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 This is a legacy documentation space! Please refer to V-Ray Next for 3ds Max for most up-to-date information.

This page gives information on the Light Select Render Element. 


Page Contents



The Light Select Render Element represents the lighting contribution from a list of selected lights. It can output their direct contribution (in Raw, Diffuse, Specular or normal Illumination mode) or their Full effect on the scene illumination (including GI, SSS, reflection, refraction, etc). Multiple VRayLightSelect elements can be rendered for a single scene, and lights may be included in more than one VRayLightSelect element. However a good practice is to have one Light Select element for each light source in your scene. This way specific lights in the resulting render can be adjusted (color, temperature, brightness, etc.) while compositing without the need of re-render.

For example, by generating a Light Select element for all of the backlights in a scene, an artist may adjust the backlighting of the rendered scene easily in the composite without affecting the rest of the scene's illumination.




UI Path: ||Render Setup window|| > Render Elements tab > Add button > VRayLightSelect


This render element is enabled through the Render Elements tab of the Render Setup window in 3ds Max and displays its parameters in a rollout at the bottom of the window:


Lights – A list of lights included in the VRayLightSelect Render Element.

Add – Adds a light to the VRayLightSelect Render Element.

Remove – Removes a light from the VRayLightSelect Render Element.

Type – Specifies how the list of lights works from the following:

Include – Includes the listed lights in the render channel.
– Excludes the listed lights in the render channel.

VrayVFB – When enabled, the render element appears in the V-Ray Virtual Frame Buffer.

deep output – Specifies whether to include this render element in deep images.

Color mapping – Applies the color mapping options specified in the Color mapping rollout of the V-Ray tab in the Render Setup window to this render element. This option is enabled by default.

Multiplier – Sets the overall intensity of the render element, where 1.0 is the standard multiplier.

Mode – Sets what type of lighting contribution is generated in the element as follows:

Direct illumination – Lighting within the VRayLightSelect element behaves as normal and contains diffuse and specular information.
Direct raw – Lighting within the VRayLightSelect element behaves as a raw render element.
Direct diffuse – Lights within the VRayLightSelect element output only their diffuse contribution and contain no specular information.
Direct specular – Lights within the VRayLightSelect element output only their specular contribution and contain no diffuse information.
Full – Lights within the VRayLightSelect element provide full output for all information available in the scene such as GI, SSS, reflection, refraction, etc.


Common Use: Changing Lighting in Composite

Below is an example of how to use the Light Select Render Element in a composite.

For this example, each light is assigned two VRayLightSelect render elements: The first element's mode is set to Direct diffuse, and the second element's mode is set to Direct specular. This gives a finer degree of control to allow separate tuning of each light's diffuse and specular contributions. In addition, two of the lights were rendered with a third element with the mode set to Full.

The images below use 4 lights. These are two Plane lights with a Light Softbox Map (lights #1 and #2), a softbox Plane light with no specular contribution (light #3), and a Dome light.

For Light #3, although the diffuse contribution is low, it is essential to the overall lighting of the scene in this example. This light has no specular contribution, so the Light Select specular element would render as black. 

VRayLightSelect Render Examples



Light Select Dome Light Diffuse element 


Light Select Dome Light Specular element






Light Select Dome Light in Full Mode


Light Select Light #1 in Full Mode




Light Select Light #1 Diffuse element


Light Select Light #1 Specular element
(specular contribution is minimal)




Light Select Light #2 Diffuse element

Light Select Light #2 Specular element
(specular contribution is minimal)




Light #3 (no Specular contribution) Diffuse element


Combined Light Select Diffuse elements
(Same result as VRayLighting Render Element)






Combined Light Select Specular elements


Combined Light Select Diffuse and Specular elements
(Diffuse and specular contributions from all lights)



Beauty element prior to changes


Warmed and increased intensity of Dome light
and warmed Plane light


Cooler Light #1 Diffuse contribution
and warmer Specular contribution



Compositing Equation

The following diagram shows the compositing formula to recreate all the scene Lighting from light sources when each light in the scene is accounted for in exactly one VRayLightSelect render element in Diffuse mode.




The diagram above illustrates that the sum of all VRayLightSelect Render Element set to Direct diffuse mode represents the VRayLighting render element which can be used in the Back to Beauty composite. For the above equation to work correctly, all enabled lights need to be accounted for exactly once in the VRayLightSelect render elements. This happens by either specifying each light in a separate element, or combining them in a practical manner in several elements and avoiding repetitions.

Generally, the output from all scene lights in the various modes of VRayLightSelect can be composed as follows:

  • The sum of all lights' output from VRayLightSelect render elements set to Direct diffuse mode composes the VRayLighting render element. It must be noted that VRayAlSurfaceMtl with sss_mix value other than the default 0, doesn't fit this equation.
  • The sum of all lights' output from VRayLightSelect render elements set to Direct raw mode composes the VRayRawLighting render element when GI is disabled and there are no dome lights in use.
  • The sum of all lights' output from VRayLightSelect render elements set to Direct specular mode composes the VRaySpecular render element.
  • The sum of all lights' output from VRayLightSelect render elements set to Direct illumination mode replaces the sum of VRayLighting and VRaySpecular render elements in the Back to Beauty composite.
  • The sum of all lights' output from VRayLightSelect render elements set to Full mode composes the Beauty pass. This is only true when the environment is black and no environment override is used, and when there are no self-illuminating materials (because they can't be added as contributing light sources in the VRayLightSelect render element). Also, caustics are not included in the calculation of VRayLightSelect Render Element.



  • If the VRayLightSelect element mode is set to Direct illumination, the specular contribution is added to the render element. While this is perfect for simple compositing, a better workflow is for each light to be selected for two VRayLightSelect Render Elements, one with its mode set to Direct diffuse and another with its mode set to Direct specular. In this way, the specular and diffuse lighting can both be controlled independently at a composite level.

  • There is no contribution from VRayAmbientLight in the output from VRayLightSelect render elelement in Raw, Specular and Diffuse modes.