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Create highly realistic 3D architectural drawings with V-Ray, a popular third-party renderer for SketchUp. This course shows how to take a single scene with interior/exterior elements and add lights, move cameras, and enhance objects with translucent and reflective surfaces. Author Brian Bradley explains concepts like irradiance mapping, perspective correction, and fixed rate sampling, while showing how to leverage each of the V-Ray tools and its material and lighting types to achieve specific effects.
In this video, we are going to start working with our V-Ray Standard Material by focusing initially on creating just the diffuse, or color, properties for the floor geometry in our scene. The steps we use for this one material of course can be applied to creating the diffuse properties for all of our scene materials. Up to this point in time, all the geometry we have in model has had a default gray V-Ray Standard Material applied to it. In fact, if we come up to our V-Ray toolbar and click on the Material Editor icon, you can see we have a single material in our Materials List.
And if we come and select this, you can see it is indeed a V-Ray Standard Material. The Diffuse, or Color, properties for this material type of course is being handled by this set of controls housed in the Diffuse rollout. As this is a V-Ray Standard Material, we could of course edit this particular material and apply it to our floor geometry. But as I always like to have a default gray material in my Materials List, that's not what we're going to do. Instead, we're going to create a new material and build from scratch.
Now, of course we could do this from right here inside the V-Ray Material Editor, but what if we are a SketchUp user who likes to make use of the default materials that come with SketchUp? Maybe we've even built up a material library of our own SketchUp materials over a period of time. Well, if that is a case, then we can just quickly demonstrate a very nice feature of the V-Ray for SketchUp engine for you. To do this, I first of all just want to close our V-Ray Material Editor and then come across to our toolbar and click on the Paint Bucket tool.
This of course opens up SketchUp's Material Browser for us. In here, we of course have a wide range of default SketchUp materials that can be used to paint our models, only these aren't just SketchUp materials when we are rendering with V-Ray. To show you what I mean, let's go to one of the Materials sections. Let's go, for instance, into our Stone section, and just click one of the bitmap files, and then using the Paint Bucket tool, let's just left-mouse-click to apply that material to our floor geometry.
As you would expect, that is instantly applied. It shows up in our viewport, all set at the correct UV mapping scale. So, nothing surprising there. What we might not have expected though is what has happened behind the scenes. If we just close our Material Browser and again open up V-Ray's Material Editor, you can see, not only has our SketchUp material been added to the Materials List, but it has been created as a V-Ray Standard material with the bitmap file plugged into the Diffuse channel. Of course no other material properties such as Bump or Reflectivity have been set up, but if we are happy to use SketchUp's default materials or materials from our own SketchUp Material Library, I'm sure you'll agree that this makes a very nice way to jump- start the creation of a realistic material that is ready to be rendered with V-Ray.
Now unfortunately, this is not the material that we want to create for our floor geometry, so I am just going to go and select our default gray material and once again paint-bucket-apply that to our floor geometry. Now we can go and select our SketchUp material in the list, right-click, and just simply use the Remove Material option, which we can say Yes to. With that cleared out, we are now ready to go and create a new V-Ray Standard Material that can be applied to our floor. So, with the Scene Materials label selected, let's right-click, come to the Create Material option, and from the flyout, let's choose a Standard Material.
Keeping up our good workflow practices, we instantly want to rename this material. So again, let's left-mouse click to select it, then right-click, and come and use the Rename Material option. I am just going to give this a nice descriptive name, such as Wood Floor. And once that updates, we are now ready to go and set up the Diffuse properties for this material. In this instance, we want to add our own custom bitmap. To do that, we can come up to the Diffuse rollout and just click on the Map button next to the Diffuse color swatch.
As we are wanting to work with an image file for our Diffuse component, we need to add the TexBitmap node in here. This of course gives us a set of control parameters that will allow us to load and control the bitmap file for use as a diffuse texture. We do of course need to add an image file in here, so let's scroll down to the file slot. Let's click on the button, and we will be taken to our Exercise_Files and Texture_Files folder, if, that is, we have set up our options as per our introduction videos.
