Mar 28

UPDATE: I have an alternative to this post here: if you would like to learn more in depth about what each setting does within VRay, with examples. If you’re after just some quick settings though then read on…

Here is what we’ve ( have found works for rendering settings using vray. There are many stories on various forums on what makes a difference, but I hope these settings will get people started and able to use vray for production output; which are primarily what these settings are for. However if you need more information as always visit the chaos forums. (

There are 2 other key methods, adaptive and using pure brute force for animation passes which I’m hoping to put in another post… watch this space and I’ll put a link to it when I get 5mins off the work computer!

So the following goes through the 2 all important tabs within the vray renderer, “vray” and “indirect illumination” tabs. The common tab you should know from a basic knowledge of max, of which I will not go into here.

So firstly there is the vray tab which is broken into the key elements as follows:

vray rendering tab 1

1. When using the vray displacement modifier (will increase rendering times) you may want to use this global checkbox to turn on and off displacement.

2. You don’t need default lights- just confuses things in a lit scene.

3. Adaptive subdivision is suitable for most. If you have really fine framing/ lines or shadow detail you may want to use Adaptive DMC (we use this generally now).

4. I use area to give a slight blur to fit with our background plates so it looks less CG, but depends on the type of sharpness you want for your image. Experiment and read the descriptions of each.

5. These 2 values alter your lines and edge definition. Think antialiasing. -1 to 2 will give you pretty sharp edges, much more and you’ll boost your render time quite a lot.
If using DMC 1 to 5 is pretty good quality. I use 1 to 3 for a lot of animation because you’ll never see a difference. Region render test and see whether you notice the difference, if not then go for th quicker render times.
Also check object outline.

General tips for 6, 7 and 8 are try turning your lights off, then adjust individually . This can be easier to see what is having what effect on the scene…
Also remember if you have a material in the slot it makes the colour swatch and multiplier obsolete. The material slot tick must be unchecked for these to come into effect.

6. In your material browser either grab a spherical bitmap, vray sky or HDRI map.
This slot controls the Global illumination on your model. If it’s a bright red sunset then your model will appear red or pink from the light this map will give off. If using a vray sky the angle and intensity of your sun will come into effect through use in this slot, unless the vray sky is manually overridden.
You can then click and drag from the mat editor to this slot and make an instance this means you can control GI from your mat browser easily.

7. This is what will be reflected in your glass etc. You can make an instance of the GI above this, but I like to have more control over reflection, and associated brightness of each.

8. Refraction is important if say viewing the corner of a glass building, where you will see through to alpha. This slot determines what you will see through to. If it’s black then it’ll be pure alpha (generally what you want), but if you are using the GI map as a background then you should copy this background here, otherwise your glass will appear black.

9. Usually leave as reinhard where a brightness multiplier of 1 will give you a result like linear or contrasty result and lower values will flatten the image and can help to bring back blown highlights. Run it as high as you can without blowing areas to full white to give you options in post-production.

10. If you find very sharp white blocks of light on your renders ticking sub-pixel mapping and/ or clamp output can help to remedy this. There is a really good section on this in the Vray manual that explains it better and generally, in a roundabout way, recommends ticking these. If using linear workflow don’t worry about clamping the output; despite popular belief white is white and there is no range past this.

11. This motion blur doesn’t come into effect if using a Vray physical camera, it’s all in the camera modifier settings using the shutter speed.

vray rendering tab 2

1. This is what happens on the first light bounce (primary). Set to irradiance map. The “show samples” checkbox will show you what it is sampling.

2. Set to light cache for the secondary light bounces. If you want to see the product of each of these 2 types of bounces turn each on individually and test.

3. Low for testing, medium generally, medium animation for animation. The difference in animation is in the “dist thresh” which will smooth things out if you get the dreaded flicker in your animations. Run higher if your render times are acceptable, but visually test a range and if you don’t notice a difference then go for the quicker option always.

4. 20 is low, 50 very high. Generally 20-40 is fine depending on testing or production.
Run this on low 15 20 for production high res stills, remember this is resolution dependant so the smaller the image the higher the subdivs must be to sample the detail. If you run 50 subdivs on a 5k image your wasting your time.

5. Interp samples just evens blotchiness caused by the samples. 20 is fairly sharp and generally what you would keep it on, but you might notice some blotches on some large surfaces. A value of 100 will smooth these out, but will make the render “soft” or undefined and will increase render times.

