Vray render settings for interior visualisation

An advanced guide to the interior rendering of still images within Chaos Group Vray and Autodesk 3ds Max. Most will argue that there are no “universal settings” for Vray and I tend to agree. But there are steps you can take in order to get close to what you need for the majority of interior visualisation.

There are many other guides out there that offer similar and different approaches to Vray rendering but I have found some techniques to be somewhat confusing and hard to follow. This guide is a summary of all those different techniques, and it will give you rendering settings that work well for interior visualisation as well as the reasons behind them.

Before I start, I would like to point out that I will be using a linear workflow with a gamma 2.2 setup within 3ds Max and Vray. I strongly recommend setting this up as it will improve many areas within your workflow. You can find an easy to follow step by step guide here.

I also use the Vray physical camera, information on how to set the camera up correctly can be found here.

Please click on any of the links below to jump to a specific section within this post.

The initial set up


Choosing the right anti-aliasing filter

Configuring the adaptive DMC image sampler

DMC sampler

Colour mapping

Adding environment light

Indirect illumination (GI)

Irradiance map

Light cache

The initial set up

In the Vray Render Setup go to Vray frame buffer and tick enable built-in frame buffer and leave the other settings as they are. The Vray Frame Buffer has some key additions which will help you finalise your render. At this point you can also tick split render channels and point to the location where you want to save your render passes.

In Vray Global Switches, under lighting, set default lights to off. This turns off the 3 point lighting system Autodesk 3ds Max has as default, now you have full control over all lights that you add to the scene.

You can also turn displacement off (Optional). Under the geometry rollout, displacement is ticked by default, rarely do I have a project where displacement is used so I turn this off. Another personal reason for turning this off is because I work largely with 3rd party CAD data, specifically Autodesk Inventor 3d files which I import into Autodesk 3ds Max. When working with this file type, leaving this on actually increases render times considerably.

It is very important to decide early on the render output size as this influences the time allowed for the project. What resolution do you or your client require? As this largely affects the render settings you decide later on, not matching your output resolution to your render settings can increase your render times unnecessarily. Typically I render out at 3200 pixels x 2400 pixels for A3 presentation, this is large enough to do any post processing, touch ups and if necessary, it can be adjusted for a larger print by lowering the DPI.


Anti-aliasing works to correct aliasing artefacts which occur within the rendered image either by supersampling or undersampling of sub pixels. Aliasing artefacts are generally regarded as jagged edges which are derived from poor, insufficient sampling data. Vray has it’s own method of dealing with Anti-aliasing and this is controlled via the Vray image sampler (Antialiasing) within the render setup.

Here is a quick explanation of the types of image sampler, again I am not going to go in to much detail as this is not the main focus of this post but if you wish to know more, you will find an in depth explanation on image sampling here.


This is a non-adaptable sampler that uses the simplest method of calculating. Subdivisions determine the number of samples per pixel, 1 sample is equal to 1 pixel (1×1). Whereas 4 samples divides the pixel in to 16 (4×4). The more samples per pixel given improves sampling and therefore results in a better quality render. Negative values are not something to be associated with this sampler.

For scenes that have blurry effects and/or detailed textures, the fixed rate sampler performs best but at the cost of a higher render time due to the amount of samples needed to get a passable result. Because of this it is not recommend for interior visualisation but at a low setting it can be useful for preview renders.

Adaptive subdivision

The first word “adaptive” means that this sampler can adapt to the scene via undersampling and oversampling. By being adaptive in a positive and negative way, Vray can calculate the number of samples needed for areas that are less detailed (undersampling) than more complex areas which require more samples (oversampling).

This method does not work well with glossy reflections and camera effects such as depth of field, but instead sits well with flat colour, non-reflective objects which are commonly used in architectural visualisation.

Adaptive DMC

In simple terms this is the next step on from the fixed sampler, with the addition of adaptability. It will take a minimum/maximum value of positive subdivisions and calculate the most effective number of samples needed for a given pixel. Much like adaptive subdivision, it will attend more to detailed areas of the scene and pay less attention to the lesser detailed areas.

It is the most beneficial solution for both speed and quality when calculating glossy reflections, depth of field (DOF) and so on. It will be the chosen image sampler for this topic.

Choosing the right anti-aliasing filter

In addition to the image sampler, the anti-aliasing filter takes the calculated sub pixels and averages out the colour of all samples that belong to that particular pixel. Each anti-aliasing filter available offers different calculations which in turn produce different results. For example, some filters create a soft blurred effect on the edges of your 3D geometry whereas others produce a hard sharpening, there are also filters that lie in between these two. As well as this you have the option to use no filter at all thus allowing you to add your own desired effect in post processing. This can be easily managed for a single image but for an animation it may prove to be difficult to adjust every frame to how you want it.

There is no right or wrong filter to choose, it’s down to personal preference. The two filters I commonly use are the Catmull-Rom or Mitchell-Netravali filters but keep in mind that when using a filter it does restrict the amount of post processing you can carry out on the final image.


This is an edge enhancing filter, if you wish to carry out some internal sharpening in post processing then you will obviously over sharpen the already sharpened edges which can lead to increased moiré effect.


A control between edge-enhancement and blurring so you can generate a happy medium between the Catmull-Rom filter and a blurry Area filter.

Configuring the adaptive DMC image sampler

Setting the min sub divisions to 1 and the max sub divisions to 16 will give you a good starting point and will almost get you to where you want to be in terms of quality. This will clear up the majority of noise sampling issues. You are basically stating that the minimum each pixel can be subdivided is 1 and the maximum a pixel can be divided is by 16.

Vray will not necessarily go all the way to dividing it by 16. It may decide that a maximum of 8 subdivisions for a particular pixel is adequate because of the effect the clr thresh has over this. The clr thresh determines how finely to look for contrasts in colour between pixels. By default the value is greyed out and set to 0.01, and in most cases this value is adequate.

If within your scene you are finding that you are still getting aliasing artefacts at these settings then by working on a rule of 8 you could up the max subdivisions to 24. At this point I would also recommend adjusting the clr thresh to a lower value of 0.005 so that it has a finer control over the contrast between pixels, un-tick use DMC sampler thresh and you will get the option to alter the clr thresh. By only increasing the max subdivisions to a higher value without decreasing the clr thresh you will be increasing the subdivisions unnecessarily which could lead to longer render times.

