Vray + Photoshop Notes


Rhino Setup:

  • Make sure your model has a FLOOR to reflect light. If necessary use the VRAY INFINITE PLANE in the Vray toolbar.
  • Navigate to your desired view and adjust the CAMERA LENS LENGTH, View > Viewport Properties . Replace default 50mm with 15 – 25mm.
  • SAVE YOUR VIEW! View > Set View > Named Views > Save As…
  • To match Vray’s viewport with Rhino’s File > Properties > Render > Check ‘Viewport resolution’.


Open VRAY OPTIONS from Vray Toolbar

Basic Vray Setup:

  • Navigate to OUTPUT. Define your test render setting. Enter approx 600px width and click ‘GET VIEW ASPECT’ (800px and higher is too slow for test render. Final render should be 2000-4000px)
  • Navigate to CAMERA. Make sure ‘PHYSICAL CAMERA ON’ is ticked. Adjust SHUTTER SPEED to change brightness of image. The higher the value the faster the shutter speed/darker the image. (Around 50 if no other lights, around 200-300 if using Sun)
  • Use LENS SHIFT to correct verticals to straight when looking up or down.


  • Use SHUTTER SPEED to control brightness not lights! Lighting is simply a balance between various light sources.
  • Navigate to ENVIRONMENT. GI (skylight) is the Global Illumination or atmospheric light (Light from all directions, won’t provide shadow). Increase the multiplier value, next to the m button, to increase intensity.
  • If using a SUN, increasing GI will lighten your shadows. If you want the a more realistic GI environment when using a SUN system open the Texture editor for GI by clicking the m button. Using the drop down menu on the left choose TexSky and Choose which sun you want to reference.
  • To add a SUN click ‘ADD SUNLIGHT SYSTEM’ on Vray Toolbar in Rhino. Choose the desired altitude and direction and after clicking OK make sure you place the SUN object in Rhino(location doesn’t matter).
  • For other Lights click the drop down arrow on the RECTANGULAR LIGHT icon. You constantly need to balance light intensity (between GI,SUN and OBJECT LIGHTS) to make sure lights aren’t over powering each other. Change object lights intensity by selecting them in Rhino and edit their object properties.

Render Quality (Anti-aliasing):

  • You should have two render settings. One for test renders and one for final renders.
  • Navigate to IMAGE SAMPLER. The lower the Subdivs the less samples per pixel = less quality more speed.
  • Test Render: Choose Type ADAPTIVE SUBDIVISION, Min Rate -1 & Max Rate 0
  • Final Render: Choose Type ADAPTIVE DMC, Min Subdivs 1 & Max Subdivs (4,8 or 16 depending on how high you want quality, 4 is generally high enough)

Light Quality:

  • Navigate to INDIRECT ILLUMINATION, Change secondary bounce to LIGHT CACHE (Brute Force is better but slower)
  • Turn on AMBIENT OCCLUSION to add darker edge definition effect. Increase Subdivs to reduce ambient occlusion noise.


Open MATERIAL EDITOR from Vray Toolbar

  • Right click on Scene Materials and choose CREATE MATERIAL > STANDARD (Make sure to name the material)
  • To add an texture image click on the ‘m’ next to Color and in the texture editor drop down choose ‘TexBitmap’
  • Add a reflective layer by right clicking on the material CREATE LAYER > REFLECTIVE
  • To assign material right click on material and choose ‘Assign material to selection’ or ‘Assign material to layer’ (Try to base your Rhino model layers by different materials)

Texture Mapping:

  • To control scale and rotation of your textures, assign the material to an object and select the object in Rhino.
  • Navigate to OBJECT PROPERTIES, select the 3rd icon at the the top TEXTURE MAPPING > BOX MAPPING, draw a box around your object and hit ENTER for a start  texture dimensions.
  • Click the SHOW MAPPING icon to control scale, rotation and placement with GUMBALL



In the Vray Options Menu navigate to VFB CHANNELS

As well as RGB color and Alpha select the following:


