• This lesson will take you through the basics of the V-Ray UI for Maya
  • This lesson topic is approximately 40 minutes in length
  • Lesson covers all 3 Learning Cycles for the Lesson Topic – Lecture, Demonstration, and Activity.
  • Learning Outcomes: You will be able to navigate around the V-Ray additions to the Maya User Interface and know where to find the different options and settings










Goal - This is a short overview of the V-Ray interface. You will learn where to look for different components of V-Ray which in turn will speed up your work in the future.

Objective – We will go through the process of rendering a scene with V-Ray to understand where to find different settings and create V-Ray components.      

Outcome – You will be able to render a scene with V-Ray and know where to find the different V-Ray controls.



Available materials

To set up the lesson, follow the links below and download all available materials:

Lesson plan download
Presentation (Lecture) download
Demonstration tutorial download
Scenes & Assets download




V-Ray connects into the Maya UI in multiple places. It's important to know where to navigate to when looking for something:

  • Plug-in Manager – V-Ray is a plugin for Maya that needs to be Loaded to work within Maya.
  • Render Settings – The core of V-Ray and the place to tweak your output.
  • Create menu – Lights, Cameras, And other special V-Ray components.
  • V-Ray Attributes – Additional settings that can be added to Maya and/or V-Ray objects for more features  
  • V-Ray Shelf – Common V-Ray Tools in one convenient place

1. Maya Plug-in Manager

 а). Load vrayformaya Plug-in to access V-Ray in Maya

It’s recommended to Auto load so this process doesn’t have to be repeated every time Maya launches.




2. Render Settings

 a) Render Settings – Output  
  • Image Output, Render Cameras, Resolution, etc.
    • Common render options that are typical for most Renderers in Maya.
  • Render View
    • Access the V-Ray Virtual Frame Buffer (or VFB)
    • Convert image to sRGB for RenderView important for Linear Workflow






b) VRay tab

  • Production engine – Determines which engine to use for production rendering.
  • Image sampler – See Sampling Training module for more details.
  • Color mapping – See Color Mapping Training module for more details.
  • Render region division
    • Bucket size when rendering with one of the Adaptive sampler types
    • Autoscale regions (advanced setting) will divide buckets at end of render into smaller pieces to complete render faster



c) GI tab

  • GI – Primary and Secondary bounce Engine types. For more information see the GI Training module.

d) Settings tab

  • Default displacement and subdivisions
    • Globally control the quality for displaced and subdivided geometry
  • Distributed rendering
    • Set up multiple machines to render a single image
  • VRay UI
    • Add/Remove the V-Ray shelf
    • Control how to handle Swatches rendering
  • System
    • Advanced settings used for memory management and optimization

e) Overrides tab

  • Camera
    • Override Maya’s default camera to control field of view, depth of field, motion blur etc.
  • Geometry
    • Enable or disable the rendering of different geometry types
  • Lighting
    • Globally control the illumination of the scene


  • Materials
    • Allows you to control different shading features globally
  • Textures
    • Allows you to control different texture features globally
  • Rendering
    • Allows you to override certain aspects of the way a scene is rendered


  • Environment
    • Allows you to override the environment when its directly visible or for GI, Reflections and Refractions
    • Allows you to create the V-Ray Sun and Sky system
  • Volumetrics
    • Allows you to override and control certain aspects of rendering volumetric effects

f) Render Elements tab

  • Elements or Passes (or Arbitrary Output Variables) used to composite renders back together for more control in post processing
  • Can be viewed individually (are rendered) from the Channel selection from the VFB window

More information covered in Render Elements Training module.



g) IPR tab

Real Time rendering replaces Maya IPR

  • Great for look development and setting lights
  • Can be used together with Distributed Rendering for very fast results





3. V-Ray Shelf

  • Quick access to common tools. Allows you to get to many useful tools without having to dig through multiple submenus

4. Quick Settings

A handy way to control the most common aspects of V-Ray and to quickly switch between different GI solutions and quality settings. It is intended to give new V-Ray users the ability to set up scenes without worrying about all the different V-Ray options available in the Render Setup dialog.
  • ArchViz Exterior – Useful for architectural exteriors, without too much bounced light.
  • ArchViz Interior – Useful for architectural interiors where light bounces are important.
  • VFX – Useful for VFX-style scenes which may not need global illumination.
  • Studio Setup – Useful for product design visualizations.

5. Create menu

 a) Lights

  • Access to V-Ray’s physical lights
  • More details can be found in the Lighting Training module



b) V-Ray submenu
  • Additional V-Ray components and Tools can be found here
  • More details found in other V-Ray Training modules




6. V-Ray nodes from the Hypershade

  • Surface - Shaders for objects
  • Volumetric - Fog nodes
  • 2D & 3D Textures - Unique textures that can be used within shading networks
  • Env Textures - VRay Sky
  • Other Textures - VRay Ptex (more details in another module)
  • Lights - Light Shapes
  • Utilities - Additional nodes to help with unique situations


7. Extra V-Ray Attributes

а) Camera Attributes
  • There are several useful V-Ray Attributes that can be added to the Shape node of any camera in Maya
  • The most important is the VRayPhysicalCamera, which allows you to use real-world parameters to set up the virtual CG camera (e.g. F-Stop, lens focal length, etc)






b) Mesh Attributes
  • The V-Ray Additional Attributes can be added to any polygonal object by selecting its shape node and choosing the desired attributes from the Attributes > VRay Menu from the Attribute Editor
  • Currently there are nine different sets of extra attributes that can be added
c) Light, Textures, and more (too many to cover in this presentation)
  • Light – gives standard Maya light more V-Ray (physically accurate) controls
  • Texture – used on standard Maya texture; Texture input gamma useful on File nodes for Linear Workflow
  • Transform – useful for Object IDs on Transform nodes, which can be used with Multimatte Render Elements






8. Lecture Conclusion

a) Plug-in Manager 
Without loading it, there is no V-Ray in Maya

b) Render Settings
Quick or traditional

c) Create menu
Access to almost everything that’s not a render setting

d) V-Ray Attributes
How to get the most out of components in your renders

e) V-Ray Shelf
Common tools right in front of you



Time to see it work!

Watch the demonstration of where to locate the different UI elements for V-Ray in Maya.



Time to do it yourself!

Now it’s your turn!! Use the providescene file to recreate the cinematic look as you have seen me demonstrate.
We have also provided a final scene for your reference.