There may be a rare occasion where you will need further sampling which could see your max subdivisions be 56 and your clr thresh to be as low as 0.001. Only use these settings if you cannot get rid of any remaining aliasing artefacts. I never adjust the minimum subdivisions as it tends to lead to longer render times. I recommend leaving this value at 1.

You can pretty much clear up all your noise and sampling issues via image sampling. By tweaking the DMC image sampler you are 90% there before you even have to think about global illumination (GI). The ability to control the quality of global illumination is there to enable you to get even more out of Vray and to improve the quality of your renders. Some scenes will come out fine with just decent image sampler settings and low GI, it is purely down the complexity of your scene and the quality that you are happy with.

DMC sampler

In addition to the adaptive DMC image sampler there is also the DMC sampler in the settings rollout. No matter what image sampler you use, the DMC sampler will always be there because everything runs through it. By default, providing you have tweaked your clr thresh in the adaptive DMC image sampler rollout and set your min and max subdivisions correctly, you will not need to adjust the parameters within the DMC sampler.

But there may come a time when you have adjusted everything and still have unwanted artefacts. The settings within the DMC sampler are there so that you don’t result to cranking up the values from other settings and end up in a state of frustration. You can do some fine adjustments but they are only advised if your scene has unwanted artefacts.

Adaptive amount determines the point at which Vray decides if you need more samples to clean up a glossy reflection if the amount before it becomes adaptive is not enough. For example, if you have 100 samples to clean up a glossy reflection and you set your adaptive amount to 0.5, it will use a fixed amount of 50% and then decide how much of the remaining 50% it needs to fully clean up the glossy reflection. An adaptive amount of 0.7 means Vray will use a fixed amount of 30% and have the remaining 70% as adaptive samples. A value of 1.0 means Vray is fully adaptive, in some cases this is desirable but it is down to personal preference.

The min samples parameter is there for safety reasons; if your adaptive amount is set to 1.0, Vray sometimes cannot make the decision if it needs more reflection samples. You are making sure that whatever happens, the minimum number of samples for a glossy reflection, refraction etc. will be 8 or whatever you set it at before Vray becomes adaptive.

The noise threshold averages out the samples taken after the initial fixed samples. This setting is very important and should not be set to anything lower than 0.005 and not be any higher than its default value of 0.01.

Finally, the global subdivisions multiplier is very simple. It multiplies all the samples within your scene in one hit. This includes light samples, material samples, motion blur and DOF. It is a quick way of increasing the quality so that you don’t have to go through each light, material etc. and have to set them up one by one.

Colour mapping

If you are following the linear workflow and gamma correction method then the only two settings you may or may not change are the sub-pixel mapping and clamp output tick boxes. Detailed information on both options can be found here. These two options help fix over bright areas within your scene that are greater than pure white (255,255,255). You can identify this problem when noticing white spots on your render that sometimes appear to have a black stroke around them.

In effect, your over-bright pixels will be clamped down to improve anti-aliasing. But if you choose to do this you will lose control over the exposure and the ability to adjust the range in post processing applications such as Adobe Photoshop as the render will no longer have a 32bit colour range.

Adding environment light

Whether it is a bright sunny day or a night time scene, I recommend always having the GI environment (skylight) override on. It is a good starting point for global illumination, and this doesn’t have to affect your scene hugely by using a high multiplier. Small values can really help clear up noise and other artefacts when creating low lit scenes as well as casting a subtle shadow. For a sunny day use a multiplier of 0.8 – 1 and for a night time scene you could go as low as 0.2.

Also keep in mind that the colour of the skylight can affect your scene, think sky colour when deciding on the tone/mood. A light blue would give the impression of a bright day whereas a dark aqua blue colour would best suit a night scene. You can also add in maps here, gradient ramps to show graduation in colour which simulates the sun rising or setting. The sky is always brighter at the horizon so a graduated colour would be more realistic.

Another method is to use HDRI images of skies or environments. This type of image allows for a greater dynamic range of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image. In short, the image pops out more than current standard digital imaging techniques.

In order for the skylight to work indirect illumination must be enabled.

Indirect illumination (GI)

Vray has several approaches for computing indirect illumination, each have their own advantages and disadvantages. The two methods that are commonly used for interior visualisation still images are the irradiance map GI engine for primary bounces and light cache GI engine for secondary bounces.

The irradiance map works by caching some samples that the camera can see during rendering and then interpolating them for the rest of the scene, as the name suggests it is creating a map of samples that will be used to calculate the primary bounces. This method is very fast at computing compared to others such as brute force and it works particularly well on flat glossy surfaces.

Light cache is similar to the irradiance map in that it caches a map of light samples from the camera view and works efficiently with many types of light.

Both of these methods are not adaptive and only work well for still images, they are also resolution dependant. Using incorrect settings with the wrong resolution can lead to unnecessary longer render times. I will go through the necessary steps to make sure the correct settings are used depending on the output resolution.

Irradiance map

Firstly, the built in presets are BAD! These presets have been made for a resolution of 640 pixels x 480 pixels. Typically, neither you nor I render out images that are this low in resolution. As I mentioned earlier, I render out images that are normally 3200 pixels x 2400 pixels. But they can be used as a starting point, as a rule of thumb you can half the min/max rate when you double the resolution. So if you were to choose a high preset at 640 pixels x 480 pixels, that’s a min rate of –3 and a max rate of 0 and then doubled your resolution to 1280 pixels x 960 pixels, you can reduce you min rate to –4 and your max rate to –1 and your quality settings will be the same. Lets increase the resolution again to 2560 pixels x 1920 pixels and you would have a min rate of –5 and a max rate of –2.

This will give you a total of 4 passes, each pass getting smaller, some passes may appear faster in certain areas because it is using samples from the previous pass from areas where there is less detail such as flat surfaces.

You can check tick show calc. phase so that you can see what the irradiance map is doing, there is nothing worse than leaving it to render and finding the quality is not as required because you couldn’t spot it in the early stages of rendering.

