Photographic Renderingwith V-Ray for SketchUpAn all-inclusive guide to creating a photo qualityV-Ray render for SketchUpBrian BradleyBIRMINGHAM - MUMBAI
Photographic Rendering with V-Ray for SketchUpCopyright 2014 Packt PublishingAll rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior writtenpermission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embedded incritical articles or reviews.Every effort has been made in the preparation of this book to ensure the accuracyof the information presented. However, the information contained in this book issold without warranty, either express or implied. Neither the author, nor PacktPublishing, and its dealers and distributors will be held liable for any damagescaused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this book.Packt Publishing has endeavored to provide trademark information about all of thecompanies and products mentioned in this book by the appropriate use of capitals.However, Packt Publishing cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.First published: March 2014Production Reference: 1100314Published by Packt Publishing Ltd.Livery Place35 Livery StreetBirmingham B3 2PB, UK.ISBN 978-1-84969-322-6www.packtpub.comCover Image by Brian Bradley ([email protected])
CreditsAuthorBrian BradleyCopy EditorsRoshni BanerjeeSarang ChariReviewersMatthew BohneJoel BradleyAdithi ShettyProofreadersRoss CantrellSimran BhogalMathieu GodetMaria GouldTom HankinsAmeesha GreenPaul HindleAcquisition EditorsMartin BellRebecca PedleyContent Development EditorArvind KoulIndexerMehreen DeshmukhGraphicsYuvraj MannariAbhinash SahuTechnical EditorsPragnesh BilimoriaPooja NairProduction CoordinatorManu JosephNikhil PotdukheCover WorkProject CoordinatorWendell PalmerManu Joseph
About the AuthorBrian Bradley is a self-taught 3D artist and Training Author who startedexperimenting with creative software and 3D applications back in 1993. By themid 90s, he was running his own small multimedia business working on projectsas diverse as corporate logos, graphic design for clothing and vehicles, as well asdeveloping full product and architectural visualization projects.In 2007, he turned the attention of his family-run studio toward full-time productionof CG Training, focusing initially on 3ds Max along with the mental ray and V-Rayrender engines. In 2012, he joined the ranks of Training Authors producing coursefor the lynda.com online training library, producing (among others) V-Ray-basedcourses for 3ds Max, Maya, and of course, SketchUp.Recently, Brian and his team have completed a revamp of the vrayelite.comwebsite that they run and they plan to work at slowly but surely expanding boththe level and quality of training and content that it houses.
AcknowledgementWhile there are a lot of people that I could sincerely acknowledge as havingplayed a part in my being able to ultimately write this book, many of them ofcourse coming from the world wide CG community, I am going to keep thingssimple and say a huge and heartfelt thank you to anyone and everyone that hashad a positive influence on my life.At the top of that list would of course come my wife Karen and son Joel who haveborne the brunt of many frustrating days and nights spent trying to get computerhardware and software to work in perfect harmony in the pursuit of art and creativity.Not only have they themselves been an inspiration as regards perseverance, but alsoin terms of creativity, providing a never ending flow of observations, suggestions,and where ever beneficial, even criticisms. To you, I say, "Drinks all round".There is also one honorable mention that I would like to make with regards to ourown inspiration in becoming trainers and educators in the CG world. Many yearsago we stumbled across, what was at the time a brand new site, giving away highquality computer graphics training to anyone who would write and ask for it. Thesite was 3dbuzz.com and in the years that followed, the inspiration from that team,especially Jason Busby and Zak Parrish, is something for which I will always begrateful and remember fondly.Thank you all for reading; this is Brian Bradley saying take care, and bye for now.