If you haven't, then just navigate to your Exercise_Files and you will find the Texture_Files folder in there. Once in there, we can just go and select this WoodFloor_Diffuse.jpeg file. Now, of course, we could just accept all of these defaults, click OK, and our Diffuse component would be set up. But I just want to use the controls in our texture editor to make a little bit of a tweak to our bitmap file. I want to darken down the midtones just a little bit. To do that, I first of all need to set my color_space value to 1.
This means I can now use this Gamma option to control the midtones in my bitmap. As I want to darken my bitmap, I of course need to go below this default value of 1. In fact, I am going to set a value of 0.5 in here. Now, we can click OK, and with our Paint Bucket tool and our Wood Floor material both still selected, we can just go and apply that material inside the SketchUp viewport. Instantly of course, we can tell that we have a Diffuse color component at work for us. The problem is I'm not actually seeing the detail that I know should exist inside of this particular bitmap file.
This is because SketchUp doesn't know at what size this particular bitmap is meant to be interpreted. It doesn't know what scale the UV mapping is meant to be. To set that up, we of course need to come back into SketchUp's Material Browser, so once again, click on the Paint Bucket tool. Let's come and make certain that we are looking at our in-model materials and make certain that our Wood Floor material is selected. Then of course we can come into the Edit tab and make some alterations. Now, you can see by default, SketchUp has given us a UV scale of 10 inches, which is clearly not enough for this particular bitmap.
In fact, I know that I need a value of 7 feet entered in here. We could of course just enter that value straight in, or we can indeed give SketchUp the value in inches, which I know is 84, and let it do the conversion. As you can see, we get a 7 foot by 7 foot UV scale. And straightaway inside of our SketchUp viewport, you can see things are now looking much more realistic. It's time then to take a test render and see how the Diffuse component of our material is looking.
As you can see, our Diffuse component is working very nicely indeed. In fact, we are getting some very nice and very natural color bleed coming from the obviously color properties of the bitmap file, courtesy of V-Ray's GI systems. Do keep in mind that the settings inside of this scene file are really designed to give us fast feedback from our test renders, so our GI settings and our Image Sampler settings are both quite low at this moment in time, so we could definitely improve the quality of our render if we increase the quality settings in both of those systems.
Before we leave material creation behind for this particular video, I just want to add one extra component to my material in the form of a bump map. Now, a bump map is a grayscale image that the render engine can use to simulate the appearance of depth, or bump, in a material. Often times a texture artist, when working on the diffuse component of a material, particularly if they are working with bitmaps, will also add the bump map in. This is typically because the two images will share the same source file.
This means with the UV Mapping scale set up to apply our diffuse texture, it is a very easy matter to go and create and add a bump map also. To do that, let's go up to our Material Editor and open that up for ourselves. Then we just need to scroll down in our Wood Floor material until we come to the Map slot. Of course, do make certain that you have your Wood Floor material selected. If you have one of the other materials selected, you may be adding the map in the wrong slot. In here, you can see we have the option for a Bump map, so let's put a check in the box to enable that, and then go and add our image.
To do that, we click on the Map button. In the Texture Editor, we want to add our TexBitmap node, and again, we want to go and browse for our file. Once we are inside of our Texture_Files folder-- and of course again, if you are not automatically taken there, you can go to Exercise_Files > Texture_Files--and in here, you will see we do have a WoodFloor_Bump map, that we could use. This particular material, this particular map, is a little bit noisy for my taste. It adds a little bit too much information into the final render.
I'm instead going to work with this WoodFloor_Disp, or displacement map. This is just a little bit more useful in this instance as a bump map. So, let's click to select that, select OK, and then there is one final tweak. I just want to dial the strength of this bump map down a little bit, so I am going to set a value of 0.2 in the Bump multiplier. And that really is everything we want to cover in this particular video. So, with our Diffuse color properties taken care of now, we can actually move on to adding perhaps a little bit more realism into our material.
We can do this by showing you how to add reflection controls to your V-Ray Standard material.
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