This page gives information on how V-Ray lights illuminate objects in Viewport 2.0.
Versions Prior Maya 2017
In order to preview the viewport lighting in Maya versions prior to 2017, there are two things to be done. Switch to the OpenGL - Legacy rendering engine for Viewport 2.0 and enable Textured view and All lights in the viewport.
To switch to legacy OpenGL for Viewport 2.0, go to Maya's Windows menu > Settings/Preferences > Preferences > Display. Look for the Viewport 2.0 rollout and set Rendering engine to OpenGL - Legacy.
Enable the Textured and All lights options in the viewport.
The Drawing mode requires V-Ray Lights AND V-Ray Materials to work. V-Ray lights won't illuminate native materials. However, native lights will illuminate V-Ray materials.
In Maya versions prior to 2017, V-Ray uses an "old" approach (draw overrides) to draw the shaders, textures and lights in the Maya viewport. This always requires OpenGL, and more precisely – the Legacy OpenGL driver mode.
In Maya versions 2017 and 2018, V-Ray uses a new approach, which allows more things to be done, but requires the new OpenGL Core driver modes. It also supports DirectX in all Maya versions that support it.
More specifically, in version 2017, due to some critical bugs in Maya itself, the new viewport drawing support was disabled. Later, it was fixed in Maya 2018. The old Drawing modes work in version 2017, just as well as in older versions.
To wrap it up, in versions up to 2016.5 there's the "old" support in Viewport 2.0 and the Legacy Default viewport that always requires OpenGL. Maya 2017 is an exception, since we have a new support, albeit disabled, and the old one works just like before. And with Maya 2018, V-Ray supports to a full extent, i.e. everything we could implement by the time V-Ray 3.6 was out, the new drawing methods. They require the new OpenGL Core driver modes, but the Textured view is not required (unless there are textures).
Finally, here are some clarification on Maya's naming convention on OpenGL modes:
- If we take version 2018 as a reference point, there's DirectX, OpenGL - Legacy, OpenGL Core Compatibility and OpenGL Core Strict. It's the same in versions 2017 and 2016.5.
- In version 2016, the OpenGL - Legacy is called OpenGL, there's no compatibility, and the Core Strict mode is called OpenGL Core.
- There's only OpenGL in version 2015, which is namely what in version 2018 is called OpenGL - Legacy.
- All versions support DirectX, but V-Ray only uses it for the new drawing methods, so it works in Maya 2018.
Final line of advice – given there are no other viewport performance concerns, use OpenGL in Maya 2015, OpenGL - Legacy in Maya 2016 through 2017, and OpenGL Compatibility (or Strict) in 2018.
For information on the Viewport 2.0 known limitations, visit the Known Issues and Limitations page.