Discussion about Prices & Licence Politics II.

Discussion benefits everyone

First, thanks a lot for all your responses, suggestions, opinions & messages  – good spirited and even not-that-positive ones. They both count as they show us different views. Since some points we made in the original article were not clear, there was some confusion and questions we want now to clear out.
This follow up article tries to explain some points better and answer you all questions where we know the answer (there are some questions where we ourselves do not have the answer yet, however our intentions and visions are crystal clear).

Also we have decided to change couple of things based on your suggestions. We try to be as fair and transparent as possible.

I have decided to write this blog post in Q&A fashion. Most of the questions were raised by you. Also some facts and topics we did not cover in the first article are published in this one.

Make yourself a tea or coffee and enjoy the long blog post.

But just in case, that you do not have that much time, you can find quick summary below. But I strongly recommend you to read the whole article.


Previous article about Prices & Release date of 3dsmax version.


  • Unlimited access to all major, monthly, and daily experimental builds.
  • Costs 24.99€/month (19.99€ for first year with our initial promo discount)
  • 1 floating workstation license (usable also as render node) + 3 floating render nodes
  • Paid monthly, with voluntary option to pre-pay 1 year
  • Cancel at any time without any charge
  • NEW: we added SaaS versions with 5 render nodes instead of 3 (29.99€/month), and 10 render nodes instead of 3 (45.99€/month)


  • Forever access the version 1.0
  • Costs 449€/ paid once (349€ with our initial promo discount)
  • 1 fixed seat workstation license (usable also as render node) + 3 fixed render nodes
  • Access to all bug fixes for major version 1.0.
  • Eligible for future paid upgrades to versions 2.0, 3.0, …
  • We have scrapped the 90 days of free subscription – no longer applicable
  • Subscription
    • Costs 99€/year
    • Gives permanent access to future major versions (2.0, 3.0, …), monthly builds and daily experimental builds released while the subscription is active
    • Must be purchased when buying the box license.
    • Valid for 12 months, can be renewed

Corona Renderer Development

Questions regarding development

SaaS vs. BOX: Why SaaS? How is it connected with development?

Artists are used to the “upgrade model” – they buy version 1.0, then wait for 12-24 months while getting some minor updates for free, and suddenly there is a new paid version 2.0 packed with a lot of new features. But the new feature-rich version was not created overnight. Developing many new functions takes a lot of time. In the meanwhile, companies must decide which features to release immediately as 1.01, 1.02, …, and which to stash and keep unpublished until enough of them accumulates to create a paid upgrade. We are not saying companies are doing this because they are greedy or evil – it is a necessity with this model – they need the income from updates, because developing software is a very expensive task.

We really don’t like this model. We want to deliver the latest tech as soon as possible, and we never want to make decisions hurting  the product to keep the business afloat.

Look what we have achieved in past 12 months. We have released version A6, A7, fix A7.1 for max and we are about to release version 1.0.  Every single version was packed with new functions and improvements. It really means that we were able to release 3 major versions this year only. Each one of them was released when it was ready and stable.
This would not be possible with the traditional model – we would have to wait with these new features for at least 12 month and only then we would be able to offer them to you in a new major release. That does not make any sense.

 We have released 3 major versions this year only.

So because the traditional “BOX” & upgrade model does not really work with our speed of development, we had to look for alternatives. That’s why we come up with “Fair SaaS” as a solution to this problem. It enables us to always deliver you the latest tech with fair price and conditions, and makes our development truly independent of business aspects.

We still however see a place for the box license. First, there will always be some people who are simply not used to a concept of using software for a small monthly fee similarly to mobile phone, electricity, water, heating, gas, rent, TV, car insurance, Dropbox,  …. Probably everything needs time to get used to it. These people are here and it is their right to have different opinion and reasons to not take the SaaS route. Second, some people feel like they are being held hostage by SaaS-only companies, since the price can increase in the future. We are keeping the Box also as a safety device – you can always switch if you feel our SaaS is becoming  unfair. We promise to announce any changes to pricing & conditions with enough time to react.

Are the SaaS & Box licenses equal?

In our eyes, BOX is a obsolete and problematic solution if it is bought without subscription.

And I am going to admit it that we certainly do not prefer that solution. BOX with subscription is on the other hand much better, as we can deliver you updates in same way as for the SaaS users. And we will certainly try to make SaaS version more attractive.

