Corona or Cycles

Hey, Is Corona render better than Cycles? I’m not only refering to Corona for Blender but also for 3ds Max or any software that can use Corona
And if so, why and where are those areas where Corona is better ( or not )

The answer as always - it depends. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a render engine.

What are you planning to do? Are you focusing more on realism or more stylized looks? Is your workstation optimized for CPU or GPU rendering? Do you need any specific features that each engine might provide?

It’s very difficult to compare render engines one-to-one. I haven’t seen the ultimate render engine yet. Each has its strength and weaknesses.

Overall Corona is great and among top render engines for sure. It has superior light transform algorithm: a hybrid of path tracing and photon mapping. This alone allows it to offer the most realistic light behavior for the most complex scenarios. Cycles is just a path tracer. So if you need highest realism then Corona is much better.

Yet, you can achieve great realistic results with most any path tracing render engine but might need more post production work done with Cycles.

Then there is machine time versus human time. Cycles is perfectly integrated with Blender. So you’ll spend much less time working on and preparing you scenes in Cycles vs Corona current addon. But if you choose to work with Corona let’s say in C4D than it’s another story. It’s integrated really well there so you’ll get much better experience and will be more proficient.

It’s just only a couple of bigger points to mention.

So, again, the answer is - it depends.

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Yes corona is better. But 3dsmax is massive pain to use. Maybe I would recommend blender and octane.

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Octane look to me somehow similar to Corona. Also it’s free. But in general there is no BEST render here. Cycles is fast, with some tweaking in post can get very good result.
Corona is relative fast for CPU only renderer, also you can load really big scene without worrying about GPU memory… Only need good CPU and lot of RAM.
If you have a lot of work, can consider other software. In this case I recommend you C4D ( personal bias :wink: ), because scene, asset, material, layer, etc. management is far superior, so even novice can easily and quickly start to work. So maybe you can try with trial and see do this workflow fit to you.
Both from creative and financial side.

Maybe it helps if you specify the usecases where you want to archieve better results than in cycles so a cycles and corona expert maybe can tell which options to tweak to get there and then (and only then) you may decide four you workflow?

(I never liked this kind of questions because it leads to answers like : This is best. But there will be always a new learning curve to crest… but maybe it’s also just good to learn another renderer to understand the first one better?)

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There are no categorical answers” available here: if there were, then the entire industry would have long ago standardized on just “the one ‘best’ thing,” and today it would have no competition at all. Carefully consider your project, and let that be your guide.

If you have particular questions or seek specific insights, you can certainly find qualified answers here … but the key word is “specific.”

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When I consider archviz, I’m definitely sure I’ve seen more better looking renders from corona on the average than from cycles, compare the average cycles rendered archviz you see with the average corona rendered archviz.

Keep in mind that render engine companies have followed the DCC vendors in making their engines rental only, so you will be paying by the month even if you are not using it at the moment.

Cycles also has a dedicated engineer now to work with Brecht, so improvements will be happening faster compared to a couple of years ago (when development was off and on at most), however it may not be ideal if you need to get results now.

Yes, this is actually how it is with Arch-Viz and Product/Car/Advert Visualization.

The best test is: pick the Top 10 Arch-Viz CG-Images made with Corona and Top 10 CG-Images made with Cycles. 10 are enough as a sample where you have top 10 artists from both sides, and can not say “well it depends on artist”.
Cycles created images do not come even close to the quality of shade-bleeding, light-spreading, vibrant colors and speed of those from Corona.

Of course - the missing magic word is: not yet :slight_smile:

I see a lot of cycles renders (archviz) here and on other platforms and I must say the quality of corona/vray just blows cycles away

These corona renders by “Ik_des” on Instagram (https://instagram.com/lk_des?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=) simply surpasses alot of blender renders I’ve seen

Although I’ve seen some blender renders that are simply stunning but most times the artists use ACES or Octane to render it

I really hope I’m wrong and I wish someone can outline a workflow to achieving such a high-quality, clean looking result as the images I’ve attached

well, there are many professionals using vray and corona, therefore a reason we get a pool of stunning works from them. Yes, cycles is a little bit behind in some few scenarios however you can equally achieve impressive results as vray or corona.

I made these a while ago using cycles and it took about 5 mins to render on my mobile rtx2070. That’s the strength of cycles; its blazing fast and viewport performance is incredible.

It was rendered using the earliest version of AgX color management by @troy_s.


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I already mentioned the use of Principled for everything which can impact realism, but I also realize that another major bit that reduces realism is the use of clamping (which dims highlights, caustics, and any effect that does not converge quickly). Fortunately, the use of clamping should dip significantly once the work on Many-Light sampling and Path Guiding is in master.

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Isn’t there also a principled shader 2.0 on the way?

Yes, that’s right.

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These renders look amazing.
You’ll see what I mean when you compare the final version with what I posted

To be honest, those renders from Corona you’ve posted are mediocre in terms of todays highest archviz standards. They are ok, but I don’t think that they surpass anything that was made in Cycles because you can achieve similar effects in both render engines - Corona is better in terms of achieving fast, good out-of-box results mainly because there’s big premade materials base and easy to use tone mapper.

Look at a gallery on this forum or check out those artists:

https://twitter.com/Petra_archviz
https://twitter.com/Luan3dr_

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