This page gives some basic information about V-Ray in Maya and what areas of Maya are natively supported by the V-Ray renderer.

 

 

Overview


V-Ray for Autodesk® Maya® supports most of the standard geometry primitives as well as some of the basic shaders inside Maya. Note, however, that as opposed to V-Ray for 3ds Max, V-Ray for Maya cannot use the standard Maya shaders, materials, lights etc. Instead, their functionality is emulated by V-Ray specific versions. Therefore, differences in the operation of the standard Maya components and their V-Ray equivalents is possible. In addition, the Hypershade graphs need to be mapped to the V-Ray plugin parameters system.

 

Image courtesy of M. F. Usta, U. Erbas,& M. Kural

 

Geometry


The following geometry types are supported. Note: The list below is not exhaustive:

  • Polygonal surfaces (optionally, these can be rendered as subdivision surfaces)
  • NURBS surfaces (these are tesselated internally by V-Ray)
  • Maya Subdivs surfaces – note that hierarchical edits are only partially supported. V-Ray will call the Maya API to subdivide the original mesh up to the last level that has hierarchical edits. If the required level exceeds 131072 vertices, a lower level will be chosen that has less than 131072 vertices. In the process some of the hierarchical edits may be lost. Creases are not supported.
  • Particles and nParticles – the supported particle render types are:

    - Multipoint
    - Multistreak
    - Points
    - Spheres
    - Sprites
    - Streak

V-Ray will also recognize the per-particle radius, diffuse color, and sprites.

  • Instancer (Replacement)
  • Maya hair
  • Maya Paint effects are partially supported
  • Maya Fluids (but not the fluid textures)
  • V-Ray proxy
  • V-Ray fur
  • Alembic GPU cache
  • XGen is partially supported

All geometry types support motion blur.

The Maya conversion utilities can be used to render some of the other Maya geometry types. For example, paint effects can be converted to polygons and then rendered with V-Ray.

Starting with V-Ray 3.6, setting up a container for VRayEnvironmentFog will only work with the Opacity of the container object set to Black. Disabling primary visibility for the container object is a deprecated method.

 

 

Materials


The following material types are supported:

  • Lambert
  • Blinn
  • Phong
  • Phong Explorer
  • Ramp Shader
  • Layered Shader *
  • Surface shader
  • Use background

For these materials, the supported parameters are:

  • Diffuse color/texture
  • Reflection color/texture
  • Glossiness control
  • Bump mapping
  • Transparency
  • Incandescence

 

* - Both Layered Shaders and Layered Texture modes are treated as Layered Texture (see the Maya reference for more info on those two modes).

 

2D and 3D Textures


The following texture types are supported:

  • Bulge
  • Checker
  • Cloth
  • File (see below for supported bitmap types and additional file name tags)
  • Grid
  • Noise
  • Ramp
  • Granite
  • Leather
  • Marble
  • Rock
  • Snow
  • Layered Texture
  • Volume noise
  • Wood

The following texture types are partially supported (they will be mapped to the same V-Ray noise generator):

  • Fractal
  • Mountain
  • Brownian
  • Cloud
  • Crater
  • Solid Fractal
  • Stucco

 

Utilities


The following Maya utilities are supported:

  • Condition
  • Distance Between
  • Multiply Divide
  • 2d Placement
  • 3d Placement
  • Plus/Minus Average
  • Projection
  • Reverse
  • Sampler info
  • Set range
  • Stencil
  • Vector Product
  • Blend Colors
  • Clamp
  • Contrast
  • Gamma Correct
  • Hsv To Rgb
  • Luminance
  • Surface Luminance
  • Remap Color
  • Remap Hsv
  • Remap Value
  • Rgb To Hsv
  • Switch utilities
  • Particle sampler – the supported outputs are:
    - age
    - lifespanPP
    - acceleration
    - rgbPP
    - incandescencePP
    - opacityPP
    - userScalar1PP to userScalar5PP
    - userVector1PP to userVector5PP
  • Image plane

 

Bitmap Formats


The following bitmap file types are supported:

  • JPG
  • PNG
  • TGA
  • BMP
  • HDR
  • EXR (regular and tiled mip-mapped)
  • SGI
  • PIC
  • TIFF
  • PSD
  • Tiled mip-mapped TIFF files (.tx or .tex)
  • DDS

For tiled mip-mapped textures (.exr and .tx/.tex), V-Ray is able to load only parts of the textures as needed during the rendering. By default, tiled textures use the same memory pool as the dynamic geometry used for displacement, proxies etc. The size of this pool can be controlled through the  Dynamic memory limit parameter in the System tab of the V-Ray render settings. You can also specify a separate memory pool for tiled textures using the  VRAY_TEXTURE_CACHE  environment variable (see the section on Environment variables).