So if you will buy SaaS or BOX with subscription, you will make our lives as developers less complicated. Because these two options will be equal in a sense of delivering updates.

Subscription is non-mandatory. So you can buy it or not during the purchase. It is up to you. But it will be the best solution for both sides, if you have it.

OK, tell me the benefit of Fair SaaS once again please, I still do not see the advantages for me

Lower Initial Cost
Your upfront investment is precisely zero. You pay just for the usage of the software.
This makes software affordable to everyone as well.

Better CashFlow
You do not have to save money up front for the software. Also if you do not have a steady job, this solution lets you save money: Just cancel during the “dry” months without jobs.

Scalability & Easier Budgeting
Do you need more licenses for project for a short time? Just buy SaaS licenses for the time needed, then just cancel them with no penalty. You exactly know how much money SW cost you on each project. No more guess work.

Continuous Innovation
You will always get the hands on the latest versions and you will have the choice of downgrading if you want to. Easy as pie.

Cancel Any Time
You can cancel you license any time. If you go for holidays, you will simply cancel your license and save some money.

What are the stable monthly builds?

Stable Monthly Builds – We will try to deliver roughly one stable build per month. You can look at these builds as 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 versions if you want. They will be tested and they should be stable. So you will have new tech if you want. They are again non-mandatory and you can downgrade to older build.
So instead of waiting a year for new version for next big version 2.0, you can grab new features every month.

What are the daily builds?

Daily builds are irregularly updated development builds. They are usually the latest builds which we have. There is high possibility that they contain bugs and that they are not stable. At this moment only small group of testers have access to it and they are aware that these builds can and have bugs. It is really for the brave and for those who cannot live without the latest tech.



What are the payment options?

We are planning to use an industry-standard paygate with 28 payment types. From various cards to digital payments like paypal etc, so I think that this will be pretty much covered. No bitcoins/dogecoins yet 🙂

I want to have Fair SaaS, but I do not want to pay monthly!

We understand it is sometimes more convenient to avoid monthly payments, so we will also offer one year upfront payment. Because this way we will save some money on transaction fees, we will slightly lower the price to reflect this. Payment by one year in advance will be possible during checkout.
But there is little disadvantage in this scenario. You can cancel, but you will not receive refund. So you will be giving up this particular advantage of FairSaaS.

How will the licenses be sold?

Digital only, no dongles, no physical delivery of any kind. That just puts prices up.

What are the prices for other plugins?

We would like to sell each plugin of Corona with a separate license, for the same price in case the product has the same value.
But other plugins will will remain free until they are ready for release and have similar feature set as Corona 1.0 for 3dsmax.  This will be later in the future. The 3dsmax version is currently ahead because it is our primary dev platform.
But important thing to say is, that rendering cores are always identical. So even Corona Alpha 1.1 for C4D has got exactly same core as 3dsmax version Alpha 7.1.

What is the price of standalone?

The facts mentioned in the above answer about other plugins applies also for the standalone version. As almost no one really uses standalone on massive scale, it is currently not our priority.

What is the subscription price for BOX licenses?

The price is 99EUR per year.

 What is the upgrade price for BOX license?

We cannot tell you the price of the upgrade yet, because we do not know exactly how long it will take before we will release next stable version. Which is logical.
But price will be slightly higher than the subscription price and we plan to release roughly one major version per year. (i.e. version 2.0 is scheduled for the end of 2015)

Corona Renderer Fair SaaS

Can I get more render nodes on SaaS? 3 is not enough

YES. Original idea is that one workstation license comes with 3 render nodes. From our statistics we know that most of the users who will buy one license have 2-3 render nodes maximum. (Workstation license can be used also as render node if needed.)  But some of you working in small teams have more than 3 render nodes and you let us know that this does not work for you. The problem was that with a specific number of nodes (5), you would already have to buy second full license, so adding one computer could double the price and leave you with 3 more licenses you would not need. Because of this we have decided to offer SaaS license versions with more render nodes in a pack:

  1. 1WS + 3 NODES for 24.99 EUR per month (19.99EUR with 30 day introductory offer)
  2. 1WS + 5 NODES for 29.99 EUR per month (24.99EUR with 30 day introductory offer)
  3. 1WS + 10 NODES for 44.99 EUR per month (39.99EUR with 30 day introductory offer)

This way you can save 19.99€/month when you have 5 or 6 render nodes, or 29.98€/month when you have 10 render nodes. This applies only to SaaS model but not to Box model. Read on for more.

