Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video The V-Ray Sun and Sky system, part of V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max Essential Training.
- When it comes to creating environments lit by what we might refer to as, "natural daylight," V-Ray and 3ds Max have a number of very high quality tools that can help us accomplish that goal. Two of which would be the V-Ray Sun Light type, and the V-Ray Sky high dynamic range environment map. In our start scene, as it currently stands, we have no lighting set up whatsoever. In fact, if I go ahead and take a render, you can see that what we currently get is a completely black return. Even 3ds Max's default lights have been disabled. This is so that as soon as we add some daylight controls to the scene, we will be able to quickly evaluate the quality of lighting that we are getting from them.
Now it is worth noting here that unlike the mental ray Sun Light object, the V-Ray Sun is able to be created as a standalone light type. One that can be added from the V-Ray Light Creation section of the Command panel. In this particular scene, however, rather than creating Sun and Sky lighting separately, we want to create a complete Daylighting system. One that makes use of V-Ray's specific tools. First of all then, let's use the Alt and W keyboard shortcut to jump to 3dsd Max's four viewport setup, and then, middle mouse pan, and scroll in the top viewport, so that we're nicely centered on the circular building that is the main focus of our camera view.
What we can do now is come across to the Command panel, to the System section, and then click to select the Daylight system option. To add one of these to the scene, all we need do is, in the top viewport, left mouse click and drag from around about the center of our circular building, and then interactively set the size of the Daylight system's compass rose. Something around about the size of the building itself should serve nicely. Once we release the left mouse button, we can continue to drag in order to set an orbital scale.
Now, whatever value we choose to make use of here won't, in any way, effect illumination in the scene, so long, that is, as we set the daylight assembly head to be above ground level. Once we are happy with the positioning, we can left mouse click again to lock the settings into place. A final right click will exit creation mode for the tool. With the daylight assembly head selected, let's come across to the Command panel where the first lighting option we will want to set up is the Sunlight source. Now if you have set V-Ray to be your default render engine, by means of 3ds Max's custom UI and default switcher, then these options should already be set up so as to make use of the V-Ray specific tools that we will now set up manually.
From the Sunlight drop down then, let's choose the V-Ray Sun option. And straight away we should get a dialogue asking us a very important question. Namely, would we like to automatically add a V-RaySky environment map? If we're wanting to create a complete Daylight system using V-Ray tools, in terms, that is, of both Sun and Sky light, then we're definitely going to want to say Yes to this question. This is important because if we come into the Skylight drop down here, we immediately see that there is no V-RaySky option.
This is because the V-RaySky environment map that we have just created is now the Skylight for the scene. The final thing I want to do here is finalize the position of our Sun, which I am, in this instance, going to do manually. So let's switch over to the Manual option in the Command panel controls, and then, using the Move tool, maneuver the Sun into a position that I know works well for this scene. Now because the V-Ray Sun and Sky are designed to add real world levels of illumination, and because we are rendering in this scene using a standard 3ds Max camera, with no built in exposure control, you will see, if I go ahead and take a render here, that we are currently getting an image that looks a little like a nuclear explosion in progress.
Things get even worse when we realize that, at this moment in time, we are actually only getting half illumination from our Daylight system. This is because the V-Ray Sky is a GI based environment light, and so we would need to turn on our GI systems in order to get light from it. In fact, let's go ahead and do that, by coming into the GI tab in the Render Setup dialogue, and then putting a check in the Enable GI option. For speed's sake, let's access the Irradiance map roll-out, set the settings preset to Low, and then take another render.
And, as you can see, we have only made our exposure problems worse. Meaning, we need to move on to our next exercise, and take a look at V-Ray's global Exposure tool.
- 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.