HSph subdivs control the quality of individual GI samples. Smaller values compute faster but may produce artefacts. Higher values produce smoother images at the cost of increasing the render time. A value of 50 is good for almost anything but in some cases where artefacts still appear, increase by multiples of 10 but try not to go above 100. When approaching 100, it may be best to find an alternative method of reducing artefacts either in the image sampler or light cache.

Interp samples controls how neighbouring samples are merged into each other. High values will blur more and appear smooth but you will lose GI detail, a value that is too low will make splotches appear but improve GI detail. A value of 20 is usually enough.

The threshold values also effect the GI detail, the two most important are clr thresh and dist thresh. These values determine the cut-off point between using a sample from the previous pass or to create a new sample. The smaller the value, the closer the cut-off point, meaning longer render times because it is creating more samples than is necessarily needed.

As mentioned above, less samples are used for flat surfaces, whereas more samples are used for corners or curved areas. Always leave the dist thresh at 0.1 but you can change the clr thresh to a higher value if you think there are too many samples and you want to reduce your rendering times. Only increase this value by .1, anything higher will produce unwanted results. So a clr thresh of 0.3, nrm thresh and dist thresh of 0.1 is good enough in most cases.

Light cache

This is used as a secondary bounce to spread light around your scene, not necessarily to improve detail which is controlled via the primary bounce. The main setting here is the subdivs parameter; this determines how many paths are traced from the camera. By default, 1000 subdivs are used and I would say this is a low – medium setting to use for interior visualisation. Somewhere in the region of 2500 – 3000 samples will certainly clear up a lot of sampling issues.

The sample size determines the spacing between each sample; smaller values mean samples will be closer to each other which in turn produce sharper detail but increases noise. Larger values smooth out the samples but at the cost of losing detail. Scale determines the type of units used for the sample size. The two types of units are screen and world.

Screen units calculates by making samples closer to you smaller which creates finer detail and samples that are furthest away from you larger, therefore creating less detail. This works particularly well with still images and animation for scenes that have a large ground plane.

World units means fixed samples throughout, but the samples that are closest to you will be sampled more often and appear smoother than samples furthest away from you which appear noisier. It gives a more even distribution of samples and is proven to work best with fly-through animations and small interior spaces but not so well with scenes that have distant objects as these can become very noisy. To compensate for the noise, the sample size must be smaller but at the cost of a longer render time so this is not advised.

For both unit types, larger samples will increase the chances of light leaks because light is spreading over larger samples. Smaller samples will help keep light leaking to a minimum but will increase noise.

Set the scale to world and change the sample size to somewhere within the range of 100 mm – 150 mm which works well in most cases.

If you decide that setting the scale to screen works best for your scene then leave it at the default value of 0.02, there is no reason to change this as light cache is being used as a secondary bounce and the default sample size is adequate. See here for further explanation and examples.

Tick show calc phase again to see what the light cache is doing during rendering. Keep all other settings as they are. Unless you are experiencing some really bad sampling issues with the light cache, I would avoid changing anything else. Finally the number of passes should be set to the number of processor cores you have in your pc.

The use light cache for glossy rays can reduce rendering times by quite a lot if you have heavy glossy reflections in your scene but it is very scene dependant, in some instances it can lead to unwanted artefacts. There are multiple steps you can take to avoid this happening. This parameter is optional though I recommend turning it on, especially if you are pushed for time and to work through some of the solutions outlined below.

Option A

If you have the latest version of Vray (which is 2.0), there is an added feature called retrace threshold which improves the precision of the global illumination and helps eliminate light leaks when use light cache for when glossy rays is on. See here for more information and examples.

Option B

Set the filter to fixed and adjust the filter size to two or three times the sample size. So if your sample size is 150 mm set the filter size to 300 mm.

Option C

Within a material, scroll down to the options panel and set treat glossy rays as GI to always. Also turn off the use light cache for glossy rays if you have it on. By doing this you are telling the material to always use the secondary GI engine to calculate the glossy rays, which in this case is the light cache. It basically does the same job as use light cache for glossy rays but you can specify which materials within the scene use this option. So if there is a material that has unwanted artefacts, you can have it so that it does not receive GI from the secondary bounce but from the first as normal by keeping the setting at only for GI rays.

Although the default values are the recommended, I will explain a little about some of the parameters. The filter determines how rays of light are interpolated from the samples within the light cache, this means the type of filtering a group of samples goes through as they are merged into either larger or smaller groups depending on their distance from the camera. Nearest looks up the nearest samples to a shaded point/coloured pixel and averages their value and is best suited for secondary bounces. Then the samples that have the same average value are grouped.

Fixed looks up and averages all samples from the light cache that fall within a certain distance from the shaded point/coloured pixel. Again, larger values blur the image whereas smaller values increase noise. This filter type is best suited if the light cache is set to primary GI engine for test purposes.

The interp samples controls how many of the neighbouring samples are merged together from the light cache. Pre-filter is one of those options that is great if you are really pushed for time and you need to get your work out but you still have some artefacts that won’t go away. Turn this on and hope it fixes your problem. It basically smoothes out the result and you end up losing light and shadow definition if it is set too high. If you do turn pre-filter on I suggest setting it to around 100 samples, this will take a load off the calculation that is done during render time but as I have mentioned, the result may be less than satisfactory. If you set the samples too high then your rendering time will increase dramatically.


As I mentioned early on, this is a work flow that I use 99% of the time for my still renders and it suits the type of work that I create, rarely do I need to tweak the settings. Hopefully this guide will have given you a solid explanation of the areas you must attend to when working on an interior scene and ways to overcome problems if you happen to run in to any.

If you have any questions about this post feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to answer as soon as possible.


  1. hello, i am using vray about a couple of months and i mostly use it for interiors visualization, and mostly clients requires the output in night time with all artificial lights , so sir inspite of using it about couple of months i am still not able to get overall illumination throughtout the scene in interiors night time by using artificial lights like photometrics,vray lights etc. i mostly get some burst areas around lights and can’t get nice gradual illumination throughtout the scene ,i mean atleast every corner of the scene should receive illumination , so sir its my humble request if u can guide me trough some tutorials or videos or by sending me some links ,or just summary which parameters should i set to ? thanking you sir.!!

