive direct light sampling
  • Adaptivity recomputation is faster by a factor of 2 to 3
  • Other general improvements add an additional 5% speedup
  • Optimization of render elements mean they need 25% to 75% less memory


  • We’ve added the Material Library, a collection of over 300 materials for you to use with a drag and drop
  • All major hair and fur rendering tools are now supported
  • Dedicated shaders for Skin and for Hair let you create realistic materials with the ease that Corona Renderer is known for
  • New Subsurface Scattering in the Corona Material makes creating marble and other materials easier and more realistic than before
  • Dispersion gives extra realism to gemstones, glass and liquids
  • The dedicated Corona Camera


Hardware Requirements

  • For Corona Renderer 2 and newer, you will need a CPU that supports the SSE4.1 instruction set (any processor from within the last 10 years). Here is a list of compatible CPUs. The Licensing Server may run on legacy CPUs that do not meet this requirement (however, the computer won’t be able to be used for rendering).
  • There are no further specific hardware requirements.

Software Requirements

3ds Max version

  • Autodesk 3ds Max x64 version 2013-2019
  • 64-bit Microsoft Windows (7, 8, 8.1, 10)
  • Installation requires administrator privileges
  • Distributed rendering also requires matching Backburner version

Cinema 4D version (alpha)

  • 64-bit Maxon Cinema 4D R14, R15, R16, R17, R18 or R19
  • 64-bit Microsoft Windows (7, 8, 8.1, 10) or macOS (10.7 or newer)
  • Installation requires administrator privileges


  • 64-bit Microsoft Windows (7, 8, 8.1, 10)


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