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Vray - The Complete Guide

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by Leoš Janek in Czech language @ Maxarea copyright 2009

English translation: Loocas Duber


There are lots of books dedicated to users of 3d programs on our market. Even in the age of massive internet spread to all areas of human activities their need and advantages are outright. Even though there are more and more electronic publications, physical books are, and let's hope will always be, not only library decorations and sort of a personality benchmark, but also very important assistants, that's always quickly at disposal.

While classical genres have their future still quite assured, computer books are more often seen in electronical form or even interactive hypertext publication. The advantages are quite clear, however, I still think that even in this area classical, physically printed, books have their own enchantment and use. Especially books from Ballistic Publishing, whose reviewes could have been seen in PiXEl numerous times, their advantage of their physically printed form is outward.

With computer literature there's one problem – the circle of readers, especially their experience, is extremely broad. Most of the publications then turn to concrete computer programs and their concrete definitions and workflows. Computer artists, designers and animators have learnt touse those books, source information off of them and together with tutorials, that are available on the internet, on DVDs or any other online form, they included them in their methods of self-education. Due to the ever growing supply of online educational materials the good printed books are growing thinner rapidly. Many publications are also dedicated to beginners, broad community or amateurs, who want to start with the given program. It's mainly due to the fatct that such books sell better, but also due to the lack of expert authors. Books, that are aimed at advanced users or experts are very rare, even those in digital form.


Thanks to server maxarea.com (where a contest is being held with one of the books as a prize) we got our hands on a unique book from an Italian author, Francesco Legrenzi with a simple name: Vray: THE COMPLETE GUIDE.

The book is unique not only by its unconventional coverage, but also by its content. It contents almost a thousand pages, 2300 illustrations and 3200 rendered images, the dimensions are 20x28x5 cm, which is almost an A4 size and weights almost 3 kilograms. As the name suggests, it's dedicated to the famed and most popular GI renderer – Vray and it's the first book, that completely and in great detail maps this tool. Thanks to that the book offers a unique repository for all specialists in the rendering field. While all the other books of the similar kind even those in electronical form suffer from an excessive briefness, shortened or missing feature explanations, this book covers everything that Vray includes, in detail and nicely explained and illustrated. Thanks to that you don't have to look up individual parameters' features and explanations or test those via trial-error in your scenes.

The book had been in the making for over two years and from the ground up it was being made with an objective to address even those experienced and advanced users. The author didn't want to create a mere definition of parameters and commands, but a complex explanation compounded of technical and theoretical parts. All pictures and renders are made especially for this book. The book also includes a DVD with all the images and animations for continual study.

The size and weight of the book has one big advantage – the book is wrapped in very quality and hard spine and a perfect binding. Even though it has over a thousand pages it's possible to have it elegantly and without hassle open on any page – the binding holds it fixed, doesn't break, pages don't accidentaly turn.

Surely, you need a bit more space for the book and it's not meant to have it on you in a train for example (even though many notebooks weight about 3kg and are similarly sized). The print quality is great, the pages are just thick – not too thick, not too thin, the paper weight was also chosen wisely. In short, on this side there's nothing to reprehend to the book.

Due to that the author worked on the book for over two years, it's clear that the book doesn't cover the most recent version of the program. The book covers Vray 1.47.03, which was for a long time very much used and stable release of Vray. Presently, Vray is in its 1.5R Final SP3 version, but there are additional information in the book describing minor differences in the versions. The user who knows Vray, knows that there hadn't been a great leap and difference between those versions and thus the book is very well suited for current users as well. The book was released in two languages: italian (due to the author's nationality) and english.


Book is fission into ninth chaps. Chapter 1 - Introduction, chapter 2 - The complete story of Computer Graphics, chapter 3 - Vray Renderer part 1, chapter 4 - Vray Renderer part 2, chapter 5 - Vray: Material and Maps, chapter 6 - Cameras and Lights, chapter 7 - Vray: Object and Environments, chapter 8 - Render Elements and chapter 9 - Updates.