6. This can increase corner etc details as (if I remember correctly) it uses brute force in the more heavily sampled areas. This will significantly increase render times.

7. Single frame for stills and some animation. If you have problems with flicker and nothing’s animated moving in the scene it’s better to set to multiframe incremental and “bake” the GI to a seperate GI file (the differences are explained well in the vray manual)

8. 500 for quick, 1000-3000 production. Will send your RAM through the roof on complex scenes so watch your task manager and test a good value.

9. 0.02-0.01 for scene, and 10-100mm for world (depending on what you chose in 10 next)

10. Scene is good for stills, but can show as a moire pattern that doesn’t move on large surfaces. So for animation sometimes world is better, but alas sometimes gives you a more blotchy result.

11. Pre-filter can be used to smooth out the light-cache result, but can add to render times, so leave it off if you can get away with it. Definitely tick light-cache for glossy rays this saves huge amounts of time on scenes using glossy materials.

12. Single frame, but again (like 7) can be set to fly-through to “bake” the GI to reduce flicker. But of course if you have moving objects in the scene you would have to use single frame, or separate these objects as a separate pass and combine in post-production.

13. Tick both.

14. Tick both. However, you may want to uncheck show calc phase when sending off to render. There is a little bug in Vray were this occasionally sends the RAM through the roof when show calc phase is checked.

As I said this will get you started and give a general feel for the settings in Vray. We actually use the adaptive method now as this gives you finer shadow detail and bake all static scenes, and brute force on animated objects only and combine in post, but that’s another post when I get a spare 5 mins! Enjoy!

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32 Responses to “Vray renderer settings”


    thanks yar

  2. Byberg Says:

    Thanks, this really help a bunch! :D:D

  3. yoursnavin Says:

    nice post…

  4. h3d0 Says:

    Thank you very much!

    In 10 min I’ve understood everything I needed! Cheers

  5. freeHugs Says:

    hey thank you for valuble info

  6. parasu609 Says:

    I was in pursue with this rendering stuff. This really helps me a lot. Thank you very much

  7. Pratik Mehta Says:

    I liked your settings.
    well i am trying to make a n exterior night view by using HDRI and a i am having problem on the objects on which i have applied white material. those objects are affecting very much by the blue tint but i do not want it that much.I did try to control it bye reducing CAST GI and RECEIVE GI individually but am still not being able to cntrol it.
    Can u please suggest me something on this.

  8. James Shaw Says:

    There are a few solutions to this…

    A lot of night time HDRI’s are pretty strong. But that’s probably because we all have a tendency to up the multiplier too much on them to get something in the render, when in reality it would be pretty close to black. Maybe turn the brightness down on this and delve more into the black range?

    If your material is white, then it’ll reflect the full tint of the light you are casting, obviously, because it is white. You could try and reduce the reflectivity of this material or turn on Fresnel reflections to spread this reflection?

    Or what we often do at the office is use a mix material between an HDRI and either vray sky or bitmap etc to reduce or mix the colour bleed with something that might dull it down or change the colour very specifically. You can drag this mix material into the GI slot in vray, and either use this again in the reflection shot or another map that you want specifically for reflections.

    Hope that helps.

  9. Ray Says:

    Thx for the clear explanation. I knew most of the settings but also learned something new :)

  10. Backlink software Says:

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  11. James Shaw Says:

    Hi “BackLink”, go for it!

  12. yasin Says:


  13. DUNDE Says:

    This sets really helps me a lot but i have problem with plants: trees , grass etc.
    After rendering animation, buildings and another architectural stuff likes good but natural stuff flickers, I did try bit AA , difference was minimal.
    Natural is VProxy after defualt export, all Proxy have turn off GI generate in VR Properties and set NONE in Filtering bitmap material for to faster rendering.
    Do You have any idea what to change??

  14. James Shaw Says:

    Flickering is caused by GI received. Because the planting is usually very fine detail you would need to really ramp up your settings to prevent this with single frame rendering (see my other more extensive post on this, linked at the top). AA won’t make much difference in this case. And turning “generate” GI won’t make any difference as it’s in the “receiving” of GI splotches from the scene that’s your problem.

    The simplest way to solve this is bake out your GI. Anything non-animated you should always bake. You will save time by being able to run your settings lower and add incrementally to your IR and LC maps. If you don’t know how to do this give me a yell here and I’ll run over it. It’s essentially saving out IR and LC maps to a file every say 10 frames and then using these files when rendering.