      • hello, sir i have gone through the gamma correction page, but i have color mapping like what i should change it to for night time interiors scene , and i m not familiar with linear workflow , i was just first modelling , texturing ,lighting then rendering the scenes with the most common vray settings ? so its a new concept for me and sir i have mostly scenes that has minimal sources of lights but requires lot of overall illumination, sir if you give me ur email id i’ll forward u the rendered pics fo the scene and also i have got the pics of what kind of illumination is required i can forward u that also , so u’ll get an idea of what all i m lacking . thanks

  2. Mladen on said:

    One question…

    When I use Vray IES lights they start to be noticeable when the light multiplier is at value of 5000 and higher. Is it normal, I`m not sure…
    Any help is welcome.

    Thank you in advance

  3. jpcutler85 on said:


    Being that Vray is a biased renderer, and a lot of calculations are done via thresholds, the end result may appear darker than if you were to use an unbiased renderer such as Maxwell.

    IES files (Photometric web), are true values of light intensity and they rely heavily on exposure from your camera. The exposure settings within Vray camera are not exactly accurate against the real word, so you will have to tweak multiplier values to compensate for this.

    This is why you are finding yourself having to increase the multiplier to a higher value, because in effect the multiplier is acting as an exposure control. A linear work flow also helps, more info on that here http://www.mintviz.com/blog/linear-work-flow-and-gamma-correction-within-vray-and-3ds-max/

    Alternatively you can adjust the intensity of the light via the colour temperature. Finally, check that your scene has been created using a real world scale, IES light don’t work very well in scenes that aren’t at the correct scale.
    Hope that helps!

  4. Mladen on said:

    Thanks jp!

    it helped indeed… I thought it was abnormal because the scene is in real world scale and the camera parameters are in reasonable limits…

    Thanks again!

    Keep up the good work!!

  5. mauricio on said:

    Hello, for start congrats for the great tut u post for everyone,
    I´ve ready it carefully but there´s an issue wich I can´t get through.
    I am doing an exterior scene and using a vray sun light+vraysky map and the problem is that there´s some color contamination in everything which I dont know exactly from where it comes, I am also using vrayphyscamera but I have tried almost everything to eliminate that kind of peachish color from my scene, I just wint the white=white and so on.

    Would u post a tut for exterior scenes or maybe would u recomend us a good one?

    Cheers jpcutler85!

  6. jpcutler85 on said:

    Hi Mauricio,

    There are two things you can look at here to eliminate any colouring in your whites. Within your Vray Physical Camera, change the white balance to Neutral. This will make the camera filter white instead of a blue colour (D65 is default).

    You can also look at the ozone parameter within the VraySun. Smaller values make the sunlight more yellow, larger values make it blue. So you will have to find a healthy balance for your scene and time of day.

    You can see further examples of the VraySun settings here http://www.spot3d.com/vray/help/150SP1/examples_vraysun_sky.htm

    I hope that helps.

    I will be posting a tutorial on exterior rendering soon. For now, have a look at this http://www.cgdigest.com/vray-exterior-daylight-tutorial/ It goes through controlling the white balance.

    • mauricio on said:

      Thanks for your reply jpcutler85,

      I have done everything but actually it just doesnt look good at all, I dont know what´s up with the gamma correction and the physical camera but the quality of my scene has gone in a general way.
      Also the textures dont have quality enough although I adjusted the gamma of each texture.
      However, I am going back to the traditional way wich was working ok for me, I aint got anymore time on this project, maybe I´ll try again in the future but for the moment I will continue working without gamma correction.

      I appreciate your efforts to help me but I probably must be missing something.

    • Wasi Haider on said:

      Dear Mr. jpcutler85,

      How are you ?
      Sir I need your email address to send you my some work after that I would be able to ask some questions.


  7. jpcutler85 on said:

    Hi Mauricio,

    I would be happy to take a look for you, so that you don’t run into the same problems in the future.

    • mauricio on said:

      Hi jpcutler85,

      that would be great, could I send the file to you? its a small building and actually quite simple, that was the reason I took it for that test.

  8. pinki on said:

    hello sir,i use vray render.but now i am facing a problem.when i take render in vray,i set the irradiance map with basic parameter min= -2 to max= 0,like i set 3 passes.but when,its taking render its showing 4 passes,1 passes shown as a merging the light catch,can you tell me whats the exact problem?please………

      • pinki on said:

        dont know exactly,actually i used some downloaded model.can you tell me what is the interpolation?

      • pinki on said:

        no,i dont think so that i have used that interpolation,because few days ego i have made a interior ceiling only,and there was nothng except simple vray material without interpolation,and that time i faced same problame,some of my old file where iahve used vray,i took render for test this problame,and there was no problame atall..dont know whats is going on,i am really worried,bczits effect my render uot put,and there i am getting that depth which should be.plz help.

  9. pinki on said:

    yaap u were right,there was interpolation problame only may be,which had been created by downloaded model.now its solved.thanks a lot..

  10. pinki on said:

    again a problem arise,i used many glossy material in a kitchen interior like in cabinate,floor etc.but when i took render its came mate finish,i use vray material and ies light.i make the steel effect in that file,its came very nicely,but problem has arised only in glossy material.plz help.

  11. pinki hazra on said:

    sir,i am sending you a 3d max file of bathroom interior,where i have used many glossy tiles and mirror ,glass etc.bt mirror reflection is coming blurry and reflected material is not comming proper also.and the render time is too much high, already it has taken more than 8 hours,but only 45% render has completed.plz help me.i am sending you a mail in your id,plz find the attachment.thank you.i will wait for response.

  12. rams Mohan on said:

    Hi sir, thanq for ur tutorials, as a guide u r best in professional level, please sent more tutorials n advises

  13. lionel raj on said:

    does the output size in the render settings affect only the size of the safe frame or the resolution too??..
    I usually keep the output size 800*600 and change the output resolution to 1280*960 as I’m happy with that size.
    And is it necessary to check the ‘get res from max’ ??..

    btw love ur tuts.. helping alot.. keep it up..

    • Hi,

      There is no definitive resolution. It purely depends on the final output i.e is it for print or screen?

      You can either set the resolution using Max or Vray, which ever you choose, it will cancel out the other.

