"Buddhist temple complex in Japan" 3Ds Max & Corona Rendering Tutorial

17 july 2023 year

About me

Hello, community!

My name is Aleksey Karetin, I'm a computer graphics Artist from Ukraine with more than 10 years of experience.

By the education, I'm a computer interior and furniture designer. However, for the last 7 years, I have been working exclusively in the archiviz industry, where I make visualizations of interiors and exteriors.


Today, I'm excited to share with you the making of one of my latest creative works, titled "Buddhist Temple Complex in Japan." This project allowed me to explore the rich cultural heritage and architectural beauty of Japan's temple complexes.

I must admit that writing is not my primary expertise, but I'm eager to share my process and insights with you. So please bear with me if there are any discrepancies in the information provided.

Let's dive into the fascinating journey of bringing this Buddhist temple complex to life through computer graphics and design.

Buddhist temple complex in Japan 3Ds Max & Corona Rendering Tutorial

About the Project

This project holds a special place for me as it is not a commercial endeavor. Inspired by the captivating photos of Japanese monasteries I stumbled upon online, I embarked on a journey to recreate the essence and atmosphere of these intriguing and mystical places. Although I have never had the opportunity to visit them in person, their natural beauty and unique ambiance deeply resonated with me.

The primary goal of this project was to achieve a fully computer-generated representation, also known as FullCG. However, I must acknowledge that post-production retouching played an important role in enhancing the final result. Through careful editing and refinement, I aimed to bring out the true essence and beauty of the Buddhist temple complex.

Join me as I share the creative process and techniques employed in bringing this virtual sanctuary to life, capturing the spirit of Japanese monasteries in every detail.


Buddhist temple complex in Japan 3Ds Max & Corona Rendering Tutorial

Software Used

3DS Max 20, ArchiCAD, Corona Renderer 7, Forest Pack, Phoenix FD, TyFlow, Quixel Megascans, and Adobe Photoshop.

3D Modeling

To ensure the authenticity and coherence of the Buddhist temple complex, I began by searching for 3D models of buildings that aligned with the desired theme. It was crucial to find structures that not only looked visually appealing but also suited the location in terms of their design and functionality. That's when I came across the Kitbash Japan collection, which offered a wide range of suitable models.

While the collection provided most of the necessary elements for the project, I realized that I needed to create a long fence to complete the composition. Fortunately, modeling the fence was a straightforward task. Using the available tools in my 3D software, I crafted a fence that complemented the architectural style and added an additional layer of detail to the environment.

Kitbash Japan collection

3D models

modeling the fence

After obtaining the 3D building models from the Kitbash Japan collection, I noticed that they lacked textures. To bring these models to life, I utilized the vast library of Quixel Megascans materials. With these high-quality textures, I meticulously applied them to the buildings, enhancing their visual appeal and realism.

Moving on to the terrain, I wanted to create a serene and picturesque setting for the temple complex. The concept involved placing the buildings on a hill amidst lush wooded mountains. To achieve this, I started by creating a basic terrain using the Edit poly and Populate Terrain commands.

By carefully manipulating the terrain, I crafted a hill with a medium grid density, providing a solid foundation for the placement of the buildings. This allowed me to establish the desired topography and create a harmonious integration between the structures and the surrounding environment.

manipulating the terrain

placement of the buildings

Making of Materials

In this project, I predominantly utilized Quixel Megascans materials to bring authenticity and realism to the scene. While I didn't create any new materials from scratch, I employed various techniques to enhance their complexity and visual appeal.

One approach I employed was the use of CoronaLayeredMtl, a powerful material blending tool. By leveraging black-and-white maps, I combined multiple materials to create intricate and detailed surfaces. This allowed me to achieve a more realistic representation of materials such as stone, wood, and foliage, adding depth and richness to the scene.

Here are a few examples of the materials I incorporated:


Quixel Megascans materials

combined multiple materials


In this project, I used all the greenery from the Maxtree Collection (trees, bushes, and plants). Basically, it was two collections, MT_PM_21 and MT_PM_56. A few plants were from the MT_PM_85. I planted forest and small plants using the Forest Pack

Maxtree Collection

MT_PM_21 and MT_PM_56

Lighting of scene

In terms of lighting, I kept it simple and focused on utilizing HDRI maps to create a natural and realistic illumination for the scene. I incorporated two HDRI maps from the Noemotion collection, each serving a specific purpose.

The first HDRI map was used as the primary light source, providing the overall lighting and ambiance to the scene. It was carefully selected to match the desired mood and atmosphere of the Buddhist temple complex. By positioning the HDRI map in a way that mimicked the sun's position and intensity, I achieved realistic shadows and highlights that enhanced the three-dimensional quality of the scene.

The second HDRI map was employed to display the sky in the background, ensuring a cohesive and visually pleasing environment. This HDRI map contributed to the overall sky illumination and helped create a seamless integration between the temple complex and its surroundings.

I purposely refrained from adding any additional artificial light sources to the scene to maintain a natural and harmonious lighting setup. By relying solely on the HDRI maps, I was able to achieve balanced and atmospheric lighting that complemented the architectural details and materials of the temple complex.

Here are my lighting settings:

Lighting of scene Corona Render

HDRI Lighting of scene Corona Render

Modeling of clouds

To achieve the desired atmospheric perspective and create a realistic sense of depth in the scene, I employed the CoronaVolumeMTL material for the cloud geometry. This material allowed me to simulate the appearance of volumetric clouds and add a sense of distance between the foreground and the mountains with the forest in the background.

To create the cloud geometry, I followed a tutorial provided by Chaos Corona, specifically focusing on their tutorial on creating clouds with the CoronaVolumeMTL material. By utilizing the Paint Deform tool available on the Ribbon tab, I manipulated the geosphere geometry to achieve the desired cloud shape and form.

To further enhance the cloud geometry, I applied the Displace modifier and utilized a Noise Map. This combination allowed me to add intricate details and variations to the cloud shape, giving it a more realistic and organic appearance.

Displace modifier

Noise Map

cloud geometry

The post-production phase

During the post-production phase, I primarily focused on color correction and color balance adjustments to refine the overall visual aesthetics of the scene. By fine-tuning the colors, I aimed to enhance the mood and atmosphere of the Buddhist temple complex.

Additionally, I incorporated 2D cutouts of people and small PNG fogs to further enhance the sense of scale, depth, and ambiance within the scene. These elements added a touch of realism and brought life to the overall composition.

Please refer to the attached GIF to witness the post-production journey and the evolution of the scene.

The post-production phase


Thank you for investing your time in reading my article. I sincerely hope that you found it both enjoyable and valuable. If you have any feedback or questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. I appreciate your support and look forward to providing more helpful content in the future.


About the author

Bardhyl Morina

Aleksey Karetin

Awarded CG Artist

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