V-Ray 5 gives great renders and is getting better

Jul 30, 2020 at 10:00 am by Warlord720

I have always had an "almost there" relationship with V-Ray over the years. When I was fulltime freelancing my main contracts were to 3DS Max shops, so V-Ray was always in the mix. Trouble was… rendering was not the task I was assigned to. I mainly created props, both static and animated along with other journeyman tasks.

For many years I was so close to V-Ray… yet so far away it was frustrating. I would see the renders from work and dream about putting together amazing scenes. At the time I wasn’t provided a steady V-Ray seat because it wasn’t relative to my duties.  You can bet your last dollar that I still managed to squeeze in some V-Ray renders via trials and available studio seats that weren’t in use at any given moment.

Finally, many years later I got to work with V-Ray enough to get a handle on it. Don’t get me wrong, V-Ray is easy to use and gets great results. Get some experience under your belt with the lighting and other nuances of a good scene the renders get even better. While I didn’t spend my entire career with V-Ray, I came to love it all the same.

VRay5V-Ray 5 Interior Scene Render

Since retiring I have let my V-Ray skills slide but when I got the opportunity to try out Version 5 I jumped on the chance. While I might not be as up to date as I once was, I still had a great time with the renderer and had no problem getting back into it.

The first thing I did was grab a V-Ray scene from a 3D website. As it had been a while since I’ve used it I wanted to make sure nothing had changed or that I wasn’t screwing something up by creating a new scene without testing the renderer on a proven scene.

It was an old interior scene that has been around for years and it looked great on the initial render. Before the render, I removed all lighting that was wasn’t V-Ray and replaced it with just enough ambient light to view the scene in the Max workspace. This made it easier to see how the scene was lit for V-Ray versus scanline.

With very little effort I was able to manipulate the lighting of the scene since it relied on only a dozen or so V-Ray lights. This is so much better than tracking down dozens if not hundreds of light sources when you are making changes.

After that, I tracked down an automotive-based scene to see how that type of render fared. I’m wasn’t looking for the typical metallic car paint finish but rather the more subtle, almost plastic tones since just about any renderer can do decent metallic paint.

VRay 5V-Ray 5 Simple Automotive Render Example

I was not disappointed in the final render and it reminded me why I loved working in V-Ray and sought out every opportunity to do so. Subtle little changes like light angle or intensity can produce amazing but unique renders within the same setup.

In this initial foray in version 5, I found V-Ray to still be one of the top third-party renderers in its niche with the eye-popping results we come to expect from Chaos Group.  In terms of overall look and realism, it’s another step in the journey to better photo-realism without having to spend a lot of time on a huge learning curve. 3DS Max integration is smooth, quick and produces reliable results making this a very capable third-party renderer.

Chaos Group V-Ray Webpage


M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years.  Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website

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