  14. lionel raj on said:

    much clear now..
    and are there any specific system settings that i need to know abt for the rendering purpose??.. coz it takes like almost half a day some times to render some scenes.. my scenes are mostly interiors..

    following is my system config..
    PROCESSOR: amd phenom ™ 2 x6 1055t 2.80 ghz
    RAM: 4 gb
    (tot the system info could help u give me some tips)

    • Your processor is OK, but you could do with upgrading the RAM. Your scene may be taking a long time to render due in-correct settings.

      If you drop me an email, I can have a look at a scene for you and let you know areas that need attention.

  15. lionel raj on said:

    Hey James!!
    thanks alot for the tips on the rendering.. i certainly did help.. rendering time did reduce alot..
    this is a link to my cg portfolio http://lionelraj.cgarena.com/
    I would like u to see it as I have learned the most abt vray from you.. any suggestions and tips are most welcome..tc

  16. timothy on said:

    hi James, I am happy for this setup for my interior works there’s no more dots in my render, but there’s a problem with the final image.
    first when the rendering is complete. I’m so satisfied with the result. but after I save it, the image become so white (it’s like you add a white transparent layer in photoshop). i dont know why, can u help me?

    • Hi,

      If you are using a gamma 2.2 set-up and you have burned the gamma in. Then saved as a 16bit/32bit tif, double gamma will be applied in Photoshop. This will make it appear much brighter.

      Either save as linear and then add gamma correction afterwards or save it as gamma 2.2 as an 8bit file format.

    • Hi,

      It’s great to know you come back regularly to check for new tutorials.

      It is taking longer than normal to write the next few as these are far more in depth and longer than some of the previous ones.

      If you have any ideas for future tutorials please let us know :)

  17. Something that I don’t understand

    Are the “Reconstruction parameters” saved in the light cache or it only help to render final image?

    If I decided to use “use light cache for glossy rays”, is it saved in the light cache file when I decide to do a flythrough?


    • Hi,

      If you decide to use the light cache for glossy rays, you must use light cache in single frame mode. It does not store it in the light cache file.

      The options within the reconstruction parameters control how the pre-calculated light cache is filtered for the final image. So yes they help render the final image.

      Hope that helps :)

      • Brian on said:

        Ok, here is a scenario:

        Say I want to do an object animation using the animation prepass mode, and light cache in single frame mode.

        Can I enable the “light cache for glossy rays” combined with the retrace option without having to recalculate the Light cache before rendering the final frames?

        Did that make sence?

        The reason is that, since the Glossy rays are not stored in the light cache file, or tranfered to the irradiance map, I was wondering whether the “retrace” option would help to make sure that glossy reflection are computed correctly without the need for calculating the light chache before the irradiance map and before the final frames are rendered.

        Thank you for a great tutorial.

      • The retrace threshold will use brute force sampling in places where light cache sampling produces artifacts, so it doesn’t replace the entire light cache calculation. This is typically used in conjunction with the glossy rays option to assist in its calculation. The light cache must be rendered in single frame, this is because the glossy information is not transferred over to the irradiance map during animation prepass.

  18. Lovely. And as I was reading your other post about Vray RT rendering on GPU; I think I’d like to ask you how long it took to render this still image and what your computer specs were. Furthermore, did you use RT or not and if you did then how fast was it as compared to CPU. Basically just wanted to know how long it took and on what system specs :)

      • Hmm, I thought the image with the staircase at the very top of this article was the one rendered with the settings explained within the article. But I guess that image was for illustration purposes only.

      • Hi,

        The image was rendered using the settings explained within this post. Apologies for not realising which image you were referring too.

        It was rendered using Vray, I could if you like run a render via VrayRT CPU/GPU and post up the results? I don’t have the render times at hand for the image you see here. But it was rendered using 4GB RAM and Q6600 Processor some time a go now.

      • Hi, Thank you for clearing that point :) It would be very helpful for your readers if you are able to post the render time comparison because Vray-RT is still a new technology and many people are looking for statistics on its performance.
        If such benchmarking results can be made accessible on this blog; it would help many people decide on their visualization work flow in that they could get the right kind of hardware to work with. If you do plan to post that information; I guess it would be great if you could mention the graphics card that was used with Vray RT. Thanks again.

  19. Hi,

    I am working on a bench mark scene to test iray/Vray to be available to the public. I will be requesting hardware spec and render times and then I will post results.

    If you or anyone has any ideas for a benchmark scene please let me know.

  20. Hi James,

    I’ve been using Vray with 3ds max design 2009 with good success. Render times are reasonable for interior scenes. But I recently switched over to design 2010 and I’m not sure why my render times are ridiculously long. I’ve used back the same settings Ive used with 2009 and with the same file, my light in 2009 takes about 15 mins but in 2010 it tells me it will take 33hours??!! Any tips on why this is happening?

    Thanx!! Great tutorial!

    • No that is fine, I only asked because there has been some issues with rendering scenes in 2.0 that have been set up in 1.5, the render times are longer unless a setting is changed.

      If you email me at j.cutler@mintviz.com we can discuss looking at it further if you wish.

  21. Hi sir.its my first email to u.
    Can i use iradiance map and brute force setting,
    to render interior scene?
    Any tips that can u share if i using brute force?

    • Hi,

      Yes you can use Irradiance map as primary and Brute force as secondary. Brute force as primary produces very long render times, so to reduce this it can be used as a secondary GI engine. The results are less noisy but the GI becomes more blotchy because of the irradiance map as primary.

      The two methods are calculated separately and then added together, so a grainy brute force will make the over all render grainy and like wise with a splotchy irradiance map.

      You will need to find a healthy balance of quality vs speed for both methods which also depends on the type of scene you are working with.

      • Thank you sir, to respon my email fast.
        I’m general use v ray to render interior/indoor scene/ still image.
        Pls add more tutorial for indoor scene.
        I want to know about render ,material, lighting parameter from u.
        Thank. Sorry my english not so good, Im from asia.

  22. Dear Sir,
    I want Quickly Improve The Quality of 3ds Max can u give me any 1 file that i put on any max file in ur file then i got Quality.So plz sir help me.I am weting ur Reply or Mail.Plz send me mail Sir Thank You.

    • Hi,

      Unfortunately we do not offer files to download for this tutorial. How ever if you wish to discuss a set up file specifically to suite your needs, please contact the support team.

  23. hello sir,
    i m getting an problem of realistic effect of material in v ray rendering.Please give me your suggestions for getting realistic material feeling.