About the ReviewersMatthew Bohne is currently a fourth year architecture student at the RhodeIsland School of Design. His interests include interdisciplinary methods of working,including conceptual architectural drawing, as a vehicle to subvert and expand uponarchitectural discourse and ideas of imagination, ritual, and narration. He recentlywas a finalist in the international Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition.Joel Bradley is a self-taught 3D generalist and training instructor, who has beenusing 3D, image editing, and graphic design applications since the age of nine.Spending 10 years working as a partner in his family-run multimedia and trainingbusiness has given him the opportunity to develop skills and insight into the waypeople and production processes work, as well as affording the opportunity towork in a diverse number of industry areas including the production of contentfor the web, print, video, and interactive applications to name just a few.In recent years, he has been enjoying the focus and challenge of helping others getto grips with the software tools and design principles that he loves as a full-timeTraining Author producing 3ds Max and Blender titles for both lynda.com andinfiniteskills.com.
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Ross Cantrell graduated from SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) in2012 with his BFA in Animation. He is a 3D digital artist with a focus on lighting,compositing, modeling, and rigging. Since his graduation from SCAD, he hasworked as a 3D artist and compositor within the television industry on shows andcommercials for Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, and Sprout. He has also workedwithin the film industry producing 3D stereoscopic animation for NationalGeographic. Ross currently works for TRICK 3D producing photorealistic imagesand animations for Delta depicting commercial airline interiors for marketing andadvertising use.Mathieu Godet is a French 3D artist specialized in modeling, texturing, andshading. He graduated from the ESIAJ in Namur, Belgium, in 2012 and has beenworking in the industry for about two years.Tom Hankins developed an interest in drawing, animation, and creation ata very young age. Film and animations have always been a big part of his life.At the age of 18, he had his first 3D lessons at the Utrecht School of Arts, shortlyafter which he changed courses and enrolled into the 3D Computer Animationand Visual Effects program.In his third year, he was an intern at Rosto A.D. in Amsterdam, working on thefilm The Monster of Nix, character designing, and developing one of the leadingcharacters of the film, voiced by Terry Gilliam.In his fourth and final year at the academy, Tom and three of his fellow studentscreated the successful animated short Mac 'n' Cheese as his graduation film.He graduated with honors as a bachelor of Art and Technology.He is now running a small Holland-based CG company called Colorbleed alongwith Roy Nieterau and Gijs van Kooten.Their production and creative experience ranges from animated shorts to commercialsand visual effects for films. Tom works as their Creative Director.
Table of ContentsPrefaceChapter 1: Diving Straight into Photographic Rendering17What this chapter is all aboutGood composition is the foundation of photographic renderingImproving our opening scene7810Materials that make us believe!25Render settings for final outputSummary3538Working with six new viewsMatching viewport and render aspect ratiosLighting that sets the mood!Stepping through the render processUsing V-Ray's physical camera modelGlobal illumination controlsCreating the floor materialAdding surface propertiesFinal setting tweaks!Chapter 2: Lighting an Interior Daytime SceneLooking at our SketchUp sceneDefining our goalsMethods for defining our visionWriting a definitionPainting a definitionCompiling a definitionArtistic exerciseMy definition for the gallery interiorThe lighting workflowSunlight is our key lightSketchUp shadow settings – positioning the V-Ray SunUsing a V-Ray spotlight as the key light12161921212427313339394042434343444445464750
Table of ContentsSkylight is our fill lightUsing Rectangle lightsTesting our shot viewsThe evaluation timeUsing the GI skylightTrying out the Dome lightAdding a High Dynamic Range Image to the mixBringing the sky back into the viewWrap upSummaryChapter 3: Lighting an Interior Nighttime Scene Using IES LightsTaking a look at our SketchUp fileDefining our goalsObservation is crucialMy definition for interior nighttime scene lightingThe lighting processContrasting artistic and realistic indoor lightingDo we have a key light?Understanding the IES filesDownloading and viewing IES profilesStarting with a blank canvasSetting an initial exposure levelAdding some much-needed ambienceUsing the V-Ray SkyThe GI skylightHDRI to the rescueLayering up our IES lightsAdding the IES down lightersCreating the IES up lightersEvaluating the render with all lights enabledPrevisualizing image corrections using V-Ray FrameBufferSummaryChapter 4: Lighting an Exterior Daylight SceneSetting up our SketchUp fileReference and observationThe sunlight colorThe skylight colorShadow propertiesAmbient occlusionA camera-matched exterior[ ii 990939399102103107109110110111114115116117
