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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.
One last effect that we want to create before we wrap up our SketchUp Rendering with V-Ray course is a non-photorealistic rendering, or NPR for short. What we'll do is use two V-Ray material types, in tandem as it were, to create a very nice, very stylized NPR setup for ourselves. To do that, of course we're going to need to open up V-Ray's Material Editor, so let's go up to the toolbar and click on the Material Editor icon. In here, you'll see we have one scene material, which is the default gray material currently applied.
Of course, we need to create a couple of materials for ourselves. The first one will be a V-Ray Standard material, so let's right-click on the Scene Materials label, go to Create Material, and select Standard. As is our practice, we are instantly going to go and rename this material. We'll give it a descriptive name. So, right-click, go to Rename Material, and we'll just call this NPR_Base, because this essentially is going to be our base material. The first thing we will do is set up our diffuse coloration, and we're going to use a bitmap for this.
So, let's come up to the Diffuse map slot. We'll click on that to open the Texture Editor, and we'll go and select the TexBitmap node. As we've done a number of times already, we're going to go and add a file into this particular node. Once we click on the swatch, we're going to want to navigate to our Exercise_Files and Texture_Files folder. And as you can see, we have a couple of NPR map types in here. I'm just going to choose this orange version from ourself. And once that's loaded in, we can just click OK. Now, perhaps one word of caution that it is worth sounding here is with regard to the type of base material that we create.
See, we're going to apply this material to every single object in the scene. So, if we create a material that looks as per a real-world surface, then that could be a little bit confusing visually. If we create a material that looks like some kind of metal surface, and then we apply that to scene objects that clearly are not meant to be metallic, that tends to be a little bit confusing visually. Generally speaking, it is much better to stick to map types that really lend themselves to non-photorealistic rendering, in other words, something that doesn't look like a real-world surface.
That's not to say of course that we can't add effects into our base material. We can add reflections and refractions if we feel that will add to the NPR effect. In this instance, I'm just going to use a bump map, so let's put a check in the box and let's go and use the map slot available. We're going to again add a bitmap in here. I'll scroll down to the File slot. Again, we'll need to navigate to our Exercise_ Files > Texture_Files folder, and the map I'm going to choose is this OutsideWall_Bump.
As we don't need to make any changes to the options in here, again, we can go and click OK. Now, of course we need to go and create our second material, so again, go to the Scene Materials label, right-click, Create Material, and this time we're going to use a V-Ray Toon material. Again, as is the custom, we're going to go and rename this, so select, right-click, go to Rename Material. And essentially we're going to use this material to provide our ink lines over the top of our bitmap effect, so let's call this one NPR_Ink, just so that it is nice and descriptive.
Our first step to setting up this material is to of course go and add our base material into the base material slot. Now, when we select our Select Material dialog, in this dropdown we will see a list of all current scene materials. Of course, as we only have two, then that really is not surprising that that's all that's in our list. So, let's choose our NPR_Base and click OK. Now, at this point, we could go and make many changes to the parameters that make up the V-Ray Toon material. But we only need to work with a few of the basic parameters at this moment in time.
For instance, I'm just going to change our line color a little bit. Oftentimes most people prefer to work with a black or very dark gray line material, but I'm just going to go and I'm going to choose a purple material, and then I'm just going to slide that very much towards the black end of the spectrum. So, we've got a really nice dark purple. So let's click OK to that. We're going to alter our Line Width just a little bit. We will increase this value to 1.5. I'm just going to add a little bit into our Distortion parameter, and that pretty much is it.
We could of course experiment with all of the other options available. We would encourage you to do that. And you can see that for many of these parameters, we can actually use other map types to drive them. That is a very powerful feature of the V-Ray Toon material. But as we are complete here, let's close down our Material Editor. Well, actually, we do need to keep the Material Editor here, because what we want to do is just go and select an object in our scene, and then I'm going to use the Ctrl+A keyboard shortcut to make certain that every object in the environment is selected. Then I'm going to come to my NPR_Ink material, right-click, and then apply a material to selection.
And instantly in the SketchUp viewport, you can see that that is exactly what happens. Now we can dismiss the Material Editor, and we can of course take a test render and see how our NPR effect is working. As you can see, our NPR effect is indeed working and looking rather nice. There is detail missing in the scene, however. I know that my bitmap file has texture detail in it. There is visual detail that I am not seeing in my render. At this moment in time, it looks very much as if we have just chosen a solid color, and we're not really seeing anything from our bump map.
Now, this is because there is of course a step that we neglected to take. We haven't set up the UVW mapping scale for our textures. So let's go and do that. Let's choose SketchUp's Paint Bucket tool, which will of course bring up our SketchUp Materials Editor. Let's make certain we're looking at the materials in model. We want to be certain we have our NPR_Ink material chosen, and let's go and edit. In here, you can see currently our UVW scale is set to just 10 inches, which is not enough to bring out the detail in our bitmap.
So, let's set this value to something much higher. I'm going to use 120 inches, which of course is 10 feet. And if you look in the SketchUp viewport, you can see that we now see detail from our bitmap. This is a very easy way to judge whether or not Scale setting is going to work for us. Now let's take another test render and see what kind of an effect that has had. Just that little tweak to the scale then has clearly helped us enhance our NPR effect. We just have a textury feel now to the render that was missing before.
What we're left with of course is a very nice stylized render that can easily be used to show off the qualities of any architectural space, and of course we don't have the distractions of colors and materials in the scene. That really is the power of non-photorealistic rendering.
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