Vray exterior daylight tutorial

In this tutorial I will go through a simple, yet effective way to setup a lighting rig using 3ds max and vray.

Before we begin we need to setup the lwf.
Go to “Customize”, “Preferences” and click the “gamma and lut” tab.
Check “Enable gamma /lut correction”, type 2.2 in the field next to “Gamma”.
Under “Materials and Colors” check both “Affect Color Selectors” and “Affect Material Editor”.

Don’t forget that for every texture that you use you need to override it’s gamma like in the screenshot bellow:

If you need a more in depth explanation regarding linear workflow, check out my lwf tutorial that I have posted some time ago. However, the steps above pretty much cover the essential.

1)    Click the “create” button and select “cameras”. From the drop down menu select “vray” and click on “vray physical camera”. You can now create and place the camera wherever you want in the scene.
2)    Now we will create the sun. Click again on “create” and choose “lights”. Again, from the drop down menu select vray and click on Vray sun. You can now place the sun and it’s target in your scene.
When you will be asked if you would like to “automatically add a Vray Sky environment map”, click “yes”.

The position of the sun source is directly related to the time of the day. Bellow are 2 examples of renderings with different sun positions (while keeping the rest of the settings identical).

VraySun parameters

1) -turbidity
This parameter affects the color of the sky and overall atmosphere in a way the dust affects atmosphere. A higher turbidity value simulates a larger amount of dust and makes the rendering look more yellowish. See examples bellow:

2)  -ozone – ranges from 0 to 1. Lower values are supposed to make the sunlight look more orange, while higher values should make it bluish. I always prefer to leave this as default.

3) -vray sun size multiplier
– a value of “0” produces very sharp shadows, while higher values makes them softer.

4) -shadow subdivisions – if you are using a higher value for the vray sun size you will need to increase the shadow subdivisions as well, otherwise the samples will be visible.

5) -Intensity multiplier – needless to say that higher values results in higher sunlight intensity

Having this said, the settings that I usually use for creating a day rendering are:
-intensity 1
-turbidity 4
-size multiplier 5
-shadow subdivisions 9

If you don’t like the vray physical camera, you can use a standard one as well, but you need to decrease the intensity to somewhere around 0.01

Bellow is a rendering that was done using the settings above.

As you can see, at the moment it looks a bit dark and washed out. You can either play with the curve in vray virtual frame buffer, or start tweaking the vray camera settings.

Vray camera parameters
I always prefer to further adjust the image from the vray camera parameters.
There are 3 main parameters that affect the lighting/atmosphere: F-number, shutter speed, and film speed.

1) F-number
This parameter determines the width of the camera aperture and therefore it affects exposure. Higher values produce darker images, while lower values brightens the images

2)Shutter speed
This parameter determines the amount of time the film is exposed to the light. It is calculated in “inverse seconds” therefore higher values produce darker images.

3)    Film speed
This parameter determines how sensitive the film is to the light. Higher values produce lighter images, but the downside is that the higher the sensibility the more “grainy” the image will look.
For daylight exterior renderings it is recommended to keep this at 100.

There are several other parameters that you can touch (like custom white balance, vignetting, etc) but you can have more control if you do this in photoshop.

In conclusion, even though there are no “universal settings” for the vray camera, whenever I do an exterior daylight rendering I start with the following settings, and depending on the scene I may need to tweak them a little further.

F-number – 7
Shutter speed – 120
Film speed – 100
Rest of the parameters – default.

Bellow is the rendering done using these parameters.

In the next part of this tutorial we will talk about image based lighting, so stay tuned.

  1. Eric says:

    Very nice. Good explanation.Thanks for sharing.

  2. Xitij Mehta says:

    Its, realy nice tutorials,fantastic….Thanks.I am waiting for other tutorials.

  3. Xitij Mehta says:

    Pls.tell me about v-ray color mapping & render setting???

  4. I haven’t touched the color mapping in this one. However, if you need to adjust that, I recommend using Reinhard.
    The rendering settings are pretty basic. Irradiance+lightcache, adaptive dmc (min 4, max 8), Mitchel-Netravali antialiasing filter.

  5. vince says:

    thnx bro,its nice tutorial its big help for the beginners like me.

  6. KHOA says:

    i appreciate your effort … keep going ALEX

  7. Thank you guys!
    I am glad you liked it.

  8. @adlaava says:

    Very good… adequate explanation. nice.

  9. bigad says:

    thank you very much

  10. GrahamS says:

    Good looking rendering, come check out a few of ours at http://9100visualsolutionsblog.com/category/colorado-3d-renderings/ and let us know what you think.