Table of ContentsDefining our exterior daylight setupThe lighting processSetting a starting exposure levelSunlight is the keyThe sunlight colorThe shadow qualityFilling in with skylightUsing the V-Ray SkyImage-based lighting for exteriors118118119120125128130131133Tweaking exposureExperimenting with white balancingSummary144146147Adding the HDRIAdding direct sunlight to an HDRI setupCreating even stronger occlusion shadowsCreating a better skyChapter 5: Understanding the Principles of Light BehaviorThe SketchUp filesDefining our goalsHow light behavesLearning about light – exercise oneLearning about light – exercise twoUnderstanding light decayLight decay – exercise oneLight decay – exercise twoLight decay – exercise threeDecay types available in V-Ray for SketchUpThe None and Linear decay optionsUnderstanding Inverse decayThe Inverse Square decayUsing color temperatureColor temperature – exercise oneColor temperature – exercise twoThe cause of color bleedingColor bleed – exercise oneBringing color bleed under controlSummaryChapter 6: Creating Believable MaterialsGetting started with our materialsDefining our goalsDefining the materials[ iii 60161162164165166166167170171172172174
Table of ContentsUsing a SketchUp material to create our diffuse floor coloringUsing SketchUp materials with V-Ray174175Using the V-Ray Standard materialKnowing your right-click menu commandsAdding reflections to our floor materialPainting the wallsPlaying it safe with the ceilingDoor materials – the frosted glassGiving the doors an aluminum lookAdding chrome to the barriersPainting the skirting boardCreating the wall paintings using bitmapsArt sculpts – import vismatYour 12213Creating the diffuse component for our floorMaking a color-mapping choiceChapter 7: Important Materials TheoryDefining our goalsLight and material interaction – why objects in the real worldhave colorLight is where it all startsHow absorption, reflectance, and transmittance workThe importance of R, G, and B in the digital realmWhy are we using the HSV color model?The importance of realistic color valuesLight and material interaction – what is reflectivity?How glossiness controls workLight and material interaction – the transmittance effectsUnderstanding refractionMaking use of IOR valuesA bit more on Fresnel equationsUnderstanding 8228229230230How subsurface scattering is differentThe importance of energy-conserving materialsWhat we have accomplished?SummaryChapter 8: Composition and CamerasDefining our goalsDeciding the shot typeThe long or wide shot[ iv ]231232234234237237238238
Table of ContentsThe medium shotThe close up shotThe high shotThe low shotAspect ratiosChoosing our ratio239240241242243245The requisite maximum resolutionHow focal length affects compositionSetting up scene views for final shot renderingFirst up – the wide shot247249251251Beware of the difference between the viewport and renderExercise – reviewScene two – close up246253254Exercise – review255Exercise – finishing off the sceneSummary256257Chapter 9: Quality Control259Defining our goalsFine-tuning scene lightingTuning up the sunlight260260261Reviewing our sunlight render262Adjusting the skylight263Reviewing our skylight renderCleaning up our GI solutionReviewing our GI renderWorking with the Image sampler controlsReviewing the image sampling renderImproving our materialsReviewing what we have in the RGB mapReviewing what we have in the Sample Rate mapOutputting the final rendersAdding extra VFB channelsSetting the output formatDetermining the order of quality control stepsSummaryChapter 10: Adding Photographic Touches in Post-productionDefining our goalsSetting up After EffectsImporting our footageDealing with the lighting hotspotsBoosting the floor 278279279280283285287
Table of ContentsAdding a subtle DOF to shift focusAdding subtle relightingBoosting the glass reflections a littleFinal color correctionsAdding a subtle vignette effectSummaryIndex[ vi ]292295296297299302303
PrefaceThe art of capturing or interpreting reality is one that has been around in one formor another for hundreds of years. First it resided with painters, many of whom tookthe study of light play and interaction with the world around them to new heights.Next came photographers, who quickly realized that this incredible new mediumwas not only capable of capturing a snapshot of the world, but also of interpretingand presenting it in a manner that made it a genuine art form.Today, a computer graphics artist can use the tools at his or her disposal to createor recreate anything that real life or imagination can conjure up. And while artisticinterpretation and style has been used in visualizing such creations, the pursuit ofgenuine photographic-looking images has long been a goal towards which manyhave striven.With the ever increasing hardware power and the availability of feature-rich renderengines, such as V-Ray for SketchUp, that pursuit is no longer quite as arduousas it once was. With an appetite for learning and a willingness to apply ourselvesin a workman-like manner, anyone with a mind can now learn how to producephotographic-looking renders of virtual objects in what (just a few short years ago)would have seemed like an impossible time frame.If the ability to produce such images is an artistic pursuit that sounds appealingto you, then you have a lot of cool stuff to look forward to in this book.
