CORONA – WHAT’S THE LATEST?
It’s been a little over a year since the Chaos Group merger, and Corona Renderer is still going strong. We find out more about its journey…
“We learned there is a fine balance between delegating and giving up control over your Work” Ondra Karlik, founder and main developer
For the Render Legion gang, it’s been an intense five years: from the Corona Alphas in ‘13 and ‘14, to last year’s Chaos Group buyout and this year’s Corona 2.0 for 3ds Max and C4D releases. So we asked Ondra Karlik, founder and main developer of Corona, how it’s been going. To answer that question, he began with a detour into the first parts of Corona’s journey:
“When we started Corona, especially after we went live, we learned some hard lessons while working hard to stay afloat. We learned that there is a fine balance between delegating and giving up control over your work, as well that if you want something done right, you may have to do it yourself.
“We also learned one of the most important software development lessons around: adding more developers does not necessarily mean a better or faster output of your product. These experiences make it retrospectively easy to see we were way too fast on our track in the beginning. We’ve slowed down now, and I feel we’re currently on a much better footing to create the renderer we want to”.
This of course raises the question about what effect the Chaos Group buyout has had on the Corona team.
“Well, Corona is not going to be killed and stripped for parts, that’s for sure. To be honest, there haven’t been too many changes. For me personally, it’s been adjusting to not owning the company. For the developers there haven’t been that many, either: there have been no forced changes, we communicate well, and the best and biggest change is that we can now look at reference implementations from V-ray. It’s probably the office staff who’ve been hit the hardest, as they had to adjust to how Chaos Group do things.”
Ondra continues: “As an example, we had a really successful hackathon with the V-ray team this summer. You can see the results of this in our recent builds and releases, like the new V-ray compatibility, Corona Scatter in V-ray, the Corona denoiser into V-ray, as well as bloom, glare, Corona Scatter and volumetric render improvements. We also put more work into our denoiser. This was actually a bit of a task – deciding what to denoise and not, because if you add all kinds of channels, it just won’t work well. Where other denoisers usually work with the rendered image, we decided to give the denoiser more data to work with. We actually discovered during development of making denoising happen on CPU that our optimisations improved render times and results, and we got good feedback on this.”
So now that trade-show season is over and the dust from the buyout has settled for real, what’s in store for Corona in the near future?
“On the top of our list is even better compatibility with itoo’s products as well as OSL support. We’re also aiming to improve caustics, a tone mapping rework, Cryptomatte, memory optimisations, as well as adaptive light sampling and Render Element visibility in reflections/refractions.
“This really is a hard question to answer, as we get so many requests, and sometimes it’s hard to figure what users want, contra what they need. We even had an incident where users hijacked the voting polls for Modo and/or Rhino, which made it even more difficult, but we take all suggestions or ideas into consideration – we may just be careful with the order of accepting or implementing them, as a lot of components are interdependent. But all in all, the future for Corona looks pretty rosy. Now, if we could only get some more Czech developers for the team, things would be almost perfect!”
FYI Keep up with the latest Corona news at corona-renderer.com