First chapter presents himself books, author, textures books, contains information thereof what it is Vray, information about add DVD, hardware configuration necessary for Vray operation as well as acknowledgments co-author and friends and warning on web pages books. Further is here described user interface VRaye with well - arranged display of all interactive panel.

Second chapter with apply to at first sight common topics - story computerized graphic art. Chapter is purposely fission on two parts - common story (with exaggeration from of the year 1200 B.C. until of the year 2005) and story of Vray (from of the year 2001 till up present). Of that division yourself but evidently reader in books look through and has so sensation fluent concurrence history of renderer on common history story graphic art, which is certain unloading in otherwise throughout technical books.

Third chapter already strictly impinges into technical description and theoretic. Contains, namely at great length, these below - chaps: Frame Buffer, Global Switches, Image Sampler (AA), Global Illumination, Quasi Monte Carlo, Irradiance Map, Photon Map, Ligh Cache and fluently continues in like spirit into chaps fourth, namely sub-chaps Environment, Caustics, rQMC Sampler, Color Mapping, Camera, Default Displacement, Vray Displacement Mod and System. Vray understanding Readers certainly identified, that These are all pivotal areas interactive windows for rendering setting. Author always single chaps introduces, describe and then with in extenso apply to everyone parameter and setting, whereas its version etch in exhibit, rendering with different setting, explanatory note and theoretic archways and remark, which frequently contain valuable counsel and recommendation.

Fifth chapter with apply to material and map, since Vray is not only a mere algorithm for calculation 3D scenes, but contains and crucial tools for production realist material, that are subsequently at computer rendering algorithm processed. Subject contains these below - sub-chaps: VRay Mtl, VRay MtlWrapper, VRayLightMtl, VRay2SidedMtl, VRayBlendMtl, VRayFastSSS, VRayOverrideMtl, VRayMap, VRayHDRI, VRayDirt, VRayEdgeTex, VRayBmpFilter, VRayColor a VRayCompTex.

Sixth chapter with apply to special "non renderable" object - cameras and lights, without this would too VRay wasn't thereby, wherewith is. Here again they are at sb.'s command below - chaps: relatively voluminous with introductory theory apply to passage Theory, follow topics VrayPhysicalCamera, VRayLight and VRayShadows and specific thing as VrayShadow a VRayLight and VRaySun and VRaySky.

Seventh chapter describes special and single - purpose objects and render function: VRayProxy (alternative objects for iterative geometry), VrayPlane (infinitely level), VrayFur (system for production not only sheen and hair but possibly and graminoids), VrayToon (for cartoon) a VraySphereFade (special tool for composition animated object).

Eighth chapter is identified everyone, who know, that rendering himself is not exit for the work. Resulting picture is in professional study along working postprodukcion, and this suit is very easement by the help of rendering into layer. A the with too this chapter apply to.

Ninth chapter is presentation last version of Vray, which with detected during production those voluminous publication. They are in she mentioned all different from characteristics these of three version: Vray 1.5 RC3, Vray 1.5 Final and Vray 1.5 Final SP1 and SP2.


The worldwide community, using Vray, counts tens of thousands of people. Legrenzi's book is designated to every single one of them. It addresses beginners, wanting to learn and master one of the first and still one of the most used renderers in the world, but it also addresses specialists or experienced users, who will, thanks to the book, solve not one complex problems, extend their views or revive forgotten features. Even experts can be pushed a bit further with this book. The book is a great educational tool, but also a great way to answer a question. Even though it's not available in the electronic form, and thus the searching capabilities might seem a bit harder, the lucidity and graphical labelling in the book are absolutely sufficient so that the reader can quickly find what they're looking for. The complete guide to Vray shouldn't be missing in any studio, where this great renderer is being used. We can hardly expect a translation to the czech language, but I believe, that the users of 3d software have gotten used to and don't consider this as a defect. Besides, I'd be hardly looking for any defects on this great book.

by Leoš Janek in Czech language @ Maxarea copyright 2009

English translation: Loocas Duber


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