In this tutorial we will discuss the rendering of refractive surface interfaces with V-Ray.

Refraction Layer (Glass Materials)

Refraction is the phenomenon of light going under the surface of an object and the ray get bent inside producing, in this case, the glass material.

In V-Ray for Rhino we can create a glass material by adding a refraction layer. Usually the refraction layer is below the Diffuse layer and the diffuse layer blocks the effect of the Refraction layer. In order to be able to see the refraction effect, we have to use transparency in the diffuse layer. 

How to create a Basic Glass material:

  • Add a reflection layer
  • Add a refraction layer
  • Change the diffuse layer transparency color to 100% white

To add a Refraction layer:

  • Right click over the material name
  • Select create Layer
  • Select Refraction layer



If you use a gray-scale color in the diffuse transparency slot, you will make the diffuse layer semi-transparency. Therefore, you will be able to see the diffuse color at some grade.

If you remove the refraction layer to a glass material, you can create fake Architectural glass with only Reflection layer. Because the material does not have the refraction layer the calculation for this material is faster. You can use this material in a simple plane to simulate glass windows.

Example: Realistic Glass vs. Architectural Glass

Real Glass Material

Refraction layer on

Fake Architectural Glass

No Refraction layer