This page discusses render elements in general, with links to sub-groups of render elements.


Section Contents

 Page Contents


Render Elements are a way to break out renders into their component parts such as diffuse color, reflections, shadows, mattes, etc. This gives fine control over the final image when using compositing or image editing applications to re-assemble the component elements. Render elements are also sometimes known as render passes.

Render elements appear in the V-Ray Frame Buffer (VFB) and can be viewed from the drop-down at the upper left corner of the VFB. They can also be saved out of the VFB as many common file formats.

Render elements are generated at render time based on the user's selection before rendering. Most render elements have parameters that can be customized to further assist the composting process. These parameters are described on each render element's individual page, along with common uses and any notes on their generation and usage.

V-Ray supports the built-in Maya Render Elements User Interface. However, V-Ray provides its own render elements and does not support the standard render elements implemented in Maya. Therefore standard Maya render elements will not work with V-Ray, and vice-versa.


The list of render elements that are supported by V-Ray can be found on the List of Supported Render Elements page. All render elements support native V-Ray materials. Some render elements also support standard Maya materials, and these are noted on the Supported Render Elements page as well.


When using the V-Ray frame buffer, V-Ray will write render elements only if you specify either one of the V-Ray raw image file outputs or the Separate render channels options. If you want to specify the render elements outputs using the Maya Render Output field or using the output options of the various render elements, then you have to disable the V-Ray frame buffer.

User Interface


UI Path:

||Display Render Settings button|| > Render Elements tab


Render (menu) > Render Settings...





To use render elements, select from the Available render elements column and click the Add button to add the passes you wish to generate at render time. When you render the scene, the added render elements listed in the column on the right, will also render, which can be viewed from the VFB window's channel drop-down menu.

For more information on the parameters on this dialog, see the Render Elements tab page.


Render Elements Sub-groups

Render Elements in V-Ray break down into four major groups: 


Beauty Render Elements

The Beauty Render Elements are the primary render elements that form V-Ray's
pre-composited final render pass known as Beauty or RGB Color. These include the
Lighting, Global Illumination, Reflection, Refraction, Specular, etc.



Matte Render Elements


The Matte Render Elements aid selection masking in the compositing process.
These include the Material IDMulti Matte, Object ID, and Render ID Render Elements.



Geometry Render Elements


The Geometry Render Elements rely on geometry to generate geometry data for the compositing
process. These include the Velocity, Z-Depth, and Normals Render Elements.



Utility Render Elements


The Utility Render Elements give insight into how V-Ray is running and extra functionality for compositing.
These include the Distributed Render ID, Sample Rate, Denoiser, Extra texture, etc.



  • V-Ray always anti-aliases with respect to the RGB Color channel. Therefore, other channels may appear jagged or noisy in areas where V-Ray has placed fewer samples.
  • Render elements will render in Distributed Rendering mode.
  • Render elements require additional storage when rendering and thus increase the amount of RAM used during rendering. When rendering to the V-Ray VFB, you can reduce this by rendering directly to a .vrimg file on disk and not storing the final image in memory.
  • Render elements may slow down the final image rendering a little bit, depending on the number of elements that are selected. They have no effect on GI/reflection, etc. calculations.