    Graham at 9100VisualSolutions

  11. chinedu says:

    I love this tutorial. i am very happy to learn from you

  12. Miki3D says:

    Hi there! And thank you for a great tutorial.

    I am wondering how to achieve that good looking glass on the windows! Whenever I try, my windows havo no reflection and they seem empty!

    Could you give me some tips about that?

  13. mrs renderer says:

    first of all thanks a lot for this very usefull tutoring, is it possible to have the 3d max file aswell?
    Would be fantastic,
    Thanks, keep up the good work!

  14. mez says:

    very helpful tutorial. thanks a lot for sharing

  15. Thanks guys!
    @graham – nice renderings you got there. Keep it up!
    @miki3d – The material for the windows is a simple vray material with white as reflection, fresnel checked, and almost white for refraction.

    @mrs renderer – I generally don’t provide max scenes because usually I use 3d models done for commercial projects which I am not allowed to share. I will see what I can do about it in the future. However, the steps above should work with any similar 3d model you may use.

  16. kanhaiya singh says:

    plz tell me more about how to use a light and which light to show shininess in the scene

  17. VIKAS SHARMA says:

    It’s a good tutorial……… thank’s

  18. kartika says:

    Thanks Alex, I was greatly helped.

  19. Shivender says:

    thanks.. tell me more about Gamma settings? I don’t Know how it works ?

  20. Thank you all for your replies.
    @kanhaiua singh – I am not sure I understand what you are asking. What do you mean by “shininess”? Are you talking about specular highlights?

    @Shivender – check out this lwf tutorial http://www.cgdigest.com/linear-workflow/

  21. dhana says:

    thank you , i need the parameter for exterior rendering and exterior lighting

  22. pani says:

    hi and tnx for ur descriptions.they r so helpful.
    I have 2 questions:
    1)is there only vray sun used in this render?can more than one vray sun be used in diffrent directions
    2)where can i download materials for vray?

  23. @dhana – I believe I have listed all the parameters used in the tutorial above. Is there anything that is not clear enough?

    @pani – The vray sun is the only light source used in the scene. Why would you want to use more vray suns? Our world has only one sun.
    Regarding materials for vray, you can check out http://www.vraymaterials.de However, it would be best if you try to do them yourself… you will learn more from experimenting than from a pre-made material

  24. Jasper says:

    Thanks for the clean and quick tutorial.

    I’ve started learning 3ds+vray last week to be able to make architecture renderings; resulting in long days and late nights. It’s a jungle with different tutorials telling different things. I really like the way you kept it simple, to the point. cheers

  25. kenn says:

    i thoroughly admire this tutorial…..it’s really nice and it easy to understand!!!!thanks guy’s it’s a great help to us!!!!!!!keep on posting!!!!!!bravooooo

  26. alwin says:

    easy to absorb! nice tuts for the starter!!

  27. praful raut says:

    nice tutorial

  28. analisa says:

    man this is fantastic !!!!!

    respect respect.

  29. waseem says:

    thank alot for this nice tut very useful and simple

  30. Sajid says:

    Nice tut again.Thanks a lot

  31. vikas says:

    how can i do this same in glass material and in wall color which is not from jpg images plz reply

  32. Anwar says:

    Hi, I found your tutorial(Vray exterior daylight tutorial) very nice there is a problem while rendering. when i render the scene, the 3dsmax(software ) closes instantly. please sort out my only problem.
    Thanks with regards

  33. Srinivas says:

    Nice little tutorial that you have on Vray exterior daylight. It is really useful and you post more tutorials on your website.

  34. wael hamdi says:

    thank u nice tutorial

  35. cristina says:

    Do you have any tutorial about the material.. i mean… wich material i have to use for this tutorial?… becouse i made step by step tutorial but the material is not same like your pictures.. can you explain me please.. thanks!

  36. Thanks, your explanation saved my work! Very clear and simple!

  37. oyick says:

    Nice, if you could include its render setting. it will be very helpful anymore for beginners.

  38. Great tutorial thanks!

  39. Shanu says:

    Thanx for the tutorial

  40. shijunarayanan says:

    great tutorial sir thanku

  41. lych says:

    Hi Alex,
    Thanks for the great tutorial. I’ve done the rendering and once I would like to save it in jpg, it is darker than the original rendering result. What file extension should I save it in?

  42. You should save the rendering in “exr” format, than open it in photoshop and resave to whatever you want.

    I think this was covered in the lwf tutorial http://www.cgdigest.com/linear-workflow/

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