Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Locating V-Ray tools and features in the UI: Part 1, part of SketchUp Rendering Using V-Ray 2.
- The very first time that we run SketchUp after walking through the V-Ray installation process that is, we won't need to look too far in order to discover the most visible set of V-Ray interface controls that are made available to us. This is because on launch, we should typically get a pair of very obvious floating V-Ray toolbars. These give us quick and easy access to the majority of tools and controls that we will need to make use of on a daily basis while working with the V-Ray engine. If for some reason we don't see these toolbars on launch or if we have closed them down and so we need to reopen them up again, we don't need to worry as all we have to do is come to the View menu and then after opening up the toolbar's dialogue, simply enable the VFS Lights and VFS Main Toolbar options.
In fact, while we're here, let's also set the SketchUp interface to the configuration that I will be using throughout the remainder of this course by turning off the Getting Started toolbar and instead enabling the Large Tool Set option. We can also dock our V-Ray toolbars to the top of the SketchUp UI, which means we are now ready to spend some time becoming familiar with the options that we have available here. Well, the first icon we see on the main toolbar comes in the form of a letter M and indeed, if we hover our mouse cursor over it, we see that we get a tool tip telling us that this button will bring up the V-Ray for SketchUp Material Editor.
And of course if I click that is exactly what happens. Now in chapter 5, we will be coming back to and spending quite a bit of time in this editor but for now we just need to know that this is where we come to when we want to both want to create and edit any V-Ray materials in our scenes. The next icon we see is a letter O, which in this instance is shorthand for Options Editor, which is in fact the dialogue that houses pretty much the vast majority of the tools and controls that we will be working with in this course.
One very cool feature here and one worth being made aware of right from the start is the fact that from this dialogue, we can save, load, reset back to default, etcetera any and all of the options that are found here. Let's say for instance that we need to set up a number of controls for use in a particular rendering scenario. One that we make use of on projects on a fairly regular basis. Well, we can easily go ahead and save that configuration to disc as a specific and reusable preset, meaning we don't have to go through the tedious process of manually setting up those options each and every time we want to make use of them.
And of course we can set up as many unique rendering presets as we like, making this an extremely handy piece of functionality to have available. Now as we look over the controls found in this dialogue, we may find the huge number of options available quite daunting. Especially so if we are brand new to lighting and rendering in SketchUp and V-Ray. The simple truth though is that while V-Ray does offer render artists tons of control over almost every aspect of the rendering process, getting extremely good results from the engine can be achieved by working closely with just a handful of the options that we see here.
Something that we will hopefully be demonstrating as we go through this course. The next option available on the main toolbar is the R for render button. Clicking this initiates a render of the SketchUp scene as we currently see it in the SketchUp Viewport. And indeed if you have used V-Ray and other applications such as 3ds Max or Maya then the frame buffer window that appears will be very familiar to you, given that it is identical in appearance to the version that we see in those applications. Now besides being the mechanism by which we see the renders that we create inside of SketchUp, the V-Ray Frame Buffer or VFB for short is also a set of production tools in it's own right, meaning it is a part of the UI that we will be looking much more closely at a little later on in the course.
As well indeed for the case with the option sitting next to it on the toolbar, which is the button that launches the RT or real time version of the V-Ray engine. The next two options here, Batch Render and Help aren't controls that we will be taking a look at in this course, although obviously it is good for us to know that they are here. In fact, truth to tell, the Help button isn't really as useful as it could be, given that it currently only leads us to a chaos group website support page. What we really need to do if we want to consult the V-Ray for SketchUp help documentation, is go to the docs.chaosgroup.com website.
Okay, with six of the thirteen buttons available on the main V-Ray toolbar covered, let's go ahead and move on to our next exercise where we will take a look at the rest of the options that we have available to us here.
- Locating V-Ray tools and features
- Using the RT Engine
- Creating daylight with V-Ray Sun and Sky
- Using image-based lighting
- Working with irradiance mapping
- Handling perspective correction in the physical camera
- Setting up a depth of field effect
- Creating and applying V-Ray materials
- Using fixed-rate sampling
- Color mapping
- Working with V-Ray proxies