Chaos has released V-Ray 6 for 3ds Max Update 1, the latest version of the production renderer.
Despite the small change in version number – it’s officially V-Ray 6.01 for 3ds Max – it’s a wide-ranging update, adding new features to the VFB, V-Ray Decal, the V-Ray physical camera, and V-Ray lights.
The release also implements Intel’s Open Path Guiding library when rendering on CPU, a new compressed textures mode to reduce memory usage when rendering on GPU, and AI upscaling in V-Ray Denoiser.
Visual effects artists get initial USD export, making it possible to export V-Ray materials, lights and cameras to other host applications in USD format.
VFB: new options for masking lens effects and post-processing self-illuminating objects
The V-Ray Frame Buffer (VFB) gets several new features in V-Ray 6 for 3ds Max Update 1, including the option to apply masks to Lens Effects and Denoiser layers to adjust the look of rendered output.
In addition, Light Mix, V-Ray’s system for relighting renders inside the VFB, now supports VRayLightMtl, V-Ray’s light-emitting material, making it possible to adjust the look of self-illuminating objects.
Updates to V-Ray Decal, the physical camera, lights and procedural clouds
Other updates to existing toolsets include support for cylindrical projection in texture projection system V-Ray Decal, making it possible to project textures onto curved surfaces like bottles and jars.
The projection also now respects surface bump mapping: among other things, making it possible to use V-Ray Decal to mimic the look of stickers or embossed lettering on the surface of an object.
The V-Ray Physical Camera gets a new proportions layer, making it possible to display composition guides, including overlays showing the rule of thirds and the golden ratio, directly in the viewport.
It is also now possible to override resolution and aspect ratio on a per-camera basis, making it possible to set up different resolutions and aspect ratios for each camera in a scene.
Users can also now set custom decay properties for V-Ray Lights, making it possible to create more stylised, non-physically-accurate lighting effects.
In addition, the new procedural cloud system introduced in V-Ray 6 for 3ds Max gets the option to use a random seed to generate clouds, a new cloud density parameter, and controls for generating contrails.
Rendering: support for OpenPGL, updates to V-Ray GPU, and AI upscaling in V-Ray Denoiser
Under the hood, the CPU render engine now supports Open PGL, Intel’s Open Path Guiding Library, with an option to enable it in the Light Cache rollout.
The library, also recently integrated into Blender 3.4, prioritises light paths that interact with surfaces in the scene, helping a render to resolve to an acceptably low level of noise more quickly.
The GPU render engine gets a new Compressed Textures mode to reduce memory footprint: according to Chaos, it “uses 50% less GPU memory [on average when rendering] assets with 4K textures”.
V-Ray GPU also now supports Material ID, Cryptomatte and Multimatte render elements for refractive surfaces, the new translucency modes in VRayMtl, and the VRayClipper‘s mesh mode,
In addition, the V-Ray Denoiser now supports Nvidia’s AI-based upscaling technology.
When upscaling is enabled, the render is calculated internally at quarter resolution, and the denoised image upscaled to full resolution, cutting render times – in theory, without significant loss of visual quality.
General performance improvements include “up to 30% faster” rendering of V-Ray Environment Fog, and “faster loading for heavy scenes”.
Pipeline integration: initial USD export
It is also now possible to export USD files – USD import having been added in 2021 – making it easier to use V-Ray for 3ds Max in VFX pipelines based around the Universal Scene Description format.
Users can now export V-Ray materials, lights and cameras in USD format to transfer them to other compatible host applications: the Maya and Houdini editions of V-Ray have supported USD since V-Ray 5 Update 1.
Chaos describes the 3ds Max implentation as providing “initial USD export”, and there are a number of things that it isn’t currently possible to export in USD format, including render settings and light instances.
You can find a list of current limitations in the online documentation.
New features for collaborative workflows via Chaos Cloud
Outside the core application, the new workflow introduced in V-Ray 6 for 3ds Max for sending renders to Chaos Cloud directly from the VFB to solicit feedback from clients or collaborators has been extended.
Users can now add visual annotations, including lines and arrows, to both still images and image sequences; and Chaos Cloud now supports versions and A/B comparisons.
Pricing, system requirements and release date
V-Ray 6.01 for 3ds Max is compatible with 3ds Max 2018+ on Windows 10+. It is available rental-only.
V-Ray Solo subscriptions cost $77.90/month or $466.80/year, V-Ray Premium costs $144.90/month or $694.80/year, and V-Ray Enterprise costs $598.80/year. See a comparison of subscription plans here.
Read an overview of the new features in V-Ray for 3ds Max on Chaos Group’s website
Read a full list of new features in V-Ray 6 for 3ds Max Update 1 in the online release notes
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