This page discusses render channels in general, with links to pages for more details.
Render Channels 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 channels are also sometimes known as render passes or render elements.
Render channels 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 channels are generated at render time based on the user's selection before rendering. Most render channels 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 some common uses and any additional notes on their generation and usage.
The list of render channels that are supported by V-Ray can be found on the
||out Network|| > V-Ray Render Elements node > V-Ray > Render Channel