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Review: V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max

By Toni Bratincevic

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Date Added: 11th March 2014


Hair rendering is one of the most complex situations to solve when using raytracing render engines since it includes many thin strands of hair, requiring many samples to get satisfying and noise free results. With old image sampling methods, like V-Ray Adaptive subdivision sampler, resolving noise in hair could have led to very long render times.

To solve these problems, the Adaptive DMC sampler was a much better and faster choice, and with hair shading optimizations and faster raytracing in V-Ray 3.0, hair rendering speed is noticeably improved, sometimes delivering renders 3 times faster than the 2.4 version.

In V-Ray 2.4, the subsurface shader was limited to a screen space density estimation of subsurface samples, which sometimes led to unstable subsurface solutions manifesting as flickering. V-Ray 3.0, however, addresses these issues and lets users decide between 3 different ways of calculating subsurface effect.

The old method is still there, but 2 new methods have been introduced. The first one is a fully-raytraced SSS effect, which produces the best result you can get but takes longer to render. Since it is bruteforce, there is no prepass and the solution can't be saved for reuse, but this bruteforce method is becoming extremely popular – even in high-end production – because of very predictable results.

The object method is based on a fixed number of samples and is not camera-view dependent as the prepass method is, which means as objects moves away from the camera it will keep the same number of samples, and therefore reducing flickering in many situations.

Managing data when using V-Ray distributed rendering can sometimes lead to unexpected results and problems like missing textures, unresolved paths and so on, but with V-Ray 3.0 these issues are completely resolved by allowing nodes in the distributed rendering network to collect all the data needed for rendering locally. In local networks with relatively slow speeds, this can lead to some speed improvements because some files are copied and stored locally instead on the network.

Users interested in V-Ray RT will also get interesting improvements like support for instancing, motion blur, and render elements on GPU. As the number of supported features in V-Ray RT expands, RT is becoming a viable solution, even for final frame rendering.

Although there are a lot of new features in V-Ray 3.0, most of them are evolutionary steps over the 2.4 version, which was already a great render engine. The new version is not only focused on advanced users with features like Deep images, OSL and so on, but also cares about new users by simplifying the user interface and allowing them to adapt to the new render engine very fast.

As expected, Chaos Group has done an amazing job again, but it's up to users in the end to decide if it is an update worth upgrading to. I know for sure that the progressive image sampler alone has made my workflow much faster, efficient and more fun, and considering how many free upgrades V-Ray version 2 got from the 2.0 to 2.4 version, I am sure 3.0 will be a great investment for many of us.


Release date:
Available now!
Price: V-Ray 2.0 upgrades start at $420 US/€300 EUR and the full workstation license price is $1,040 US/€750 EU. As upgrade bundle prices vary, customers should contact their local reseller, Chaos Group representative, or use the upgrade calculator to see what option fits best.

V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max – Ray Traced SSS

V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max – Ray Traced SSS

Related links:

Visit the official V-Ray 3.0 website
Learn more about V-Ray licensing
Try V-Ray 3.0 for free
Check out Chaos Group TV for free demos and videos
Visit Toni Bratincevic's website
To see more by Toni Bratincevic, check out Digital Art Masters: Volume 8
Digital Art Masters: Volume 9
and Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection

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