CHAOS CORONA 9 RELEASED
Table of contents
- CORONA 9 RELEASED
Corona 9 is out now (Fig. 01), a release that not only adds powerful new features to Corona itself, it also adds much more to your subscription!
New features video
Here’s the quick overview of just some of the biggest new features:
Start downloading while you read!
Trial Refresh: All users, even on a trial, get a full 30 day trial refresh to try out both the new features, and the new products added into the subscription. Download and install Corona 9 from the link above, and enjoy trying all the new features.
- Corona Pattern – tile geometry across a surface as easily as you’d tile a texture.
- Procedural clouds – add detail to your Corona Sky, with animatable procedural clouds and airplane trails. You may never need an HDRI again.
- Edge Trimming in Chaos Scatter – a much requested feature, implemented in this update to Scatter.
- Chaos Scans – the ultimate in realism for your materials, these have been cleverly scanned so that each material responds in its own unique way to lighting. Leathers, fabrics, even foils, can now be added to your scene, guaranteed to match the real world in both look and in scale. Included in your Premium subscription.
- Chaos Player – an easy way to turn your image sequences into a video format. Now you won’t have to use a complex video editor that is overkill for your everyday needs. Included in the Premium subscription.
- Chaos Phoenix – Corona has supported Phoenix for some years, but only a few users had it added to their toolset due to the significant extra cost. Now the perfect tool for making fire, smoke, water, and more is included in your Premium subscription.
- Improvements – Depth of Field from the fisheye camera, new Material Override settings to preserve slicers, out-of-core texture rendering to save some memory at render time, and more.
The live webinar for this release will take place on October 25th so reserve your space and make a note on your calendars.
Updates to the Licensing
Corona 9 is available in two versions: Corona Solo and Corona Premium.
Corona Solo price is 48.90 euros per month (or 26,90 euros per month if you pay the whole year) and offers:
- a license can be installed in both 3ds Max and Cinema 4D and available on one computer;
- all Corona integrations, such as Chaos Scatter;
- Chaos Cosmos.
Corona Premium costs 59.90 euros per month (or 34,90 euros per month if you pay the whole year) and contains:
- a floating license that can be installed in both 3ds Max and Cinema 4D and shared with any computer;
- all Corona integrations, such as Chaos Scatter;
- Chaos Cosmos;
- Chaos Phoenix;
- Chaos Player;
- Chaos Scans;
Go to the site page for the cost of render nodes.
- MAJOR FEATURES
All these features apply to Corona for 3ds Max and Cinema 4D, so we’ll only talk about them once, and demo images may be from either host software. In case you are not familiar with both 3ds Max and Cinema 4D, be aware that what 3ds Max calls “Maps”, Cinema 4D calls “Shaders” 🙂
We’ll start with the new features in Corona itself, then move on to the new products included in your Premium license.
The Corona Sky was great, but was always a clear sky. HDRIs can be great, but you’d need a unique HDRI for different levels of cloud cover or different times of day, and they were static (or if animated, needed a huge number of large files that took up a ton of space on your hard drive).
The new Procedural Clouds solve all these issues, letting you tweak the amount of cloud cover, the shape of the clouds, their position in the scene, and animate them with ease. You even get to add and animate airplane trails (contrails) across your sky (Fig. 03)!
The Procedural Clouds respond to the position of the Sun, so you can have evening and dawn just as easily as you can have full noon. You can search for the look you like with the random Seed option, and all of the parameters can be animated so that clouds can move, cloud coverage can grow or reduce, and so on. You can also choose whether the clouds cast shadows into your scene or not.
Now you can tile real geometry over a surface, with the same ease as you’d tile a texture. Not only does this give you far more realism than you’d ever obtain with opacity, bump, and displacement maps, it also requires far less memory than those alternatives (Fig. 05 – Fig. 06 – Fig. 07) .
To get a quick grasp of when this is useful, think of things such as:
- Fabrics, where those are made of knitted or woven strands
- Wire fences, fireguards
- Jewelry such as chains
- And much more!
To simplify working with Corona Pattern, you can have the height of the geometry scale automatically and naturally with the tiling so that the height reduces as the geometry is scaled more frequently, or you can choose to disable this and set a manual height if required (Fig. 08).
Of course once you get to grips with the tool, you’ll start to think of many other ways in which it can be used, raising the realism of your scenes to a whole new level. Meantime, we have a few examples of geometry that you can use with Chaos Pattern, you can download them here.
This has been the single most requested feature for Chaos Scatter. We’re happy to let you know that it is now included in this latest update to Chaos Scatter. A prime example is letting you control the edges of lawns and other grass areas, as seen below (Fig. 09).
The effect relies on the way the geometry being scattered is set up. If you are scattering individual grass blades (unlikely, as this would be very inefficient!) then you will already have good edging. The Edge Trimming will help when you are scattering “clumps” of individual grass blades, by hiding the individual blades which would be out of bounds.
To set it up, you simply add a Scatter Edge Trimming shader (Cinema 4D) / ChaosScatterEdgeTrimming map (3ds Max) into the opacity slot of all materials being used on the objects being scattered. This methodology and result is similar to that used by other scattering tools for Corona 9, but in the future we want to simplify the process, e.g. by using a single checkbox.
Out of Core Rendering for Textures
This option reduces the amount of memory required for texture maps loaded via CoronaBitmap. Testing done in-house and by a few archviz studios have seen savings of between 5 and 70%, depending on how heavy the scene is, how big the textures in use are, and other factors.
This is disabled by default in Corona 9, and you will have to activate it to take advantage of it. This is done via a checkbox in the Performance section of the Rendering Settings (Fig. 10 – Fig. 11):
Corona will automatically allocate the space needed on the hard drives when the option is enabled. Manually overriding the settings is also possible if desired, under the System settings. When using OOC Textures, Corona will automatically clear the cache on loading a new scene or on closing the host application (Fig. 12).
The Out of Core texture rendering makes a difference when the texture has a higher resolution than what is needed based on its placement in the scene.
Shutter Curve for Motion Blur
In the real world, a camera’s shutter will take a certain amount of time to open, and a certain amount of time to close, and there are usually some elements of acceleration and deceleration involved in both those processes. (Fig. 13).
The Shutter Curve controls for Motion Blur will let you accurately represent these effects in your renders. Rather than an even, linear result, you can achieve less or more blur at the start, middle, and end of the blurred area. This is a case where “examples are worth more than words”, so you can see some examples (and download them) in the video below:
Other Scatter Updates
As well as Edge Trimming, other updates to Chaos Scatter include:
- Scenes with an extreme number of instances now parse faster. The speed-up is relative to scene complexity.
- Renamed Scatter-related categories in the Command Panel and Material Editors to “Chaos Scatter”.
- Added five new Scatter Presets to Chaos Cosmos (under 3d Models > Presets), these being:
- Grass Dandelions 002
- Grass Lawn 002
- Palm Tree Avenue 001
- Riverbed 001
- Tree avenue 001
New Material Override Options
Using the Material Override is a vital part of setting up a scene, particularly when it comes to lighting. To enhance that workflow, we’re adding Preserve Slicers, Preserve bump, and Preserve opacity options so that you can use Material Overrides effectively, whatever the set-up and requirements of your scene (Fig. 14).
Under the Hood Improvements
While not immediately visible from the outside, we did as promised at the time of the Corona 8 release and worked on significant code clean-up and refactoring after the huge number of features added in 8. Some examples are:
- Removed over half of code related to light sampling, which will allow us to improve and maintain it faster in the future.
- Rewrote error windows into qt, which made it faster, improved the look on different platforms, removed limitations on the number of messages, and got us closer to a unified modern UI.
- Improved some under-the-hood code to fix initial designs for the Tone Mapping added in Corona 8, which also fixed some bugs.
- And more!
The following three Chaos tools are included in your Corona Premium subscription, though they are also still available to purchase separately too.
There are some materials that are impossible to recreate with any number of parameters and maps in a generalized material, as they have a unique way of responding to light. This is where Chaos Scans comes in. Each material in the library is meticulously scanned to capture how it interacts with light so that you can drag-and-drop it into your scene for 100% accuracy in both look and scale (Fig. 15).
This comes into its own with materials such as leather, clothing fabrics, car paints, and reflective and holographic materials. With just a click you can add these materials to your scene using the CoronaScannedMtl (3ds Max)/Scanned Material (Cinema 4D), confident that you are recreating reality without spending hours trying to build the material for yourself (Fig. 16).
