This page provides a step-by-step introduction to using V-Ray for Rhino, from the perspective of an AEC user.
This tutorial covers the basic workflow of rendering an Architectural scene with V-Ray for Rhino. It will explain V-Ray's tools and provide steps to take a scene through to a complete production render.
To follow this tutorial, you will need to have the V-Ray for Rhino plugin installed. This tutorial is a companion to go along with the QuickStart video posted on our YouTube channel and available here:
To download the files used in this tutorial, please click on the button below. The main building was made by Matúš Nedecký from https://flyingarchitecture.com.
You can right-click the download button and choose "Save Link As..." or "Save target as... " depending on your browser. This will bring up a dialog to save the zip file without having to wait for the Preview mode to load.
Open the Example Scene
Begin by launching Rhino. Open the project file Building.3dm, which can be downloaded from the Tutorial Assets section above.
Set V-Ray as Current Render Engine
Navigate to the Render menu, and under Current Renderer choose V-Ray for Rhino.
Once V-Ray is selected, the V-Ray Toolbar may appear as a floating toolbar. Feel free to dock this toolbar anywhere in the UI.
These toolbars provide easy access to V-Ray features:
- V-Ray for Rhino Toolbar – The main toolbar which includes buttons for the Asset Editor, Rendering, and the V-Ray Frame Buffer (VFB) which displays renders.
- V-Ray Lights – The lighting toolbar which allows you to create and place a variety of V-Ray lights in the scene.
- V-Ray Objects – The geometry toolbar which creates objects specific to V-Ray such as an Infinite Ground Plane, Proxies, Clipper plane, and V-Ray Fur.
- V-Ray Extra – The toolbar which features additional tools such as Guess Lens Shift and Batch Render.
Click on the Asset Editor button on the toolbar to open the V-Ray Asset Editor.
The Asset Editor has four sections for managing V-Ray settings and scene objects which can be accessed by the tabs at the top of the editor:
- Materials editor – Allows you to preview and edit materials. The Material List tab displays all materials in the scene. The Quick Settings tab allows you to edit the currently selected material.
- Lights editor – Manages the lights in the scene. A V-Ray Sunlight is provided by default.
- Geometry editor – Lists any V-Ray specific geometry in the scene, such as V-Ray Fur.
- Settings section – Provides a multitude of settings for rendering the scene.
Asset Editor (Materials Editor view)
Additionally, the Asset Editor provides a Render button and VFB button, similar to the V-Ray Toolbar.
Adjust Lighting with Interactive Rendering
Interactive Rendering allows you to view a rendered version of your scene, and it will automatically update as adjustments to the scene are made. To start an Interactive Render, navigate to the Settings section of the V-Ray Asset Editor and enable the Interactive option. Next, click the Render with V-Ray Interactive button.
The VFB will launch and start to render. The render will become clearer over time.
The scene needs work with the illumination. Navigate to the Settings tab and expand the Environment rollout.
Select the texture swatch for the Environment and change the type to Sky.
Enable the Sun, set the Size Multiplier to 5 to soften the shadows, change the Ground Albedo to a light blue (215, 237, 255) for a more natural-looking color. Observe the update in the Frame Buffer.
When the Environment texture is used, the Interactive Render becomes over-bright. To fix this, expand the Camera rollout and change the Exposure Value to 15.
Now that we can see the scene in the rendering, we are ready to work with the Sun. Under the Panels menu, select the Sun menu and dock it to the side.
Activate Manual Control in the Sun Options. This allows control of the Sun Position as well as the time of day. For this tutorial, the Azimuth is set to 140.0° and the Altitude is 60.0°. This might seem over-bright now, but it will look nice with materials applied.
Creating and Editing Materials
Go to the Materials section of the Asset Editor. We can create new materials by selecting Add Material, and choosing Generic.
Rename the Generic material by double-clicking it in the Material List. For this tutorial, we will name this material Masses. Materials can also be edited by right-clicking to expose a number of other options.
In the Quick Settings tab we have the ability to quickly switch between material types. For this material, choose Plastic and change both the Diffuse and Reflection color to a very light gray.
Assign the Masses material by right-clicking the material name. Navigate to Assign Material to Layer and choose the Masses layer. The Interactive render will update with the material assignment.
Create another Generic material and rename it to Trees. In its Quick Settings simply change the Diffuse to a slightly lighter gray and apply this material to the Trees layer.
Click the left fly-out of the Asset Editor to open the Material Library.
Navigate to the Ground category. Select Asphalt_A02_100cm and drag it into the Material List.
Right-click the Asphalt_A02_100cm material and assign the material to the Roads layer.
The tiling for the texture is too small for our scene scale. Go into the Quick Settings and select the Diffuse Map of the Asphalt.
In the UVW section, change the U and V Repeat values to 50. Select Back to return to Quick Settings.
Repeat the same scaling adjustment for the Bump Map. The scaling now looks more natural.
Now you'll choose a concrete map. In the Material Library, navigate to the Concrete Category. Choose Concrete_Simple_A01_2m and drag it to the Material List.
Apply Concrete_Simple_A01_2m to the Floors layer.
Back in the Concrete Category, choose Concrete_Simple_F01_2m for the foundations. Drag this material into the Material List and apply it to the Foundations layer.
For the building windows, navigate to the Glass Category and drag Glass_Tinted_Black into the Material List. Apply it to the Windows layer.
From the Metal Category, drag Steel_Blurry into the Material List. Apply it to the Steel layer.
Now with the material application complete, we can focus on making a final render.
Setting up the Final Render
Navigate to the Render Settings tab.
Under the Camera rollout, enable Depth of Field.
To get a stylized render, turn up the Defocus amount to 0.8. The Interactive Render will look very blurry.
To fix the blurriness, use the Pick Focal Point tool and select the main building in the scene viewport with the altered cursor. Be sure to select a point on the geometry. The render will now be in focus.
Focus Distance changes from 200 to around 7900.
To set a custom resolution, open the Render Output section. Change the Aspect Ratio to Custom and change the Aspect Width to 0.8.
Change the Image Height to 600 in order to fit the tall building nicely in the render.
Changing the resolution will require a restart of the Interactive Renderer.
In order to enhance the image with some atmosphere, expand the Environment section. Enable Aerial Perspective.
The default settings are rather strong, so for this tutorial we will go for something more subtle. Change the Sun to the Rhino Document Sun for the proper illumination.
Next, we will increase the Visibility Range to 85,000 to knock down the thickness of the particles in the air.
Disable Affect Background to allow our current background to be seen. Now we have a very subtle atmosphere affecting our image.
Now we are ready to render. Click the Stop button on the V-Ray frame buffer.
Under the Renderer section, disable Interactive, as well as Progressive. With Progressive disabled, V-Ray will render with buckets.
If you have network rendering enabled, go ahead and enable Swarm, located at the bottom of the Render Settings window.
Change the render Quality to High, and start a final production render.
After the render finishes, or even while the render is still going, we can use powerful post-production tools built into the Frame Buffer. At the bottom-left of the Frame Buffer, select the Show Corrections Control button. This exposes a fly-out on the right side of the render.
Although the illumination in the scene is pretty good, it can be adjusted a little. Enable Exposure and change the value to 0.36. To correct any bright hot-spots, change the Highlight Burn value to around 0.8.
In order to warm the scene a little, enable White Balance. Set this value to around 7000.
To slightly tint the shadows, enable Color Balance and select Shadows. For this scene, we will adjust Red and Blue to 0.03.
Finally, to add contrast, enable Curve and select the end points to adjust their curve values.
Here is the final adjusted render.