Review: V-Ray 2.0
It comes complete with V-Ray RT and a host of new features, but will version 2.0 win over 3ds Max users?
Price: £840 / $1,350 / €970 (upgrade from 1.5: £339 / $550 / €400) | Developer: Chaos Group | Platform: Windows
The long wait for V-Ray 2.0 is over. We have to admit that our expectations of what new features this version would include and how strong the build was going to be were quite high, but Chaos Group has astounded us once again.
The V-Ray 2.0 build is very strong, and we haven’t found any major glitches – always a big concern when you’re in the middle of a project and are tempted to upgrade your software.
Some of the new features are focused on making your life easier during production tasks, which we’ve found
First up is the V-Ray bucket pass. Using distributed rendering is a day-to-day activity, and when a node stops working or causes problems with the render, it’s sometimes a real challenge to find the computer causing the issues.
With the DRBucket pass, you now know which computer has rendered a particular bucket and can quickly fix the problem.
The V-Ray frame buffer has undergone modifications to make it more user-friendly and interactive. The new render history enables you to save images and compare them in the frame buffer; and if you’re working on stereoscopic images, you can activate or deactivate this view.
Then there’s exposure control. If you like to use 3ds Max’s cameras or do a quick test from a viewport, now you can control the same settings with a V-Ray camera – even the white balance.
This is very useful, especially if you’re using the RT version and need to modify a specific material or light, and want a closer look at the objects without the hassle of creating additional cameras specially for the task.
V-Ray 2.0 includes new materials for creating superior surfaces and textures
On the material side, the new VRayDistanceTex material and the Dispersion property have already become essential to our workflow.
VRayDistanceTex gives you the option of controlling interaction between objects. You can use it for many different purposes: some as simple as adding a few contact shadows, and others more complicated, such as excluding objects from VRayFur or displacement, or even making variations on size, height and density based on the distance between objects.
Dispersion adds realism and interest to your glass materials, and can also be used in conjunction with caustics. But if you just want simple glass, the only thing you need to do is deactivate it on the material.
Compared to a basic glass material render (top), the Dispersion property (bottom) adds interest and realism
You’ll also find VRayCarPaintMtl, which gives your car renders a great look, adding flakes and real colour variation to the material. It’s straightforward to use, too.
VRayMultiSubTex enables you to have different maps assigned to different objects’ ID within one material.
This means you can control the material properties of a group of objects at once, where you just need to change the diffuse material.
It saves a fair amount of time when you want to add variations for big groups of objects, for example.
This upgrade also brings enhancements to the V-Ray lights, starting with the option to control light direction and dispersion.
With this, a light plane can easily become a spotlight. For people who use the light lister, you now have a specific V-Ray one without any scripts or plug-ins.
A major improvement for us is the light selection pass, which gives you the ability to save separate passes for specific lights in your scene. You can select single lights or groups, and also control the multiplier on the pass without affecting the intensity on the beauty pass.
The new lens effects work well, but you must implement them via the frame buffer
In the previous version of V-Ray, you could use VRayEnvironmentFog with just one gizmo. Now you can use more than one, and blend them to generate different effects.
There are also two lens effects in 2.0: bloom and glare. They work nicely and add great touches to your image. You can control the size, shape and camera parameters separately, and both effects can be rendered in the image or as render elements.
The only restriction is that you need to use the V-Ray frame buffer in order to have the element pass: we miss the option of having just the effect on a black background, which gave us more control over the effects in postproduction.
Finally in terms of effects, V-RayLensAnalysis helps you to reproduce real camera distortions.
There are typically two areas where the process for producing stereoscopic images is slow and time-consuming: the set-up and, in cases where you’re using render solutions such as the Irradiance map, the calculation time.
This is where the V-Ray stereoscopic rigs come in handy, giving you the chance to do the calculations just
once and making the camera set-up easier.
The rigs are a work in progress, in our view, but you can expect a revision soon.
CPU and GPU options
Real-time is the future of rendering, and having the option of working with either your CPU or your GPU is a great advantage.
Support for GPU-based renders means much faster results, as long as your card has sufficient memory for the scene
The GPU render was two or three times faster than the CPU render on the scenes we tried, but you need a
powerful graphics card to manage big scenes – memory is still a major issue on the GPU.
If you’re planning to get a new computer or upgrade your equipment, set aside a substantial part of your budget for the graphics card: using the GPU render is a great way to work on your scenes.
One of the big advantages of the V-Ray GPU render is that it’s not limited to CUDA acceleration, which means that if you have a graphics card other than an Nvidia you can still use RT GPU on your computer.
However at this point, VRayCarPaintMtl and VRayBlendMtl aren’t supported on the GPU version.
V-Ray 2.0 is a must-have update. The list of new features and improvements is impressive and, most importantly, it’s fully working and stable, so you don’t have to worry about major bugs if you update during production time.
A strong build bursting with features, this V-Ray update doesn’t disappoint
• V-Ray proxies render faster
• Glass dispersion adds realism
• V-Ray GPU is fully integrated
• Improved frame buffer
• Stereoscopic options
• GPU needs lots of graphics card memory on big scenes
• Lens effects don’t render as single elements
By Gustavo Capote
Gus is art director and studio manager for Neoscape’s UK studio
on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 5:13 pm under Applications, Reviews.
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Tags: Chaos Group, review, V-Ray, v-ray rt