Friday, February 10th, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

Chaos Group ships V-Ray 3.5 for 3ds Max

Chaos Group has released V-Ray 3.5 for 3ds Max, a sizeable update to its production renderer, adding a new adaptive lighting system, resumable rendering, and support for materials in Nvidia’s MDL format.

The release also extends V-Ray’s GPU rendering capabilities, with V-Ray RT GPU, the software’s GPU-based render engine, now supporting mip mapping, along with more features from the CPU version.

Adaptive Lights system reduces render times in scenes with multiple lights
We’ve already written about a lot of the features in V-Ray 3.5 when Chaos Group featured them in technology previews, so we won’t cover them again in detail here.

You can read more about the release’s headline feature, which optimises sampling in scenes with large numbers of lights (“100 or more”) in our story on V-Ray’s Adaptive Lights system.

Since we posted that story, Dabarti – the CG studio responsible for the benchmark testing – has retested Adaptive Lights on the GPU, with the result that Chaos Group’s press release now quotes a maximum render speed boost of 7.5x over existing methods, rather than the 1.9x figure from the original tests.

New interactive and resumable rendering options, support for alSurface and MDL materials
We wrote about the other new features in a separate story on Chaos Group’s sneak peeks at V-Ray 3.5. Check it out for full details; or, if you just want a summary, here’s the list from the firm’s press release:

  • Interactive production rendering
    Fully interactive production rendering with immediate feedback.
  • Glossy fresnel
    New, physically-accurate reflection model adds more realism to any scene.
  • Resumable rendering
    Ability to stop and continue rendering at any point, preserving work and saving time. Supports both progressive and bucket rendering.
  • Live VR rendering
    Render directly to Oculus Rift or HTC Vive with full GPU acceleration. Visualize changes within the headset as they are made in 3ds Max.
  • V-Ray Scene node
    Import and render complete scene files created in any V-Ray application. V-Ray scenes are render-ready assets and contain all geometry, lights, materials and textures.
  • Interactive lens effects
    GPU-accelerated glare and bloom effects that can be enabled and adjusted while rendering. Compatible with V-Ray Denoiser.
  • alSurface material
    General-purpose shader by Anders Langlands includes built-in SSS controls; popular for skin.
    [Editor’s note: Originally developed for Arnold – find more details here.]
  • MDL materials
    NVIDIA’s universal material format is now supported by V-Ray, allowing designers to apply MDL materials authored in programs like Substance Designer to their assets and scenes.

Mip mapping and other improvements to GPU rendering
The update also extends V-Ray’s GPU rendering capabilities. As well as the use of Adaptive Lights with the GPU, that includes a new intelligent mip mapping system.

Widely used in game engines, the technique generates multiple resolutions of a texture, with the engine loading only the smallest version required at render time.

This reduces the amount of RAM required to render a scene, increasing the complexity of scenes that will fit within available GPU memory, and therefore benefit fully from GPU acceleration.

The process is done on the fly, and does not require any manual pre-preparation of textures.

In addition, V-Ray RT GPU now supports a number of features previously only supported in the CPU implementation of the render engine:

  • iToo Software Forest Color textures
  • Cached irradiance maps
  • Aerial perspective
  • V-Ray Clipper
  • Directional area lights
  • Procedural bump
  • Stochastic flakes
  • Matte/shadow catcher
  • Render mask

You can read more about them in Chaos Group’s blog post, which includes a number of demo images.

Pricing and availability
V-Ray 3.5 for 3ds Max is available for 64-bit 3ds Max 2013 and above. It’s the first version of V-Ray for 3ds Max to offer online licensing, meaning you no longer need a traditional dongle to use it.

New licences start at $1,040 for one floating user licence and one floating render node licence. You can see more pricing options here. The update is free to existing users.

Read a full list of new features in V-Ray 3.5 for 3ds Max on Chaos Group’s website