PrefaceWhat this book coversChapter 1, Diving Straight into Photographic Rendering, gets us nicely up and runningwith V-Ray in SketchUp as it fast tracks us through with the use of many key areasin the render engine, all of which need to be utilized by an artist if they want toproduce photographic renders using V-Ray.Chapter 2, Lighting an Interior Daytime Scene, gives us a thorough grounding inlighting a daytime interior scene in SketchUp. A variety of potential lightingapproaches introduce us to a wide range of V-Ray light types available for usein a similar scenario. As we explore these approaches, we will also see the prosand cons that go along with using them.Chapter 3, Lighting an Interior Nighttime Scene Using IES Lights, naturally presentsa different set of lighting challenges to us and thus, introduces us to some morespecialized tools such as the IES light type, which has been provided to help usrecreate the energy output and complex light throw patterns that often comefrom man-made light fixtures.Chapter 4, Lighting an Exterior Daylight Scene, revisits the V-Ray Sun & Sky tools thatwe touched on in Chapter 1, Diving Straight into Photographic Rendering. Here thoughwe take a much more detailed look at how these procedural lighting tools can beused to effectively recreate very natural-looking daytime lighting conditions.Chapter 5, Understanding the Principles of Light Behavior, introduces us to some keylighting concepts and theory that in and of themselves are not essential to ourbeing able to use the V-Ray render engine, but will certainly help us understandhow we can use light in a more realistic manner and thus, produce increasinglyphotographic-looking renders.Chapter 6, Creating Believable Materials, moves us into the area of realistic materialcreation. In order to produce photographic-looking renders, the materials we applyto the geometry in our scenes will need to both look and react to light in the samemanner as their real-world counterparts. In this chapter, we explore the creation ofa number of common architectural material types as well as consider a number ofpossible workflow options for ourselves.Chapter 7, Important Materials Theory, reminds us that as with lighting, understandinghow and why materials behave the way they do can, go a long way towards helpingus make informed texturing choices that will contribute greatly to the quality ofthe finished piece. In this chapter, we explore the how and why regarding a numberof important material concepts such as reflectance and transmittance, all of whichultimately needs to combine in order to create realistic looking surfaces for our objects.
PrefaceChapter 8, Composition and Cameras, covers some extremely important and yet oftenoverlooked aspects of photographic rendering in the form of composition and framing.Closely linked to these subjects are the choices that need to be made in our camerasettings, such as aspect ratio, focal length, and output resolution, all of which can andwill significantly affect the photographic quality of our final renders.Chapter 9, Quality Control, introduces us to the lighting, global illumination,image sampling, and material controls that can help us produce clean, high qualityphotographic-looking output. The goal in this chapter is to show how (as much aspossible) we are able to balance high quality output with the overall render timetaken to produce it. High quality and high resolution rendering will always be a timeconsuming process, but we can avoid adding unnecessary time burdens to t
Final setting tweaks! 33 Render settings for final output 35 Summary 38 Chapter 2: Lighting an Interior Daytime Scene 39 Looking at our SketchUp scene 39 Defining our goals 40 Methods for defining our vision 42 Writing a definition 43 Painting a definition 43 Compiling a definition 43 Artistic exercise 44 My definition for the gallery interior 44