Can I buy separate render node on SaaS?

No, not at the moment and we do not even think that it is needed anymore with the new license packs. The fixed transaction fee which we would have to pay from single render node payments would be simply too high. If we ever resolve this, we could start offering separate nodes in the future. But not at this point.

Can I buy separate render node packs without WS license on SaaS?

No. You can use the included workstation license as render node as well. So if you buy a license where is 1 workstation and 3 render nodes, you can use the workstation license as render node, and you have effectively 4 render nodes. The reasons is that we are trying to keep the system as simple as possible.



Can I get more render nodes on BOX? 3 is not enough

If you need more render nodes, then simply buy another license. You can use workstation license as a render node. So each new BOX license gives you 4 more nodes. We have decided not to offer BOX licenses with more render nodes because SaaS is the main solution, and we are trying to keep the system simple (we would have to make special pricing also for the upgrades, subscriptions, sidegrades, etc.).

What is the subscription for BOX license?

Subscription with BOX license lets you access daily builds, monthly builds and get free upgrades to any full version. Subscription has to be bought during purchase of your BOX license. Subscription on BOX license and it is valid for 12 months and can be renewed. You can use any Corona version released during your active subscription even if you let the subscription expire.

How is it with the bug fixes if I do not have subscription?

If we will find a bug, we will fix it regardless if you have or do not have subscription paid on your BOX license. You will always get your bug fix for free!

Why BOX license does have only 90 days of subscription for free?

This is no longer applicable. The whole idea of 90 days was scrapped. It was just confusing for users who thought that after 90 days, there will be no bug fixes available. But that was not true. We meant to fix bugs for free, just monthly build and daily builds access would be missing. I repeat, 90 days is not applicable anymore .

What is the upgrade on BOX license?

If you did not buy subscription during your purchase of Box license, that means that you do not have access to daily builds or stable monthly builds. You have to wait for the release of next major version (for example 2.0) and you will have the opportunity to buy this upgrade with one-time payment.

What is the subscription price for BOX licenses?

Price is 99EUR per year.

What is the upgrade price for BOX license?

We cannot tell you the price of the upgrade yet, because we do not know exactly how long it will take before we will release next stable version. Which is logical.
But the price will be slightly higher then subscription price.

Can I buy subscription later if I did not buy it when purchasing the BOX license?

No. You have to wait till next major version is out. Sorry but we have told you.

Can I sell my BOX license?

Yes you can. We do not mind.


Various questions

What about cross-grade?

No problem with that. If you were using 3dsmax version and you will decide to migrate to cinema4d, maya or any other version which will be there you can do it for free. We do not see any problem with this. No fee or anything else. But if there will be some price difference by any chance (which we do not plan, we want to keep prices same for every platform) you will only pay the difference.

Are licenses floating?

Our intention is to make licenses floating on SaaS if that will be technically possible. And we will do all what we can to make that happen. Right now we are working on the technology which will easily allow that. But I cannot give you exact technical details at the moment. But do not worry, we want to do something very easy to use.

BOX licenses will be node locked. But they can be re-hosted.
Right now we are working on the technology which will easily allow that. But I cannot give you exact technical details at the moment.

Can I use Corona on my home pc as well as on my work PC.

Yes, if that will be technically possible. And we will do all what we can to make that happen.

No. Buy SaaS or get limited free version for your home use.

Network license server? Network licensing?

I will repeat myself a little bit. Right now we are working on the technology which will easily allow that. But I cannot give you exact technical details at the moment.

What if internet connection is lost?

No big deal. Application will start and let you work for couple of days without connection to the internet.
Note: If there is still no internet connection for couple of days, there might be end of civilization anyway, so go home and spend it with your family or just call your internet provider.

What if license servers are gone?

As above, no big deal. Application will start and let you work for couple of days without connection to license servers. Our servers will be cloud based, so this should not happen.

What about free version?

Yes, we promised that back in the day that there will be some sort of free version and we will fulfill that. There will be two free versions.

  1. Alpha V6 for 3ds max will remain free forever.
    It does not have any time lock and it is very capable version. This version will be freely available for all the hobbyists without water mark, resolution limitation or anything like that. Simply free version. But it will not receive any bug fixes.
  2. The latest version with limitations.
    There will be some limitations applied. We will think about this more at the end of the year, before the A7 expires.