  24. Dan Morris on said:

    Amazing tutorial, well explained and very easy to follow – however I am still having major problems with noise and am completely lost as to what the solution is! I’ve tried increasing the DMC minimum subsdivisions to 32 and stillg et noise, I’ve tried blurring the HDR and EXR files and reducing their size with no success!

    Could I send you my file?

    Thanks, Dan

  25. shankar on said:

    Hi sir i would like to have some tips for vray rendering for
    glossy finish in kitchen am trying to take photorealstic pics but after final render black glossy reflecting in grey.
    So in that case what kind of lights has to be use

  26. Dear James,

    I am new to vray for rhino, as you said the settings for Max or for Rhino are the same. I tried to use the above mentioned settings for an interior rendering. I must say the results are really nice, and thanks for the explanation of each topic. My concern is about the time that it takes to launch such render. with these settings on, I am experiencing a “not less than 3 h” render, for which the -building light cache- is taking the whole time. I thaught maybe my model is too detailed? In the calculation phase, Vray, says it has 4000000 image samples. I am also using a 640/480 imag, no DOF, Irr Map with 10 samples, and Light Cache of 1000. The main question is: is there a way, a simple way, through which I can have fast renders, ( 10 to 20 minutes ) that can be improved in the final image shot? I mean, what are the principal tools that allow me to shrink the rendering time, and also the quality, without altering the real effects drastically?

    Your help is really much appreciated.


  27. to be more precise I have a Dual Core and have no textures applied yet to the scene, Glass Layer is turned off, 8 Rectangular lights M 55 are in the scene.
    GLOBAL SWITCHES: low thread priority off;
    OUTPUT: 640×480
    IMAGE SAMPLER, Adaptive qmc min subd 1 – max subd 16; Antialiasing on ( catmull Rom )
    QMC SAMPLER: Adaptive Amount 1; Min Samples 8; Noise Th 0.01; Subdiv 1.
    COLOR MAPPING, Reinhard.

    GI ON;
    IRRADIANCE MAP: 1 Multiplier; Min Rate -3 Max Rate 0; Hsph Subdiv 10; Samples 20 Col Thre 0.3; Normal/Distance Thres 0.1;
    LIGHT CACHE: Subdiv 2000; Scale Screen; Sample Size 0.02; Num Phases 1; Use For Glossy Rays ON, Nearest.

    • Hi,

      The QMC max subdivs might be too high. This tutorial is only a guide for settings that would work 99% of the time. You may get much faster render times by optimising the settings to suite your scene.

      Feel free to contact us via email and we can look at your scene specifically.

      • Last night I found a pretty efficent way. By modyfing Subdiv in light cache, droping to 100, I have renders in 2.15 minutes. that’s great!

    • Hi,

      We don’t generally offer project files for the existing tutorials. How ever this is something we are looking to provide in the future. Is there a specific file you were after? Please contact us via email and we can happily provide you with a scene tailored to your request.

  28. pankaj jagad on said:


    i tried it. it is great setting for interior. I think it is just more brighter than require. Can u send me setting for exterior.. i will be feel great…

  29. alisaif on said:

    hey guys,
    recently working on kitchen interior problem is with glossy material and using the normal still camm. can any one suggest how to work with vray cam in interior projects.

  30. Hi,

    Me again. Is any simple way to explain what Min and max rate of Irradiandce map means?

    What exactly min rate does. What exactly max rate does. How those numbers are realted to each other etc.

    I really try to get what it is all abut but for someone like me, who dont follow developing this soft from earlier versions its like lerning chinese. Totally fuck*ed up. What they call “docunentation” is a joke, written like this:

    sunflower – it is a flower under the sun

    butterfly – a butter and the fly or flyring butter


    I wonder if they want to get new clients who will spent more that 1000$ on it or no.

    • Hi,

      There are a few decent guides out there that explain how the irradiance map works in detail such as:
      http://renderstuff.com/irradiance-map-vray-best-settings-cg-tutorial/ and http://vray.us/vray_documentation/vray_irradiance_map.shtml

      Simply put the irradiance map is a collection of points in 3d space. When an object within the scene is hit by one of those points it computes the indirect illumination. At this time it looks for points that have similar characteristics that it can share, if not it will create a new information for that point. The point cloud is created by rendering several passes. The first pass which is the lowest quality if you like finds similar points, or compute new ones. The next pass which is better quality repeats the process but skips points that have already been computed. The pass after that is again repeated and skips existing computed points.

      As each pass occurs it becomes higher in resolution, so if the min rate is set to -3, that means for the first pass the resolution is 3 times smaller than the render output. The second pass is 2 times smaller, the third pass is 1 times smaller and the final fourth pass is equal to the resolution. Higher the resolution the better quality. You can control how many stages of quality there are by adjusting the range between the min and max. For example, although not good practice, if the min and max were both at 0 it would only create one pass at full resolution.

  31. Thanx a lot,

    So they are created by total (all light sources) light amount in relation with existing geometry in 3D space of the scene? How they (points)behave? I mean do they “look” for something… like edges, details, areas of shadow etc?

    And second thing. So min rate tells about number of passes etc as You described above, but what max rate does? Why max rate exist in this settings at all if all “job” is done by min rate?

    I’ll vote for You in any election You will take part.

    • Hi,

      The irradiance map point cloud will look for a surface. No the min rate and max rate determine a range. If there is a min rate of -3 and a max rate of 0 that equals to 4 passes. (-3,-2,-1,0) Each one doubling in size and finally becoming 1:1 to the render output on the 4th pass.

  32. hello plz i want lesson pdf by vray 1.5 sp4 for 3ds max 2010 for :render image synthése “HD”,and for mental ray too,think’s brother

  33. Hello Sir This Arun I have more than 1 year experience in 3d visualization ,But I didn”t use gamma in my settings If u can see it in Blog arun3ddesigner.blogspot.com

    ..and finally I want to know day light settings for an interiorscene without gamma pls explain me

    • Hi, Without gamma correction the multipliers for the lights need to be much higher. By doing it this way you are increasing the chances of blown out areas within your render. The daylight settings for say VraySun will be different for every project depending on the time of day and weather conditions you are planning to implement.

