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Overview


It is possible to run V-Ray from an arbitrary location, rather than installing it locally.

  1. Run the regular V-Ray installer, but prefix the "Program Files" folder with some temporary directory for all four paths. This gives you a folder that contains everything that V-Ray puts in both the 3ds Max folders and its own Program Files folders.
  2. Copy that temporary folder to some network location (preferably one that also indicates the V-Ray version and/or build number and the 3ds Max version).
  3. Uninstall V-Ray and remove any files that remain after the uninstallation.
  4. In the temporary folder, create a plugin.ini file with the absolute paths to the V-Ray plugins:

    plugin.ini
    [Directories]
    VRay=\\server\share\vray_adv_31501_max2015_x64.25566\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2015\plugins\
    vrayplugins=\\server\share\vray_adv_31501_max2015_x64.25566\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2015\plugins\vrayplugins\
  5. In the temporary folder, create a .bat file that contains environment variables that are needed by V-Ray and runs 3ds Max with the custom plugin.ini file:

    run_max.bat
    SET PATH=%~dp0Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2015;%~dp0Program Files\Chaos Group\V-Ray\RT for 3ds Max 2015 for x64\bin;%PATH%
    SET VRAY30_RT_FOR_3DSMAX2015_MAIN_x64=%~dp0Program Files\Chaos Group\V-Ray\RT for 3ds Max 2015 for x64\bin
    SET VRAY30_RT_FOR_3DSMAX2015_PLUGINS_x64=%~dp0Program Files\Chaos Group\V-Ray\RT for 3ds Max 2015 for x64\bin\plugins
    SET VRAY_OSL_PATH_3DSMAX2015_x64=%~dp0Program Files\Chaos Group\V-Ray\3dsmax 2015 for x64\opensl
    
    "C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2015\3dsmax.exe" -p %~dp0\plugin.ini
  6. In the temporary folder, create a .bat file that contains environment variables that are needed by V-Ray and runs V-Ray spawner with the custom plugin.ini file:

    run_vrayspawner.bat
    SET PATH=%~dp0Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2015;%~dp0Program Files\Chaos Group\V-Ray\RT for 3ds Max 2015 for x64\bin;%PATH%
    SET VRAY30_RT_FOR_3DSMAX2015_MAIN_x64=%~dp0Program Files\Chaos Group\V-Ray\RT for 3ds Max 2015 for x64\bin
    SET VRAY30_RT_FOR_3DSMAX2015_PLUGINS_x64=%~dp0Program Files\Chaos Group\V-Ray\RT for 3ds Max 2015 for x64\bin\plugins
    SET VRAY_OSL_PATH_3DSMAX2015_x64=%~dp0Program Files\Chaos Group\V-Ray\3dsmax 2015 for x64\opensl
    
    vrayspawner2015.exe -AppName="C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2015\3dsmax.exe" -cmdparams="-p %~dp0\plugin.ini"
  7. Use the specified .bat files to run 3ds Max or V-Ray spawner with the specific V-Ray version.

 

Limitations


This approach will work well for render servers where V-Ray is used only for rendering. However it has a few limitations when 3ds Max is used in interactive mode, related to the fact that some 3ds Max paths cannot be controlled; these limitations can be avoided by expanding the .bat file above to copy some additional files from the network location to the local 3ds Max user folder:

  • MaxScripts provided by V-Ray will not be available (V-Ray scene converter, Bitmap to VRayHDRI converter and others). They must be copied to the "scripts\startup" folder of 3ds Max to make them available.

  • "Realistic" view of V-Ray materials and maps in the Nitrous viewport will not be available and attempting to use this mode may lead to crashes. To make the "Realistic" view work, the viewport shaders must be copied to the relevant 3ds Max folder ("NVIDIA" for 3ds Max 2015, "AMG" for 3ds Max 2016).

  • Icons for the V-Ray toolbar will be missing and some buttons may not work properly. To make the icons appear they must be copied to the 3ds Max "UI_In" folders, and the V-Ray MaxScripts copied to the "scripts\startup" folder.

  • The .vrmat editor will not be available. To make it work, additional files need to be copied to the 3ds Max "python" folder.

  • V-Ray OSL shaders does not work when started from a network location. OSL shaders will only work if run_max.bat (or run_vrayspawner.bat) is started from network or local drive. In order to use V-Ray OSL, the shared folder should be mapped as a network drive.