The Boundary Corona Interview

Some of you may have already seen this but here is the interview we did with the Corona Renderer guys last year.  Pretty lengthy! So much so that they split it in two. Mostly about The Boundary in general and also about how we use Corona in our workflow.  Hope it's interesting.

Low-Tech Low-Fog

We've recently resolved to do weekly seminars in the office with a view to pooling and sharing knowledge that the various super talented people here have.  Some are more blog worthy than others but it seems logical to post some of them here which may be of interest. 

Low fog in Corona was this morning's seminar.  We use the Corona volume material in almost every scene to some degree even if almost imperceptibly to give a slight background haze as always appears in reality on even the clearest of days. 

For a general volume material tutorial check out Corona's volumetric fog tutorial which is really clear.

This post is more to do with how you can use volume materials in different ways to generate very quick and simple atmospheric effects without resorting to more technical simulation techniques such as FumeFX. (although this dancing amphibious hominid is pretty cool) 

Here are a few basic examples which were generated using PG Skies test scene. One with a Corona Sun / Sky system and the other with PG Skies 1714.  A great sky incidentally as it is one which although having been shot in Moroccan Desert works equally well for warm summer scenes and cold winter scenes.

Here are a few more examples of the fog with different lighting conditions and with a lower more zoomed in camera. 

Basic volume material set up below:  I typically use an absorption colour value of around 220 and a scattering colour of roughly the same.  Single bounce only is much faster and makes very little difference to the result. 

All you need to do then is apply the volume material to a piece of geometry which will act as your fog or cloud.  Below is an example of a basic object with multiple noise modifiers applied of varying scales and strengths.  Basically play around with the noise parameters to achieve different effects.  Rough steamy fog or smooth low fog. 

It may look nothing like fog with a default material at this stage by the way

One important thing to remember is not to overlap the fog objects as this can result in dark patches at the intersections where the fog has not been correctly calculated rather like co-planar surfaces with transparent materials. 

It is also important for the geometry to be complete, i.e. no missing polys as the volume material is not distributed throughout the geometry but gives this effect when viewed from the outside.  With this in mind the camera must always be outside of the fog object.

Below is a view port screen grab of the fog object in the PG Skies scene. Note that the camera is just outside the fog object. 

The density of the fog can be adjusted by the absorption distance.  Higher values for a less dense fog, lower values for greater density.  See examples below. 

The final thing to mention is that the apparent density of the fog is dictated by the angle of the sun striking it relative to the position of the camera.  If the sun is coming straight into the camera the fog will appear more dense as in reality.  Sometimes if there is no sun the fog may appear less visible.  This is where Emission can be useful.  Rather than increasing the density of the fog by reducing the absorption distance it is possible to add a sort of self illumination with Emission Distance.  This is set to 255 (white) by default.  The distance usually has to be quite high to avoid a glowing cloud!   See examples below.

So, might seem a little old school and a bit of a hack but it's proved really effective and super quick in many situations recently.  Hope it helps. 

The Boundary Summer 2016

We posted this on Facebook a while back I believe but with winter taking hold in earnest during the past few weeks I think it bares repetition as a means of inspiration remembering that summer will come again! 

Black Friday

It's been a while coming but we have finally converted the Boundary Scene 01 to Corona.  As it took so long we have included a new HDRI and set the scene up as a day shot with one of my favourite PG Skies 1714.  The previous 1953 Vray dusk setup has also been converted with all the lights in the scene.  Simply swap out the HDRi and turn on the lights. 

This and all other scenes on The Boundary Store are discounted by 50% from now until the end of Monday 28th November.  Enjoy! 

The Boundary Store

Discount Code: BLACK50


The Boundary Scene 03 update

Since the release of The Boundary Scene 03 on the Boundary Store, we have had a few queries about the 2013 max versions not having cameras in. Many apologies for this, we had back saved from max 2016 failing to remember that physical cameras don't exist in max 2013.  We have remade the cameras with normal max target cameras and added skew modifiers to approximate the horizontal and vertical shift.  All seems to work now.

All existing costumers should receive an email with a new download link.


The Boundary Film 2016

For those of you not fortunate enough to attend the State of Art Academy Day 7 in Venice earlier this month, here is a short film which we finished off our presentation with.   A compilation of some of the things we have been up to over the past two years.  Not all hard work ;)




The Boundary Scene 03

Following on from State of Art Academy's amazing Academy Day 07, as promised here is The Boundary Scene 03 which features a simple studio with the spherical environment used in our 70 Vestry project.  This scene is set up for Corona and Vray in 3ds max 2013 and 2016.  All those who were at the Academy day and got the discount code can download for free for the next week ending Friday 21st October end of the day.  Enjoy!