  • Lighting
  • Material ID
  • Reflection
  • Shadow
  • ZDepth

When you save from Vray choose the SAVE ALL IMAGE CHANNELS and save as PNG

Make sure to Output a MAKE 2D line drawing to Illustrator


Import multiple layers into one image, FILE > SCRIPTS > LOAD FILES INTO STACK


  • Use MATERIAL ID Layer and magic wand to quickly select all areas of the same material
  • Create a Layer mask for each material to save selection
  • Use adjustment layers instead of permanent adjustments
  • Ctrl + 0 = Maximize image to screen
  • Ctrl + Alt + Shift + E = Duplicate all layers and merge into a new flat layer (for quick large effects)


  • Open the ADJUSTMENTS menu on the right panel and add a LEVELS ADJUSTMENT
  • Click on the Eye dropper filled with white white drop , select the LIGHTEST part of your image
  • Click on the Eye dropper filled with black blaock drop, select the DARKEST part of your image
  • Drag the arrows on either side of the histogram inwards so there is no flat color histo


  • Select your top layer and CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + E to make new duplicate total layer
  • Desaturate layer (SHIFT + CRTL + U)
  • Add a blank layer mask (at the bottom of layer panel layer mask)
  • Select brush tool with large radius, set hardness to 0%, color BLACK, OPACITY 10%
  • Paint color back into focus areas of image. Work gradually, changes should be subtle


This will help your material to not be so flat

  • Use magic wand on your MATERIAL ID layer to select all areas with that material (contiguous should be unchecked at the top)
  • Hit layer mask button layer mask to create a new layer with a layer mask of your selection
  • Change layer blending type (at the top of layer panel) from NORMAL to OVERLAY
  • Select brush tool, set hardness to 0%, color BLACK, OPACITY 10%
  • Paint areas you wants to actively darken/burn (dirt or soft shadow effect)
  • Select brush tool, set hardness to 0%, color WHITE, OPACITY 10%
  • Paint areas you wants to highlight/dodge (shine effect)



  • Navigate to ADJUSTMENT panel on screen right, select BRIGHTNESS/ CONTRAST to create new adjustment layer
  • Select the blank layer mask box on in layer panel  layer mask, CTRL + I to invert mask to all black
  • Using the POLYGON LASSO tool select very roughly the area you want to have a lighting effect, INVERT (CTRL + I) to white the selected area on you layer mask. (ALT + Click on layer mask to view full size)
  • Click on the adjustment layer symbol on the layer asd, raise the brightness
  • Click on the layer mask box  layer mask Adjust the FEATHER to diffuse the edges of the selection (You may need to rise this to 100px+)


  • Navigate to ADJUSTMENT panel on screen right, select BRIGHTNESS/ CONTRAST to create new adjustment layer
  • Using the BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST adjustment darken the whole image ALOT
  • Select brush tool with large radius, set hardness to 0%, color BLACK, OPACITY 20%
  • Paint the original image back in in starting from the center working your way out, leave the edges of the image dark to create VIGENETTE effect


  • Select your top layer and CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + E to make new duplicate total layer
  • Blur the new layer enough for to be out of focus, FILTER > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR
  • Add a layer mask to new layer layer mask
  • Select Z-Depth black and white image (Output from Vray VFB Channels)
  • Lasso select entire image and copy CTRL +C
  • ALT + Click on Layer mask of blurred layer to bring up full size layer mask.
  • Paste (Ctrl +V) Z-Depth mask into blur layer, layer mask.
  • Image should subtle blur things in the distance according to your Z-depth mask


  • Duplicate area layer you want to soften (CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + E if you want soften everything)
  • Blur entire layer FILTER > BLUR > GAUSSIAN BLUR, Radius should be set to blur everything considerably but not beyond recognition
  • Set blending mode of blurred layer to OVERLAY
  • Significantly increase the brightness of blur layer to reduce excessive contrast!
  • Reduce the saturation of blur layer to reduce excessive saturation increase!


  • Duplicate area layer you want to enhance detail of (CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + E if you want everything duplicated onto flat layer)
  • FILTER > OTHER > HIGH PASS, Adjust the radius so it shows just edge details
  • Change layer blending mode to SOFT LIGHT
  • Control intensity with layer opacity


Create new blank layer

  • Change layer blending mode to OVERLAY
  • Select brush tool with large radius, set hardness to 0%, color WHITE, OPACITY 5-10%
  • Paint areas of atomospheric lighting (adjust brush color slightly to provide a warm or color tint to lighting) Lots of subtle strokes that add up work best





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s