  15. DUNDE Says:

    Thx for You response , could You look at the settings and render finals. I visit many places in web but You first response for animate settings. I know how bake GI but maybe I’m doing something wrong can.
    Thank you very much again.

  16. James Shaw Says:

    OK give this a shot…
    – First turn filtering on bitmaps back on and everything should receive and give GI… default settings.
    – Change LC to screen instead at 2000 and 0.01, store direct light, turn off pre-filter and int samples to 10.
    – DMC sampler adaptive amount to .85
    – System Dynamic Mem to 1/4 your RAM, so is 8G, put in 2000. This is only used for displacement.
    – Antialiasing to area 1.5
    – DMC to 1 and 6 and uncheck use DMC and change colour thresh to 0.01

    See if those help, although some are to do with making your render faster, not flickering. ;-)
    Also what resolution are you running?
    Good luck!

  17. DUNDE Says:

    You suggestions work very well , LS and AA change give exelente effect.
    Thank a lot. Resolution NTSC 720×480.

  18. James Shaw Says:

    No problem DUNDE. I suspect it was more the LC. If set on world then it’ll put samples over 0.1m (or whatever you set it) over the entire depth of your scene, and this creates a lot of noise and is slow. For large scenes with lots of detail, always use screen on LC. You can also then run this quite high subdivs, around 2000.

  19. shabeer Says:


  20. DUNDE Says:

    Hi again. Finally I use for animation render IRR and BRUTE FORCE in secondary light bounces . less testing than with the LC and the same efect so maybe a better time rendering similar.

  21. James Shaw Says:

    Wow! That’s not a recommended way at all! You’ll get a lot of noise with that and flicker with IRR still. If you are doing animation try brute force as primary and LC as secondary (set to screen and about 2000 subdivs). This is what the VRay manual suggests and we use it for our animation passes at Squint and it works every time.

  22. DUNDE Says:

    Hi James I set BF and LC an have this result- AA and DMC Sampler is the same , IRR srt Medium-anim and BF Subdivision= 40 in the same cases.

  23. DUNDE Says:

    Thank you very much for your patience. Animation looks like finally it is not Hollywood, but The client accepted this result. ;)

  24. Vivek Says:

    Hello James,
    I need a help from you please can you send me your email ID ?
    its about render setting of a 7km long road. external . to remove flickers.



  25. James Shaw Says:

    What’s the problem? Can you just post it here? Flickers are usually a GI issue and can be solved by baking the GI to files. Have you tried baking the GI solution?

  26. surender Says:


    how to control colour bleeding????

  27. James Shaw Says:

    Control your colour bleed with your materials. More reflective and higher saturation materials will have more spread and vice versa.

  28. frednork Says:

    thanks for the setting, for ages ive been using a low setting on IR map and thought I must be doing something wrong as I couldn’t see the point in any of the higher settings for the time tradeoff. Nice to see i was not alone!

  29. H.Abdul Gafoor Says:

    Hey Jamesshaw.

    Thanks for your teaching vray setting. i need time saving rendering. how can we possible. if you have please send your settings to my mail

  30. James Shaw Says:

    Hi H.Abdul.

    Well that’s a fairly complicated question without information! ;-)

    These settings are really pretty ordinary and low, so if you’re having problems with render times, it probably lies with your materials and/ or lights. Check you haven’t got any standard or architectural materials in the scene. There’s a good script on to select all objects in a scene without VRay materials that you can use, or a converter to convert all standard materials into VRay.

    Checking lights as well. Many lights will kill a scene, so use strategically and sparingly. Also check the subdivs on lights, you can usually get away with 8. Use 16 for very key lights and downgrade background lights to 4 subdivs. You can also use attenuation to kill lights at a certain distance.

    I have another post on VRay materials you may want to read and check you have no wild materials there with enormous amounts of reflection/ refraction glossiness etc. There’s also a more in depth rendering settings post you should check out at the top of this post to get some custom settings for your scene.

    Hope that helps.

  31. Ashfakh Says:

    2012 vary there is some problem on coloring it shows gama correction
    we can get actual color what we gave

  32. James Shaw Says:

    Not sure what you mean Ashfakh? Can you can you not get the colour you wish? If you’re talking about the HDR image you can change the colouring of that with a colour correct override. Or if the scene needs changing colour overall (i.e. it is too blue) because it hasn’t been white balanced, just do this with the white balance on the VRay camera. Hope that helps?