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…

3D World - - INDUSTRY -

“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

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