Everyone should be happy. 🙂

Discounts for Alpha Testers

Over the years we got help from many talented artists who were active in our alpha tester teams and some of them did amazing job looking for bugs, suggesting solutions and so on. Also lot of the users created some pretty nifty and helpful scripts/tutorials/free models/… which pushed our software forward. We do see that and those users will be rewarded. We will start contacting these people prior release and we will give them license for free or with considerable discount.
During those five years we had encountered many people, so there is a possibility that we might forgot someone. So if you feel that you should get your free license, please write us to info{at}corona-renderer.com and refresh our memory. We will then decide if you are eligible for the discount.


Vote for your favorite solution

Please let us know which of the version (if any) you will get. Thanks a lot!


Let us know your opinion

Here under the article or on our let us know on our forum

 Adam & Ondra


45 thoughts on “Discussion about Prices & Licence Politics II.

  1. One stupid simple question, if i’m sticking with SAAS from the start with the price of 19,99 for the first year and stop it for a month after couple of months, will i be able to resume it with the price of 19,99 🙂

  2. I think that you acquire the box license + 99€ and you have 1 year of updates, after that year you will be charged another 99€ for 1 year more, this is how I understand it.


  3. one question, I have a doubt.
    If I buy the box version plus the subscription, I will spend 349 + 99, and I will have all the latest release for TWO years (the first and the second with the subscription), Or I will have to spend 349 + 99 +99 in order to have all the build for the second year?
    When the new major release will come out (corona 2.0) I will have the new build or I will have to pay a new box licence?
    Because in this way the box licence is more convenient than the Saas licence..
    252+300= 552 euro (two years) … If the subscription remains also for the third year the Saas licence will cost alot more…
    Or perhaps there is something that I did not got?

    1. Hello Gabriella.
      If you are on FairSaaS, you always have access to the latest versions, and you have free upgrades to 2.0 etc.
      If you are on box with subscription. You will pay 349 +99 And you will get version 1.0 and free updates and upgrades just like on SaaS for 12 months. We plan to release 2.0 in November 2015, that means that if you have subscription, you will get 2.0 for free. you do Not have to pay for upgrades at all as long as you have subscription.
      Box License will get cheaper in its third year if you do not require many render nodes. But that flexibility and advantages of FairSaaS will not be in there. So it is up to you what you prefer. Commitment straight from the begining and initial investment into box version or simply flexibility which offers FairSaaS

  4. The Fair SaaS model seems super affordable and definitely no biggie, at least for us. After we’ve splashed out a few thousand pounds on 3Ds MAX sub itself already this rendering engine comes in as a no-brainer!
    I have to say, it’s like you guys came in and fixed all of the problems I’ve been having with Mental Ray/iray, made it 10x faster, super easy to learn and (for what I use it for) killed the need for MultiScatter!
    My boss got super excited with all the stuff and rendering speed improvements (especially with the super-easy DR setup with no BS crashing Backburner needed!) I’ve showed him, he loved it, we are all for using Corona in our future projects 🙂

  5. Liking the SaaS option. One question, if cross grading is free, why not allow customers to use to use any of your plugins? Like Arnold or Redshift do. It could potentially save you time in supporting customers cross grading back and fore.

    1. Hey Phil,
      We are responsible for developing corona core, max version and cinema. Some other platforms will be developed by third party developers and they work will be contracted or based on profit share from that plugin. The reason why we do that is, that we do not have enough funds (yet) to be able to code all the plugins on our own, or enough skilled people being able to do it. So to speed things up, we need to outsource this plugins.
      That’s why we want to keep plugins as separate products. I think, that redshift guys will start charging for each dcc plugin separately in near future as well. (I guess it from their forum post.) With Arnold it is a bit different. Big company, lot of money, lot of developers. Also ability to use Arnold on different plugins at no additional cost was certainly reflected in Arnold’s price.
      We simply do not want to put price up for something most users will not use.

      1. Hi Adam
        Thanks for the explanation, which I fully understand. It will certainly help facilitate third party development. Arnold is much more expensive and has grown a lot over the last few years from the small company they once were. On the Redshift forums, posts from Panos and Nicolas state there are currently no plans to charge for future plugins – unless I’m missing something more recent. I’m personally interested in the 3ds max and C4D plugins which you are developing inhouse, though I expect it could be perceived as unfair if they were offered to all users and other plugins were not. Just a thought, perhaps you could consider the Octane approach of licensing additional plugins to support third party development.

