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Modern 3D applications and render engines are often employed as virtual photography studios these days, so it is fitting that V-Ray offers us an extremely photographic approach to rendering in the form of the V-Ray Physical Camera. Now because the V-Ray Physical Camera adheres very closely to the workings of real-world cameras, familiarity with the controls of either a film or a digital camera can help us greatly when it comes to working with the V-Ray Physical Camera, and of course creating our final renders.
If it is that we're unfamiliar with the use of cameras, I would highly recommend watching Ben Long's excellent Foundations of Photography series here on the lynda.com online training library. Pretty much everything covered in those courses can be transferred over to the V-Ray Physical Camera. For this video though, we're just going to spend a few minutes, really getting a quick overview of some of the controls available on the V-Ray Physical Camera. To access those controls, of course we need to open up our Options dialog and then we can come into the Camera rollout.
Here, as you can see, we have quite a number of options for controlling the camera in V-Ray. The majority all of our physical camera controls are housed in this CameraPhysical grouping, although if we look down below, you can see that we do have Depth of Field, Bokeh Effects, and Motion Blur, each with their own control groups. The first option we see is a simple On/Off toggle. This means we can work with a V-Ray physical camera, which is on by default inside of V-Ray SketchUp, or we can indeed just treat this as a standard 3D application camera if that is what we want.
Down below, you can see we have the ability to set the type of camera that we want to work with: we have Still, Movie, or Video available. If you just keep your eye on the Shutter and Latency controls below as I cycle through these particular options, you'll see that these open up different sets of controls to us. Really, we just need to choose the type of camera that we want to work with. If we have a need to match a particular film type or the effects of a particular shutter type in a camera type, then these options can be very handy indeed.
Another two options that can allow us to match up existing footage are the Override Focal Length and Specify Film Width controls, each of them titled in a very self-explanatory way. Of course, our Zoom Factor tool also has a very descriptive title. This really allows us to create an offset from our current SketchUp viewport. If we increase the parameter, if we increase the value in here, we will get an increased level of zoom in our final renders. Of course, this will not affect your SketchUp viewport.
It is only a render-time effect. Because we're working in a physical camera setting, we'd expect to have to work with Exposure controls just as we do on a real-world camera, and the V-Ray Physical Camera is no different. We have three parameters: the F Number or F- Stop value, the film speed or ISO control, and of course our shutter speed with which to work. As well as controlling exposure, we do have to remember that two of these controls--namely the Shutter Speed and the F-Stop value--do control other elements of our rendered images; specifically the F-stop or F Number will control the Depth of Field effect and our Shutter Speed would handle any motion blur that we wanted to add into the scene.
Now we say that these three controls will handle exposure inside the V-Ray Physical Camera. That is if this particular option is checked, the Exposure control. Again, we can disable this if we want to, and now all of these three settings will have no effect on our image's overall brightness at all. Another affect that we can burn into our final renders if we so desire is the Vignetting effect, that darkening around the edges of our images that we oftentimes see in camera lenses.
A common digital camera control is this White Balance option. This really gives us the ability to set which color inside of our render is to be considered as white. We do need to note that only the color hue is taken into consideration. The brightness of a color is completely ignored in this setting. Now our Lens Shift control is something that we're going to look at in another video, so we're just going to jump over this particular option for this moment and have a look at the Distortion control. This again, as the name suggests, allows us to build distortion into our final rendered images.
Positive values will give us Barrel Distortion; negative values give us Pillow Distortion. As you can see then, the V-Ray Physical Camera offers a genuinely photographic approach to rendering in V-Ray and offers lots of control over the process. Having the ability to take real-world camera and lighting experience and apply it to a 3D rendering package has obvious benefits to it. Anything we learn in real life, even if we're working with just a modest digital camera, can be taken and applied to our rendering engine.
And of course, anything we learn inside V-Ray can be taken out into the real-world and applied it to our photography, which is not about exchange of information at all.
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