Simple & effective CGI System

Corona render workflow

In Fat Sumo, we always are trying to improve the efficiency and quality of our CGI’s. For that reason we test different software, in particular rendering engines. We will be testing corona render workflow. Our main goal is to improve the time that it takes to set up a scene.

Normally, we have been using V-ray for our architectural visualizations. There were times that we used mental ray as we have experienced people who know what they are doing.

We were looking for a workflow that a new user could learn easily and also achieved high quality architectural visualization renders. Not to forget keeping with deadlines and clients demands.

Corona Render Workflow

We found Corona render. We tested it in different environments with various users, experienced architectural professional and new users in this field.

The conclusion is that using Corona render not only provide fantastic images but it easier for users to learn. That is why Corona render workflow is include in our architectural visualizations.

We wanted to share with you one of our first experiments with Corona. It is a simple scene but it should give you an idea how easy is to use.

We did the modelling in Revit and 3D Max. For the render we used Corona and the post-production Photoshop.

Corona render workflow


We had toyed with the idea of just creating and populating a simple ‘box’ in 3D Max in order to do this test. Finally, we decided to add slightly more detail to make the scene realistic. We did this very simply by adding some profiling as well as a door and window as a gesture of further space and setting beyond the scene that is being focused on.

There was very little work necessary within Revit to achieve an image such as this. Even with such a simple scene it is important to assign the correct materials to the geometry in Revit. The reason is that these items will be grouped when the model is linked to 3D Max. It is helpful to apply a naming system in order to keep track and easily locate specific materials used. This is especially important when working with very large scenes and the naming system should be as complex as necessary.

For this scene we simply used ‘ct(‘corona test’)_geometry(e.g.wall)’ and each material was assigned a white colour as the scenes colour, texture etc. were not important within Revit.

Once we were happy with the basic arrangement and the materiality of each item we exported the file as an .fbx in order to import the model to 3DS Max.

Corona render workflow
Corona render workflow

3D Max

You can import the Revit model to 3D max using the ‘File Link Manager’.

Ignore or cancel any daylight system or additional settings from Revit. This way you only use the geometry that you create.

In this case, we put in place the furnishing and decoration models to complete the geometry in the scene.

It is important to add these before creating any lights or daylight systems as we want to see how the lighting affects each item and vice versa.

Use Corona daylight system with the Corona environment map to light the scene.

This is a very effective way of lighting the scene. It works perfectly well on its default settings and therefore allows you to see quick results.

Once you place all geometry and lights you can test the scene with a low resolution white draft render before beginning to texture the geometry.

We use the material override option within the render setup to assign all materials to white except any glass within the scene.

For this test, we used the Standard target camera and simply adjusted the aperture width until we were happy.

All other settings we left as default.

Now that we are happy with the scene and the geometry we can begin to add materiality.

For this test we decided to keep it simple and use the ‘Basic Corona Set’ that you can find as a resource on the Corona website.

This test is focus on outlining the steps that you take from start to finish. For this reason we chose very simple textures that would need minimal adjusting.

Within this scene the only modifier that we used was a ‘UVW Map’ set to ‘Box’ and ‘Real-World Map Size’.

Corona render workflow
Corona render workflow
Corona render workflow


For this test we used the Standard target camera and simply adjusted the aperture width until I was happy.

When rendering with Corona there are several passes that can assist you with your post-production (including a particularly easy to use ‘Material ID’ pass).

Due to the nature of this scene, we only needed to use the following three passes:

  1. Beauty
  2. Alpha
  3. Ambient Occlusion

(Note: the ‘Ambient Occlusion’ pass can be created by adding the ‘CoronaAO’ map to the ‘CTexmap’ pass) The scene is rendered using the ‘HDTV (video)’ output option at 4500x2531px with 64 passes on the ‘Progressive’ setting. All other settings were existing within the ‘Render setup’ window.

Corona render workflow
Corona render workflow
Corona render workflow


We decided to try and minimise time spent in post-production. We used very basic techniques to improve the rendered product.

We used the ‘Ambient Occlusion’ pass to add shadows in certain areas and adjusted the saturation and brightness of the ‘Beauty’ pass to bring out some more colour.

Finally we used the ‘Alpha’ pass to add a winter scene through the window.

These few steps are not at all time consuming and we feel that they add a lot to the overall image.

Corona render workflow

Thanks for reading this if you have!