Service Pack 2 for V-Ray for SketchUp
Chaos Group has added some major new components for users of their popular V-Ray for SketchUp rendering tool, as part of an upgrade called Service Pack 2 or SP2 for short.
What is V-Ray for SketchUp?
V-Ray is a rendering tool that “plugs in” to SketchUp, so that the models you have built in SketchUp may be rendered to look realistic. SketchUp’s built-in rendering is fast and simple and looks “sketched up” and some SketchUp users want the photorealism that comes with higher end rendering tools for 3D programs such as 3ds Max and Maya. To do this in SketchUp, Chaos Group adds several tools to SketchUp: Lights – simulating light sources with light objects that can be placed in the scene. Materials – the material designer in SketchUp can not sufficiently describe the photo-real properties of chrome, car paint, glass, and other complex materials, so Chaos Group constructed an independent material building tool. Rendering controls – V-Ray has many variables for controlling how the rendering looks, often trading off quality for computational time. Some renders can take minutes or even hours if there is a lot of reflected light and complex materials to be rendered at a large render size.
(Figure 1 – Material Apply)
What has Chaos Group added with this new and free Service Pack 2?
The primary new additions are V-Ray Express, animation rendering options, a “pack” option, Frame Buffer options, and new tutorials.
Users can easily access more than 200 materials and interchangeable lighting setups with this new feature.
How do I load a V-Ray Express material?
This is made very easy by the inclusion of SketchUp simple materials with the same name. So, as you can see in figure 1, simply change the material set to the type of material you wish to apply, then assign it to the surfaces you wish to see. The ones that are V-Ray specific have the prefix “VfS.”
When you render with V-Ray, all the V-Ray material attributes will work. And when you go to the V-Ray Material Editor, you will see all the attributes available for adjustment (figure 2).
(Figure 2 – V-Ray Material Editor)
Note that the texture maps are stored in:
C:\ProgramData\ASGVIS\V-Ray Express\Sketchup\V-Ray Textures
While the material definitions are located in:
C:\Program Files (x86)\SketchUp\SketchUp 2014\Materials
How do I choose a V-Ray Express lighting rig?
Bring up Window/Components. In this list if you click the pull-down by the “home” icon you will see Favorites/V-Ray Components. This will list HDRI, Studio Lighting and Studios. The HDRI and Studio lighting options (figures 3 and 4) are stock scenes to light your models. The Studios (fig 5) are a set of “sweep” type geometry, similar to a photographers studio, and useful for creating a shadow-catching “white room” render without having distant environment corners that appear as hard edges.
(Figure 3 – HDRI)
(Figure 4 – Lights)
(Figure 5 – Studios)
You can now render individual frames or ranges of frames, e.g.: 5, 100-110, 200, 352. See figure 6 for how this option appears in the render setup dialog.
(Figure 6 – Frame Render)
The pack tool will help you to make sure when you move your SketchUp scenes you are bringing all the necessary external files in addition to the .SKP scene file. This option is located under Plugins/V-Ray/Pack Scene. You will be prompted to name the .zip file that will include all the needed files.
Heavy users of Photoshop and After Effects know that rendered output can be significantly modified and improved with some post work. Segregating image elements such as shadows and reflections allow the artist to adjust these effects very specifically and get the exact result needed without going back to the potentially time-consuming process of re-rendering. A new tutorial on the documentation page describes how this is done.
Besides the frame buffer tutorial just mentioned there are several other new tutorials to help you understand and get better at using V-Ray for SketchUp.
How can I get and install Service Pack 2?
The update is freely downloadable in your account at Chaos Group. Simply log in and go to your downloads page to find the latest installer for SketchUp. If you are using the 2.0 version of V-Ray for SketchUp, the upgrade should be listed. Note that the “V-Ray Express” features are a separate and new download that you will find under downloads/V-Ray Express. This is a large file of about 613 MB, because it includes many texture maps.