  6. I don’t know, I voted for SaaS but the box+subscription option sounds mightily interesting (99 euros/year for upgrades? Gimme!) The only reason why I’d prefer SaaS at this point would be to be able to tinker with Corona at home… Of course as a Lightwave user, all this depends on whether or not you’ll release a plug-in for us too 🙂

    1. Yes. That is the main advantage of SaaS ability hop to different places using one license.
      To lightwave, well we are in touch with other 3d application makers and we are collecting some data to determine which platform will be the next one. So you never know…

  7. I see a big disadvantage in SaaS version.
    If tomorrow Ondra will decide to became a farmer or sailor and to live without computers, internet and other civilization shit…
    With box version the user will stay with something. With SaaS version the user will need to became a farmer too… What about this?

    1. That is kind of extreme view, but in reality you could be able to say this about any other render plugin, as cores were and sometimes still are developed by one person. That is the naked truth 🙂
      On the other hand we are no longer a one man company and we have plans to grow. Ondra is no longer only person working on the core. We have two for now and both of them are very capable. We plan to grow and take more people on board to make company work as well oiled machine.
      Also if something like that would happen, that we will decide to completely abandon sw development of Corona (which is highly unlikely) , we would certainly release free license codes with no time lock for everyone.

    1. You will do well. If you are on box, you will activate your license once, simply by rewriting activation code or transferring one file.
      In case of SaaS this would be the same, but you would have to do it once per month or once per year (if you will decide).

      At the moment we are working on technical execution of licensing and this extreme cases where no internet is available etc.
      This will be in FAQ on our new website.

      1. Excellent…please keep the feature of just moving a file once a month or once a year…knowing I can move my licence without Internet is a dealbreaker really…even when my clients now starting to ask how the h<ll I get that beautiful lighting heheh best renderer since Brazil, easy!!!

  8. Come on, make BOX version floating, node-locked is bad, we rather a dongle with less render node. If BOX is node-locked I think I will stay with Vray, Saas is not cheaper than BOX if we use it for many years

    1. Sorry, but no. Box is a pain in the a** as I have mentioned earlier, so we do not want to give all the advantages to box.
      Yes, SaaS is not cheaper over period of three years at the moment. But do you know what kind of software will you use in three years? Maybe 3dsmax will go bonkers, or corona will turn sour. This FairSaaS gives you flexibility without commitment for the cost of small monthly expenditure.

      1. Renderer is production tool, not a toy, of cause I will use it more than 3 years if I buy it. Changing renderer is always not a easy thing, it means change many things, everyone has his own habits, that’s why no matter how many stunning images you renderer developers post on your sites, vray always keeps the biggest user group in the market, it has the highest flexibility, even if chaosgroup is dead, vray can work very well. You should think about it.

      1. I really appreciating your work guys. I love that render and for me it is the best now. But there are too many options. I’m a painter not a mathematician : )
        Please made A7 free : )

  9. I really love corona render A6-7
    but I really hate this pricing
    You should do 2-3 pricing options I belive…make it for a people… guys

    1. What do you mean by 2-3 pricing? There are two prices already. One for FairSaaS where you pay per month, so it is not too expensive and second is for box version where you will pay once…
      We doing this fore people, that’s why we came up with FairSaaS option and that’s why we started discussions on our blog and forum regarding pricing.

  10. Hi guys and thanks for this great renderer ! I use Blender for 3D, with Cycles or Yafaray for rendering and I have some questions:
    What about pricing for Blender version ? Why not to keep a free version with less features ? Is the Blender plugin will still developped ? Thanks guys 🙂

  11. With all do respect, why would you want to make money off a render node?

    Maybe its too late to consider, but wouldn’t it be better to have one universal price and unlimited number of nodes?

  12. Hi, I would like to know:
    1) box license with subscription = is it can get the free upgrade of version 2.0 & 3.0. I just need to renew the subscription is it?
    2) box license with subscription can use for multiple PC is it? Example, I using vray license with dongle. I can use it at any PC I like?

    Thank you!

      1. I wish to use it flexible.Can I install in computer A, while I wish to use computer B, I will uninstall computer A and reinstall at computer B? Is this ok? If not, do you have any idea to solve it? Because sometime i using at home or office.

  13. Hi! What about button ”Render region” in CoronaFB (rectangle,material,object) ?
    I think many people wait this very usefull option. And what about YouTube channel? It will be awesome if a new featers of new releases appeared on the channel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *