There are times when you simply have to evolve. With its 3ds Max and Cinema 4D versions released on the same day, Corona Renderer is now wholly under the brand name Chaos Corona.
Corona 8 has been out since April 2022, and it's as big a release as you can expect. It is filled with many new, anticipated features that can help you achieve greater levels of realism!
I'll highlight some of the features that individually excite me, like Chaos Scatter, Caustics Include/Exclude control, Corona Decal, Corona Slicer, Corona Curvature Map, and Chaos Cosmos.
Everything else can be found in the official Chaos Corona release post, which is available here.
So, let's start with the highlights of the new Chaos Corona 8. First,
Grass, trees, flowers, rocks, cars in parking lots, and fallen leaves add detail to the scene but can be tedious and impossible to place manually. This is no problem, thanks to the new Chaos Scatter, which allows you to randomly arrange hundreds, thousands, or millions of instances into patterns and use different controls to get your desired result.
Several powerful new options have been added to give you even more control over your results.
· Slope Limiter: this helps control the number of trees scattered on areas with slopes - like cliffs and mountains, for example.
· Spline exclude/includes: helps to carve a path through your trees and scatter rocks along it, or limit flowers to flower beds with closed splines, etc.
· Camera clipping: limits scattering to only be inside the camera's field of view. This improves scene analysis and reduces the amount of memory required.
· Chaos Scatter Surface Color Texmap: is a long name for something that lets you color the scatters based on the texmap of the object they are applied on. Perfect for creating patterned rugs or variations in color on a lawn, etc.
· Preserve model Scale and Rotation: you can adjust or even animate the scale and rotation of the source object you intend to scatter.
· 3ds Max only (for now) – Edit individual instances after scattering: you can now move, scale, rotate, or even delete individual scattered objects in the scene.
· With the new Max Polygons viewport display option, you can limit the displayed scatters by polygon count for Full preview.
· Added map slots for affecting translation and rotation of instances in the scene.
· Added Follow spline amount controlling how instances get oriented along splines during 1D spline scattering.
The following applies to 3ds Max only, as Cinema 4D has a different method for adding and listing instanced objects:
· Objects lists in Scatter now show the full name of each object in a tooltip if the name is too long to fit into the list (3ds Max).
· Objects lists in Scatter were reworked: objects now show their wire color. Right-clicking lets you select the object in the scene or replace it with another, and parameter columns have been added, e.g., to see the Frequency for each instanced object (3ds Max).
Graffiti on walls, Road markings, cracks in concrete, stains and dirt on glass, car body decals (my favorite), and lots more! - Easily add these and more important details that are sure to add immense realism to your scene.
How does the new corona decal improve on old methods of using layered materials to work?
· It is Easy to set up: You can move, scale and rotate them using the helper object in the viewport so that you can place them exactly where you want, or even scatter them where randomness is required, or animate them however you please.
· Can be stacked on one another: It's easy to stack up decals, so you can have your graffiti be affected by cracks in the wall. This is controlled visually by how far each decal object is from the surface.
· Fully supports displacement: Craters, cracks, bumps, dimples, carvings, and more; with displacement, you can have the realism you are looking for when adding these features.
· Can affect multiple objects: A single decal can affect all objects it overlaps, regardless of the materials applied to them, so that your paint splashes can affect various objects. An include/exclude list lets you adjust this as necessary.
Sometimes you may want to simultaneously see the outside and inside of an object, such as a house with the roof cut off, showing the interior, or a car with an engine. The Corona Slicer is a tool for situations like this.
Corona Slicer is a material you can apply to any object in your scene, turning that object into a "slicer" that will cut away geometry non-destructively during render times. You can animate this slicer object, and it works without the inconsistencies of any Boolean operations in the host software. You can control what happens to sliced surfaces, including the option to create caps that can use the material from the sliced geometry or create a cap with the material plugged into the Slicer's Material slot.
As 3D Artists, we know that populating our scenes with high-quality assets is a huge step in achieving photorealism, but we can admit that it usually takes a lot of time to do so. That's where Chaos Cosmos comes in. It provides hundreds of models, materials, HDRI skies, and even presets for Chaos Scatter that you can use within 3ds Max or Cinema 4D without having to search external websites. No need to worry about cost either, as all assets are completely free and already included in your Corona license.
You can search for content right from within 3ds Max or Cinema 4D, find assets you have already downloaded, mark your favorites, then add those assets directly into your scene with a click of the mouse. Truly Amazing!
Corona Curvature Map/Shader
Adding wear and dirt to the corners and crevices of objects becomes more accessible thanks to the new curvature map. This doesn't eliminate the need for AO maps but reduces the artists' dependency on them for achieving similar good-looking results. Here's an example below.
Customizable Tone Mapping
The power and flexibility of tone mapping right in the VFB has been one of the most-loved features of Corona, and now that is taking a leap forward! Get the exact final look you want with new operators such as Tone Curve and Advanced Filmic Mapping, all in a user-configurable stack so you can add, delete, and move them as necessary. Post Processing just got easier!
You can now set whether an object receives generated caustics using an Include/Exclude list. For the sake of render times, you may want to disable receiving caustics for specific objects in your scene. For instance:
· When rendering jewelry, you may wish to see caustics on the ground but not on other objects.
· When rendering a bathroom with highly reflective tiles on all walls, generating caustics for the whole interior may be very resource-heavy and introduce noise. To improve rendering performance, you can exclude most objects from receiving caustics and only keep them where they are needed (e.g., at the bottom of the bathtub filled with water or reflected off a mirror)
Support for M1 Machines (Cinema 4D only)
With apples new M devices showing excellent capability, Corona now supports running on M1 processors, bringing a 40-50% speed increase compared to running Corona under Rosetta emulation. Brilliant!
With all these new features, Chaos Corona 8 is not just another release but a massive improvement from the previous version from a company that clearly strives for the best in all aspects of 3D development. I can't wait to see what the future holds!
About Ikechukwu Ihegwuagu
Ikechukwu Ihegwuagu is an eclectic designer passionate about 3D Arch viz. He works part-time with an Architectural firm in Nigeria and also carries out freelance jobs. When he's not working on projects, he loves to practice his skills, write 3D-related content, as well as share what he knows about Arch viz on his YouTube Channel.