Tips and tricks: Corona LightMixer

Simon just posted a nice round up on his blog of a new Corona Renderer feature called LightMixer which we thought we would share here.

Hi guys,

This time it’s really worth it to download the latest daily build of Corona Renderer. Recently the gents behind it introduced an awesome feature called LightMixer. Up until now similar stuff was only available in Maxwell and Fryrender (is that still being developed?!), but right now everyone will have access to this incredible thing. Below you’ll find a short how-to and you’ll also find my notes to that video right underneath.
Ok, based on this video I’m sure you already have a pretty good idea about how this works, but just in case I’ll do a small run down.

What is it? Basically Corona LightMixer allows you to control the power of your light sources straight in the frame buffer. It works with both interactive and “regular” rendering so it can be pretty useful.

How it works? Looking at the video above I’m sure you’ve already noticed that it’s basically a render pass, very similar to VrayLightSelect, but one that allows you to control it’s multiplier straight in the framebuffer, instead creating a need to comp it in postproduction.

To get LightMixer working you have to create a new CShading_LightSelect pass, scroll down and add all the light sources that you want to control in this particular group, to the Light Select Render Element list by pressing “+” and selecting each light individually.

IMPORTANT! LightSelect pass does not care about instances. If you have 100 lights that are all instanced, you have to select all of them.

The amazing thing is that LightMixer also allows you to change the color of your light sources, but in the end, and this is an important one, you have to remember that this is just a postproduction gimmick, basically combining together different LightSelect passes like you would in photoshop, it won’t change anything in your scene, which means that as soon as you’ll reset your frame buffer to defaults or merge those lights into a new scene, you’ll have to go through that entire process once again.

Jobs at The Boundary

A quick reminder that we are always on the lookout for suitable people to join our team here at The Boundary. Send us an email with a CV and portfolio to

All levels of experience will be considered, enthusiasm to do great work is the most important attribute.

You should be eligible to work in the UK.

Expanding The Boundary

Join us at The Boundary!

We are looking for talented, creative and motivated 3d artists to join our expanding team.

Applicants from a 3d viz background should have a strong interest in architecture and photography and be keen to develop new skills in line with the ever evolving requirements of the industry.

Applicants from an architecture background should be familiar with 3ds Max and rendering and be keen to work on projects with the world's most celebrated architects.

Full time position. No freelancers or agencies. Applicants must be legally employable in the UK and be available to work with the team at our North London studio. 

Please send a CV and portfolio to


We are offering a huge 50% everything in The Boundary Store for Black Friday all the way through to end of day on Cyber Monday with the code BLACK50 , enjoy!

The above image was rendered in Corona (which handles god rays beautifully). A reminder that when we make Corona versions of the scenes, people who have already purchased will get the corona version as a free update.

The Boundary @ 3ds London 4th Nov 2015

For anyone who missed us talk at the State of Art Academy Day 6 in Venice in October, we are doing a slightly compressed version of the presentation at 3ds London on Wednesday along with a few other things that we are up to.  Hope to see you all there for a beer or two.

Boundary Scene 02


Here is the second scene to be made available on the Boundary Store.  This one includes several detailed furniture models including Hans Wegner's CH24 Y-Chair and Mendes da Rocha's Paulistano armchair.  Check the Boundary Blog for up coming tutorials on the making of this scene including the spherical panoramic view above.  For the first week we are offering a 20% discount on this scene:

Discount code: STAITHE END
Expires Friday 30th Oct 2015


Super House

Here's a little project which we have been working on for the past six months.  It's a luxury concept house aimed at the super rich as the perfect accompaniment to a Super Yacht!  We've had lots of fun and games with this one as our close relationship with Strom Architects gave us the freedom to create our own Mediterranean paradise.  The aim was to produce a complete 3d environment free from any compositing with minimal post providing a platform for testing 360's, animation and varying moods.  Hope you enjoy the result and if anyone has the odd £30m or so going spare give Strom Architects a call.

Click here for full image gallery

Super House website

SoA Acadamy Day 06

Just received these pics from Gianpiero of our talk at the State of Art Academy Day 06.  Phil here suggested that with our matching Boundary attire we look like a beach volleyball team in a post match press conference.