  34. Dear James,
    First of all after reading all the messages on the board I wanted to thank you for the support you provide, you’re a king !

    The reason that brought me here is that I moved from mental to vray few month ago and therefore aren’t mastering it yet… I work on really tight deadlines with scene that have a lot a lot of lights involved (vray ones), I do mostly shops, I used your workflow as I am trying by anyway to get a satisfying result without spending ages on photoshop but in vain…in my scene materials appears darker or too bright (tif 2.2 gamma setup done), I have blotches all over the scenes, it takes ages to render even with a dual xeon 6 cores…in all the tutorials i can find on internet, scene has at most ten lights, i have..much more ! so I understand the long render times but not the problem of quality, I can upload an image for you to see and would deeply apreciate to have your opinion as I am really running out of ideas to sort it out !

    All the best,

  35. thank you dear james,
    3dmax2012 with vray sp2.0 rendering I am facing a problem……..the file size is about 60 mb there is coming a window that contains allow catted memory is is low & occurred memory error and one more what is dynamic m, static memory

    • Vray uses dynamic memory and static memory to calculate various processes. These two processes can play against each other over the available system memory. Processes such as displacement use dynamic memory. For heavy scenes that have displacement you can increase the dynamic memory limit to help the rendering process. Increase the default value to around half your available system RAM, memory must be kept free for other processes. Keep in mind that by increasing the dynamic memory limit you are reducing the amount available for the static memory.

  36. thank u for u r great advise, u postings r very help full to me, I have 1gb graphic card,4gb ram,500gb hdd …when i rendered a file with 60 mb of interior scene in3d max2012 with v ray sp2.0 , it didn’t accessing ,………..what should I do? I will send my file to u mail please clarify my problem? ………keep posting

  37. Its a very useful post and hearty thanks, lot of fundamentals got clearer.
    I would like to know the rendering style these chines people uses for architectural rendering of exterior scene and understand the setting for v ray and post process work they do. any help or some link sharing would be of great help

  38. Catalina on said:

    Hi, thanks for the tutorial, it was very helpful, but i’m having a problem with the floor noise, there’s too much and i don´t have any idea of how to fix it..can you help me please?

    • To reduce noise within your scene, increase the shadow subdivsions of your lights, if using glossy materials make sure there is enough subdivions for each material. Also look at your image sampler and DMC sampler settings as these control the overall subdivisions of your scene.

  39. seng on said:

    Sir.i facing a problem with taking rendering.The view appear a lot of noise..can i send the file to you to check?

  40. adrian on said:

    I would like to ask you one thing. In the last interior render I worked with it appeared a yellowish round spot, pretty big, that I can´t find the reason why it shows.
    Thanks for your useful instructions and configuration to render interiors.
    They have help me improve a lot.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

      • adrian on said:

        Hi James,

        I solved it already.
        The problem was an object that I exported that had a extremely high displacement. I didn´t check it´s settings before i rendered and when i saw the weird yellow think i didnt know what to expect.

        Thank you for your interest and your good work with the website.

  41. Hey James! Thank you for the great tutorial!

    I’ve been having issues with my renderings with Vray when dealing with white smooth surfaces, like big white ceilings and walls, for instance.

    The result is never smooth enough, full of darker spots and noise… which settings should I change to try to make these surfaces more uniform?

    Thanks a lot!

    • The image sampler and the DMC sampler control the noise and the irradiance map will control the splotchy areas. Both noise and splotches will become more apparent in areas that are in shadow. As a starting point use Adaptive DMC as the image sampler and increase the max subdivisions, then set the Clr thresh. to a lower value. To reduce splotches within the irradiance map increase the HSph. subdivs and the Interp. samples. The higher you go the smoother the GI will be and you will start to loose shadow detail and contrast.

  42. hello,
    sir, how can i get envirnment skylight illumination through walls?
    for eg. i have a room of 4 walls, interior with no window only few lights from ceiling & camera focus on 2 walls from one corner, so if the 2 walls behind the camera should cast reflections,shadows,g.i, etc and should be visible but i want the skylight to enter the room thus illuminating it and dont want to loose refletions,gi etc of these 2 walls on other objects in the scene of room. sir help needed.
    thanking in advance.

    • With the correct exposure and light intensity you will be able to illuminate the room. What are you render results, are they currently too dark? Also what type of environment light are you using, V-Ray environment colour or VRaySky?

      • sir,
        not to dark but bit foggy and noisy and lacks brightness and contrast but if i delete the behind walls the skylight which is set to 1.0 by defaults enters and produce brightness and good overall illumination , but by deleting the walls i am losing refections,gi,etc of the walls on to others objects in the room.

      • Are you using any exposure control? You should also be using VRaySun and VRaySky or an HDR image as it generates much more illumination than a standard colour in the skylight override.

  43. sir,
    show me some technique to get very good lighting,illumination,good contrast,brightness etc in a closed room of four walls with no window at all for external sun,skylight etc only lighting sources would be internal lighting,though i tried lot of times but i m unable to get good overall lighting as sun skylight improves overall illumination in room, so plz share some tuts or techniques would be great help..!!

  44. Marcello on said:

    Hello my friend I just wanted to tell you that this is the best tutorial for interior settings that I have read. Thanks a lot for this!!! By the way did you make one for exteriors settings or does some parameters works for exteriors?

  45. Razvan on said:

    Hi , very useful tutorial. I also have a question for you, i have an interior scene with just a window, a vray sun coming through and a vraydome with hdri. I have set up my gamma 2.2(also i need to set it before i place the lights or it doesnt matter?) the sun has almost the default values, the dome has a multiplier of 30(my room is something like 12mx5m. I use fixed + mitchel, and a reinhard color mapping with 1,1,2.2. Iradiance map + light cache and some changes to the dmc sampler(lower treshold and more min samples). The final image seems to me to be a bit too dark , all the steps are from an external tutorial and the final image there is more brighter, i can link you the tutorial or if we can talk through email , i can send you the scene and you could give me some pointers.Thx

  46. razvan, try to put a vray plane in front of each of your window- they should be 10 or 6 intensity. see if that fixes your problem. ive followed the instructions above and they were quite helpful, but sometimes my rendering time goes sky high…maybe im missing something. the gamma can be adjusted before or after, doesnt matter, or it didnt seem to matter to me at least.