Chaos Phoenix is a dynamics simulator that integrates seamlessly with 3ds Max and Corona (and V-Ray, of course), and lets you create realistic fire, smoke, liquids, flames, explosions, ocean waves, mist, splashes and more.
A few Corona users have already been making great use of Chaos Phoenix thanks to the compatibility between it and Corona, but until now it has been out of reach for most users since it required a separate purchase (Fig. 17).
Now it is part of the Premium Corona subscription, you too can add a vast range of effects to your renders using the same software used by Hollywood FX studios. These example images give you just some ideas for what you can use Chaos Phoenix for (Fig. 18)!
The safest and most flexible way to create your animations is to render to an image sequence (not straight to video format) – but this leaves you needing to load those into a complex, high-end video editor just to see what is happening in your animation.
Enter Chaos Player – a lightweight, straightforward way to view your image sequences, and carry out basic compositing, color grading and editing too, before exporting to a video format. You may never need to use another bloated video editor again (Fig. 19)!
These also apply to 3ds Max and Cinema 4D, unless otherwise noted.
- Depth of Field for Fisheye cameras
You can now use Depth of Field effects for a camera set to use Fisheye projection.
- Decal Presets in Chaos Cosmos
These actually arrived a few weeks ago, as Chaos Cosmos gets updated separately and does not have to wait for a new release of Corona for those additions to show up – we just wanted to call your attention to them here in case you missed it!
- ACES OT is on by default in the tone mapping stack
Due to how popular this has proved to be, it will be enabled by default in all new scenes. You may find yourself using an Exposure that is brighter by a value of 1 stop, in case you have particular values you habitually choose for exposure.
Improved Viewport Previews for Corona Materials and Maps (3ds Max) (Fig. 20)
To make your life easier, we’ve improved the High Quality viewport preview of many materials and maps such as:
- Corona Physical Material
- Corona RaySwitch
- Corona Legacy
- Corona Skin
- Corona Hair
- Corona Bitmap
- Corona Select
- Corona RaySwitch
- Corona FrontBack
- Corona Mix
- Corona Triplanar (previously worked only with Autodesk materials)
Remember, this only applies when the 3ds Max High Quality viewport is enabled.
- Fixing the Error Window
This brings with it improved performance, fixes to text clipping, fixes UI problems on macOS (Cinema 4D), and more, thanks to a complete rewrite of the system.
- Spline rendering now supported (Cinema 4D)
By adding a Corona Spline Render tag to any spline, it can now be rendered in Corona.
- Corona Converter improvements (3ds Max)
- Improved metals detection and conversion.
- Improved conversion of refractive materials (materials with black refraction color are no longer treated as refractive materials).
- Support for distribution maps in Chaos Scatter (Cinema 4D)
You can now add a bitmap or procedural noise to a Scatter to control the distribution of the scattered objects. An exaggerated example is shown below for illustration (Fig. 21).
- Added support for the VRaySwitchMaterial (3ds Max)
Previously, there was only partial support for this, which has now been improved.
- Speed improvements when rendering multiple material previews
- Twinbru fabrics are now available in Chaos Cosmos (Fig. 22)
- Added support for Cinema 4D 2023
- Support removed for 3ds Max 2014 and 2015
As we indicated in our Corona 8 release blog, we no longer support these versions of 3ds Max, making 2016 the oldest supported version.
- Support removed for Cinema 4D R14 to R16
As we indicated in our Corona 8 release blog, we no longer support these versions of Cinema 4D, making R17 the oldest supported version.
- Chaos Scatter updated
- For 3ds Max, Chaos Scatter now only requires a license when its UI is in use, and not during the whole 3ds Max session. This saves a license being locked from another instance of 3ds Max. Rendering scattered instances is unlimited.
- Cosmos models imported as part of Scatter presets are set to disabled for rendering – that is, the instances will render, but the source objects being scattered will not. If needed, this can be enabled again in the object properties of each of the models.
- Cosmos browser on Windows now opens in its own window instead of an external web browser (Cinema 4D)
- Corona Camera UI is now separated into tabs (Cinema 4D)