Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Using VRmats, part of V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max Essential Training.
- One V-Ray tool that has been available in V-Ray for SketchUp and V-Ray for Rhino for quite some time, but is only now with V-Ray 3.0, making its debut in V-Ray for 3ds Max is the .vrmat material type, previously referred to in those applications as vismats. The fact that these material types have been around for quite some time, means that there is already quite a collection of user-created content available online, outside, that is, of the considerable library that has been made available to registered users of V-Ray on the Choas Group website.
One brilliant thing about this format is the fact that creating and editing them is pretty much the same no matter which content creation application we are using. In our start scene then, let's first of all demonstrate how easy it is to apply an already-created vismat material to some of the objects on our shelves here. From our V-Ray toolbar, let's left-click and hold on the VRmat button so that we can choose the VRmat material from file option from the flyout. This opens up a dialogue that allows us to locate and then open any VRmat files we have access to.
And it just so happens that we have one already prepared in the "Exercise_Files\sceneassets\images\VRMATs" folder. This, having been created from the champagne glass material that we created earlier in this chapter. As soon as we click on that, it loads into its own slate editor tab, meaning we can now go ahead and apply it to objects just like any other V-Ray material. Now whilst that process won't feel too different for V-Ray and 3ds Max users, things do change quite considerably when it comes time to edit a VRmat file.
This is because these have their own dedicated V-Ray material editor. The same material editor, in fact, that can be found in V-Ray for SketchUp and V-Ray for Rhino. At the material level, things don't look too bad. There's the material parameters, and even their general layout, identical to those found in the V-Ray material itself. Things do get a little scarier though, once we start to delve into the map slots as the VRmat format makes use of its own V-Ray procedural map types. Now whilst we won't in this course, be delving into how these and, indeed, the V-Ray material editor itself work, you could quickly pick up everything you need to know by checking out either my "SketchUp Rendering Using V-Ray" course or author Dave Schultze's "Rendering Fundamentals with Rhino & V-Ray" both of which will show you how to work with these systems, and both of which can be found here on lynda.com.
To show how good these VRmats can be in a plug-and-play situation, let's apply our loaded VRmat file to the champagne glass geometry that we have in the scene. If we then go ahead and take a render... what we get looks and indeed is identical to the glass material created earlier in the chapter. To create a VRmat from scratch, as it were, we could either make use of the new tools in the V-Ray material editor itself again, as demonstrated in my V-Ray for SketchUp course, or we could make use of a utility provided by Chaos Group, and convert our scene's existing V-Ray materials to the VRmat format.
Let's say, for instance, that I wanted to package up the wood material on our shelves here. Well if we take a look at that in the material editor, we quickly see that there may be a problem, as this isn't of course, just a straightforward V-Ray material. What has, in fact, been created using 3ds Max material editor nodes. Now the bitmap being used for the diffused color here isn't a problem, as on creation of a VRmat file, any bitmap used in the original material get copied into a VRmat folder.
What we won't get however, is the effect of the two color correct nodes, as these are 3ds Max-specific elements. To keep the material looking as it is then, we would need to use a little bit of Max functionality and create two new bitmaps for ourselves. To do this, let's right-click on our bump color correct map, and choose the "Render Map" command from the pop-up menu. As I know that the diffuse map that we have been using here has a resolution of 1024 by 1024, we can set those same dimensions in the "Width" and "Height" options, and then set an output path for the render map.
One that points to our "Exercise_Files\images" folder. We can then give the map a name, so "VRMat_Shelf_Bump". And then once everything is settled just as we wanted, we can go ahead and hit the "Render" button. We will then, of course, want to do the same for our diffuse map, calling this "VRMat_Shelf_Diffuse", and then of course, rendering it to the same folder in our project structure.
What we can do then is grab a bitmap loader and start to add the maps that we have just created to our shelf material, repeating the process so that in the end, we have both the diffuse and bump maps applied. Once done, we are ready to turn this material into a VRmat of our own, which can then be used for sharing and-or archiving. To do that, all we need to do is come to the "Tools" menu, and open up the ".vrmat converter" tool that we find there. In this instance, I want to simply pick and convert a material from our scene, so let's choose that option, and then find the shelves material in our scene material list.
We can then select it and save a copy to our "images\VRMATs" folder. If I now open up the "VRMATs" folder, you can see that we do indeed have a newly created "Shelves" folder, and of course inside of that, we have our .vrmat file. This is the material definition that holds information such as reflection values, refraction values, and so on. We also of course, have the diffuse and bump bitmap nodes that we created just a moment or two ago. VRMats then, are a very welcome addition to our suite of V-Ray tools, opening up as they do, a whole world of cross-application material sharing and archiving.
- Using the new UI elements, Quick Settings, and revamped Frame Buffer
- Understanding color mapping modes
- Adding V-Ray light types
- Working with the V-Ray Sun and Sky systems and dome light
- Using irradiance mapping and light cache
- Working with diffuse color maps
- Making reflective materials
- Creating a translucency effect
- Using the new SSS and skin shaders
- Ensuring quality with image sampling
- Working with the adaptive subdivision engine
- Controlling the physical camera
- Working with FX tools such as VRayFur and VRayMetaball
- Stereoscopic 3D rendering
- Using Render Mask
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 02/02/2016. What changed?
A: We added tutorials on the new 3ds Max camera tool, which replaces the defunct V-Ray Physical Camera. The author also includes a method for creating a V-Ray camera via scripting.
Q: This course was updated on 04/19/2018. What changed?
A: New videos were added that cover V-Ray 3.1 to 3.3 updates.