V-Ray also supports a number of tags in the file names, which are expanded at render time. See File Names for Bitmap Textures section for more information.

 

Lights


The following light types are supported:

  • Directional light
  • Point light
  • Spot light
  • Rectangle light

 

 

V-Ray Sun & Sky


The VRaySun and VRaySky are special features which are provided by the V-Ray renderer. Developed to work together, the VRaySun and VRaySky reproduce the real-life Sun and Sky environment of the Earth. Both are coded so that they change their appearance depending on the direction of the VRaySun.

The V-Ray Sun and Sky are based largely on the SIGGRAPH'99 paper "A Practical Analytic Model for Daylight" by A. J. Preetham, Peter Shirley, Brian Smits.

In the VRaySky tab of V-Ray Render Settings Window there are buttons to create the two nodes.

 

Camera Settings


The following Maya camera settings are supported:

  • Environment (background) color - this also determines the GI (skylight) color for GI calculations
  • Angle of view (Field of view)

More V-Ray specific options are available in the Camera tab of V-Ray Render Settings window with separate tabs for DOF and Motion Blur.

Environment colors can be overridden and there is an option to easily assign a 2d texture as an environment texture. A V-Ray environment placement node is created with several mapping types available: angular, cubic, spherical, mirror ball.

 

Animation


The animation settings are in the V-Ray Render Settings window under Image File Output.

Thus a sequence of frames is rendered the same way, only the animation checkbox should be checked and the corresponding start and end frames should be set.

 

Node from plugin


Help on nodes from plugins is available in two areas in V-Ray.

HTML Help

Information on parameters available for each plugin node can be found as HTML files on your local hard disk. These files are included as part of your V-Ray installation, in the PluginDoc folder:

  • Windows: C:\Program Files\Autodesk\MayaNNNN\vray\PluginDoc
  • Linux: /usr/autodesk/mayaNNNN/vray/PluginDoc
  • Mac OS X: /Applications/Autodesk/mayaNNNN/vray/PluginDoc

Where NNNN is your Maya version number, such as 2016.

For example, help on parameters for the BRDFVRayMtl node can be found in the file BRDFVRayMtl.html in this folder. These HTML help files can be viewed in any browser.

 

Command Line Help

Documentation of those plugins can also be accessed using the plgparams tool that also comes with the V-Ray for Maya installation. It is located in the bin folder of your V-Ray installation, under the vray folder (using the paths listed above).

With the command prompt, navigate to the bin folder and run plgparams without arguments to see a list of available switches. In general, you will need to run a series of commands to point plgparams to the plugin folder, locate the V-Ray name of the node (which might differ from its display name in the V-Ray UI), and list the parameters for the plugin.

To point plgparams to the folder where your plugins reside, use this command:

plgparams -plugindir <plugin folder>

This command tells plgparams where to find your plugins. In most installations, this will be in the vrayplugins folder under the vray folder. If running plgparams from the bin folder, the command to set the plugin folder would look similar to the following:

plgparams -plugindir "../vrayplugins"

To see the list of plugin names in this folder, use the following command:

plgparams -plugindir "../vrayplugins" -list

Note that the plugin folder must be specified with the -plugindir switch each time you run the command.

To see help on the parameters for a specific plugin, name the plugin in quotes after the -plugindir switch and folder. For example, to see help on the BRDFVRayMtl plugin, use the command:

plgparams -plugindir "../vrayplugins" "BRDFVRayMtl"

This will list all the parameters for the plugin, and definitions for each.

 

 

XGen Support


V-Ray 3.0 supports XGen in Maya 2015 and later. See the XGen and V-Ray 3 in Maya 2015 and newer section for more information.

V-Ray also supports textures for interactive groom splines in Maya 2017.

 

Rendering Tools and Utilities


The following standalone rendering tools and utilities come packaged with V-Ray for Maya. For a full list of tools and utilities that come with V-Ray, see the Additional V-Ray Tools page.

  • V-Ray Image to EXR Converter - This is both a command-line utility and a simple GUI application that can be used to convert .vrimg image files to .exr files in OpenEXR format.
  • Standalone Denoise Tool - This is a command-line utility that can be used to denoise still images or animations outside of Maya.  This can be especially useful for animated sequences because the standalone tool can look at multiple frames at once and produce a better denoising result.