  47. Cesar on said:

    Thanks for your tutorial, was very helpful for my renders… I have one question, what is ”detail enhancement” exactly for? What is its application?

    • Detail enhancement when switched on makes samples in the most important areas of your scene be calculated using brute force. As the irradiance map calculates in lower resolutions, in some situations areas will not be sampled enough. So an extra brute force pass is added in which runs at full resolution therefore generating better samples.

      • Cesar on said:

        thanks for your answer….. I’m in troubbles and I hope you could help me. I’m making a render of a kitchen and there is only a vray sun and a vray plane in the window with 40-60 of intensity multiplier. I followed your GI settings making irradiance map my primary bounce engine and light cache my secondary bounce engine with all your parameters…. and I tried too many test but there is the same result: when vray is building the light cache, my whole render turns too bright at the final of the process, and at the moment when first prepass is working, my render is almost white (like the sun were inside the kitchen) and I don’t know how to solve it. Help me prease.

      • What are your camera exposure settings? The sun is extremely bright and requires correct exposure settings to avoid blown out lighting.

  48. sir i design 3d work in mental ray…. i want to use v-ray for my 3d work but always i get error or some rendering problem in vray for my wrong settings in vray…..i just see your page about vray render settings and inspire to use vray…..i think now i use vray perfectly…thank u….

  49. Dear Sir.

    I wann thank you for the informations.

    My Rendertimes are in a unuseable state since i moidified it as shown above. I set the same Resolution as u mentioned above and put the same values for a starting point.

    When i render now, i got black splotches everywhere in brighter parts on my Project.
    I use linear Workflow, i used it before i found your tips, too, and that never made the same black things before.

    Can you make a quick guess what i have to fix in Order to get rid of the black Shadow Splotches in my Scene? I could send u a file with the main settings and the issue, if you like to help me out..

    Thanks a lot

  50. sir
    i m doing interior in 3dsmax vray , an d my final output is coming fine, when i save my rendered image in any image format , the saved image seemed to very different b’coz it loses its quality and details.
    plz help me

  51. Hi James,

    Couple of quick questions…

    1. With LC you say number of passes = number of cores? Now is that cores or threads as most things seem to relate to threads which these days is generally twice the number of cores.

    2. Also no mention of detail enhancement, when to and when not to and what the settings do? Is that an oversight or do you feel that most issues can be overcome through the more fundamental settings. Personally I find DE can help a lot in certain circumstances, but it’s a bit trial and error, I’d like to understand it better?

    Cheers, great site by the way.

    • 1. It is actual cores not threads.

      2. Due to the resolution limitations of the irradiance map, you loose a lot of nice shadow detail that you would normally get with a brute force method.

      Detail enhancement brings back some of that nice shadow detail in areas V-Ray thinks it needs it. The radius sets how far the detail enhancement will travel from the initial trouble area. Here you have two options: Screen scale refers to the number of pixels where as world scale refers to actual measured units. Screen scale is the simplest to calculate and is the favoured one to use over world scale which can deliver different results from scene to scene.

      The smaller the radius, the less detail enhancement is used in addition to the irradiance map. If you set the radius to cover your whole scene, you will be using brute force type calculations everywhere which would be slow.

      The multiplier is linked to the HSph subdivisions that has a default of 50. The detail enhancement multiplier has a default of 0.3 which makes it a total of 15 (50 x 0.3). It is important to keep this number in line with other settings such as the min samples in the DMC sampler which is 8 as well as be aware when increasing the HSph subdivisions of the irradiance map. Really the resulting multiplier for the detail enhancement should be around 8 – 12.

      What you may find is that the detail enhancement doesn’t improve the areas you expect it to. It is a half way option between using either irradiance map or brute force, so there are going to be unwanted results in certain scenes as it is not perfect. Increasing the HSph subdivisions and using an AO pass might give better results over detail enhancement. Or now that V-Ray 3.0 is almost out, the speed improvements in brute force make it a viable option over cached rendering solutions.

  52. Wow thanks James for the quick and comprehensive reply.

    Yes, that makes sense as in those scenes that give trouble using DE is sort of last gasp before going unbiased – Brute Force or even Progressive Path and just leaving it go overnight!

    Keep up the good work.


  53. Hi, thank you very much for this! I am a beginner really..I used all your settings and it changed my render time to 5 hours instead of 48! However, it says my model is 91 frames. It takes about 5-6 hrs to do one frame, at this stage I have to save it super quick because as soon as the last rendering square disappears the whole screen goes black and spotty and the new frame starts to render. Could you please advise why I have so many frames? Is this normal? Thank you!

    • You have your time output set to either range or active time segment, this is for rendering animations. For still images you must set it to single. You can find this option in the common 3ds Max render settings.

  54. arjun on said:

    Grt… sir I m a self learner… so can u giv some gud advices… I will send my work pictures to ur mail… please sir help me… may I send my works to your mail..?

  55. Alex on said:

    Hi, great tutorials – I always learn something everytime i visit. Have tried using the above settings for an interior scene as base to work from but it seems bleached out for some reason. Have also applied the settings from the linear workflow and vray physical camera tutorial as well. any ideas? maybe something to do with gamma?

    • Every scene is different so there are no universal settings, Photoshop can be used to enhance the render by adding in more contrast or colour variation.

  56. hi,
    first thanks for the tutorial. improved my renderings a lot. i got one problem though. i am rendering an interior scene with an directional light as sun and 6 point light as artificial lights. they are lightbulbs with kind of an abstract chandelier around them.
    but now i got stains on the walls although the light cache and dmc settings are quite high …
    i got one reflecting metal in the scene with ior 15 but i think the problem are the point lights. with rectangular lights you just can put up the subdivisions, but in the light settings for point lights you cant controll the subdivisons.
    what can i do ?
    thank you very much !

  57. sheena on said:

    I want to ask youuu that ik using vray 3ds max ..the pblm that im facing is the tym i go fr print outs the pixels go out of way n print out comes stretched …. any setting so that my print comes good as it sees in pic ?

  58. Awesome tutorial man… one of the best I have ever seen for not saying the actual best…. I would love to see a tutorial on exterior lighting with Vray without HDRI…
    Thanks a lot

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