Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with the V-Ray light, part of V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max Essential Training.
- The V-Ray specific light that we will look at in this video is arguably the most versatile of them all, and so, it's probably the one we will find ourselves working with on the majority of V-Ray lighting jobs that we undertake. This would be the V-Ray Light. To help demonstrate some of its features we have our test scene here, which if I just hit Render currently produces nothing but reflections, so no lighting at all. When working with V-Ray Lights in our scenes we will probably want to make good use of a lighting tool that should be pretty familiar to 3ds Max users.
This, if I open up the Tools Menu, is the V-Ray Light Lister. This has exactly the same interface as the standard 3ds Max version only here we actually see a listing of any V-Ray lights that we have set up in our scene, which of course is not the case with Max's own version of the Light Lister. The brilliant thing about this is that we now have quick and easy access to all of the most used parameters on our V-Ray lights. Of course for anything to show up in the Lister, we will need to add a V-Ray light to the scene. So, let's minimize this for now and come to the Light Creation section of the Command Panel where we will need to access the V-Ray option from the drop-down and then click to select the V-Ray Light button.
What we want to do is create a key light for our scene so let's switch Max over to a four view using the Alt and W keys and then in the Top View draw out a rectangle light just in front of our lead car, remembering of course to right-click and end the creation process once we are done. We can very quickly lift this light up off the ground and then do a little move and rotate positioning of it, checking all the while in the Camera View that we have light showing up on our lead car here. If we need to, we can jump into the Modify tab and re-size our light, bearing in mind the fact that the V-Ray light is a genuine area light type and so a bigger light size will translate into higher light intensities and softer shadow edges.
One big tip for newer users, do avoid the temptation to scale your light using the Scale tool because although this will give you a working light at the size you want, you will notice if I just select the Scale tool and do that that the length and width parameters in the light controls don't actually update, which when working in scenes that may require accurate or specifically-sized light objects would definitely be a bad thing. Scaling also fails to update light levels in our 3ds Max Viewport, whereas when we use the actual size parameters, we do get an accurate representation of light energy levels in there.
Now, if we take a render at this moment in time, we should see a couple of interesting things. First of all, we clearly are getting light in our scene, but we do also see this big black obstruction in the render, which of course is our light object sitting in the Camera View. Now typically in 3ds Max, we would solve this problem by coming to the Object Properties for the item and simply uncheck the Visible to Camera option. This isn't available for V-Ray lights, however, which isn't actually a problem as Chaos Group have provided a visibility switch in the Light Controls themselves.
Putting a check in the box and then re-rendering shows that we have easily cleared up that particular problem. The nice thing here is that this switch doesn't affect the light's ability to show up in reflections. If we did want to cut those out also, we would need to uncheck the Affect reflections option, which if I do and then region render this front bumper or fender, we can see works as advertised. As I prefer the reflections on though, let's just re-enable that option. To control the all-important brightness and color parameters of the V-Ray light, we need to come to the Intensity section of the Light Controls where we have a Multiply Value that is set by default to work with generic units, although we can of course access the unit's drop-down and choose to work instead with real-world lighting units such as lumens.
Color is controlled on the V-Ray light by means of the Mode drop-down. With the Mode set to the default color option, we get to click on the color swatch and set the color of our light using RGB or HSV 0 to 255 values, although alternatively, we can switch over to the Temperature option and set Light Color based on a specific Kelvin color temperature value, which can come in really handy when we need to recreate some very specific real-world light sources. We also, these days, have the option to make our V-Ray light work as a Targeted system by means of the Targeted checkbox.
Enabling this gives us the ability to quickly and easily point our light source in any direction that we want. We can even animate either the light or its target in order to get some really cool animated lighting effects. So far in our scene then, we have added a single key light that is being used to mainly illuminate our front or lead car. What we want to do next is take a look at how we go about adding some fill light to the scene whilst at the same time exploring more of the functionality available in the V-Ray light type.
- 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.