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Chaos Group launches V-Ray 3.0 for Maya in beta

Thursday, March 20th, 2014 | Posted by Jim Thacker

YouTube Preview Image
The new Progressive Production Renderer in V-Ray 3.0 for Maya, now available in beta to registered users. Watch more videos of the renderer’s new features on Chaos Group’s YouTube channel.

Now that V-Ray 3.0 for 3ds Max has shipped, Chaos Group has moved on to the second application to get the 3.0 treatment, releasing the beta version of V-Ray 3.0 for Maya.

Some of the same good stuff as the 3ds Max version…
If you followed the 3ds Max release, a lot of the new features in V-Ray 3.0 for Maya will already be familiar.

Raw raytracing performance is improved, with support for Intel’s Embree raytracing kernels (on Windows and Linux, at least), and so is hair rendering, with a claimed speed boost of “up to 15x”.

Interactive rendering takes a step closer to final-quality output with the new Progressive Production Renderer, and support for exporting render elements via V-Ray RT GPU, the GPU-accelerated preview renderer.

Pipeline integration is also improved, with support for Mari’s UDIM and Mudbox’s UVTILE formats; and support for open visual effects standards Alembic, OpenColorIO, OpenEXR 2.0 and Open Shading Language.

There is also a new skin material and improved subsurface scattering.

YouTube Preview Image
Hair rendering performance is improved in V-Ray 3.0 for Maya. Chaos Group claims a speed boost of up to 15x.

…and a few extra bonuses
However, there are also a few new features in the Maya implementation: again, many of them pipeline-related. Voxel data formats OpenVDB and Field3D are supported, as is OpenSubdiv.

The Maya version also comes with volume shaders for Phoenix FD, Chaos Group’s fluid simulator.

Texture baking has been improved, with the option to bake to Ptex, UDIM or projections; and as in the 3ds Max version, Ptex support now includes object-space vector displacement.

New pricing and licensing policy
Chaos Group is also moving to its new unified licensing policy, which cuts the price of a workstation licence to $1,040, but prices render nodes separately.

Those nodes can now be used with the 3ds Max and Softimage versions of the software, making it easier to run mixed pipelines; but with total licence cost increasing for all but the smallest render farms, expect the same sort of debate the new policy caused within the Max community.

Release dates
Chaos Group is currently accepting applications to join the V-Ray 3.0 for Maya beta program, although you’ll have to be an existing user to join.

Otherwise, if testing runs to the same schedule as 3ds Max, expect a commercial release in around six months.

Read a full list of features in V-Ray 3.0 for Maya

Sign up for the beta of V-Ray 3.0 for Maya

PRESS RELEASE (Excerpts)
The core functionality that has made V-Ray popular for film, commercial and episodic television work is being upgraded with today’s beta release of Chaos Group’s V-Ray 3.0 for Maya. Included in the initial round of enhancements will be a new Progressive Rendering Engine, support for several open source technologies, and up to 5x faster ray tracing and rendering performance.

After years of using V-Ray in production on projects like “Oblivion” and “Iron Man 3”, Digital Domain has used an early integration of deep image support to put some of 3.0’s features to the test. “On ‘Ender’s Game’, we hooked massive Houdini swarm simulations up to V-Ray Proxies and rendered the most geometry we’ve ever attempted at Digital Domain,” said Linghao Li, Technical Director at Digital Domain. “In one shot alone there were 333,443 ships on screen. 27 billion polygons rendered out for Deep Compositing and V-Ray handled it no problem.”

V-Ray 3.0 introduces a powerful new path-tracing engine (Progressive Image Sampler) that provides artists with instant feedback during the look development process. In addition, V-Ray 3.0′s new optimized core raises speed levels dramatically in all physically-based lighting, shading and rendering.

For character and creature development, V-Ray 3.0 offers up to 15x faster hair rendering, improved Ray-Traced Subsurface Scattering (SSS), and a new VRaySkinMtl with built-in SSS and layered reflections. Support for MARI’s UDIM and Autodesk Mudbox’s UVTILE formats makes it easier for users to incorporate textures from their favorite programs.

“We rely on V-Ray every day to help us craft big projects like ‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Warm Bodies’ and ‘Noah,’” said Dmitry Vinnik, CG/Technical Supervisor at LOOK Effects. “Faster ray tracing and hair rendering is exactly what we need to turn around big shots before a deadline.”

Already known for easy integration with production pipelines, V-Ray 3.0 has become even more versatile by adding support for common open source formats like OpenSubdiv, Alembic 1.5, Deep Images and OpenEXR 2.0, OpenColorIO, and in the near future, programmable shaders with Open Shading Language [OSL].

“Of the many renderers I’ve used, I personally feel that none are as artist-friendly as V-Ray,” said Blake Sweeney, DFX Supervisor at Method Studios. “The built-in shaders and render elements give us solutions for almost every situation imaginable. For the rare corner case that requires something extra, Chaos Group collaborates and brainstorms with us to find a solution, and it’s generally included in updates almost immediately. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Chaos Group invites all V-Ray users participating in the beta to send in their thoughts on what would make for the best final product. For the complete list of new features and upgrades, please visit V-Ray.com, the new home for the V-Ray community.

Pricing and Availability
V-Ray 3.0 for Maya public beta is available now and open to all V-Ray for Maya users.

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