I'm thinking about switching from Vray5 to Rhino 7 cycles render

I’ve been using Vray for 3 or 4 years (Rhino & Sketchup) and am evaluating switching to Cycles for interiors & exterior architectural renderings.
Has anyone here switched, if yes can you share your experience +/-?
Or anyone using cycles for architectural renderings please chime in as well.
From some quick research, seems like I’ll lose Vray fur/grass, texture randomization, and speed might be an issue?
Lately I have been using RTX rendering.
I look forward to a constructive conversation,
8700k & RTX 2070

Just do it!

I used Cycles for a Bongo 3 animation since V-Ray doesn’t support the Bongo WIP. At the V-Ray side you get a feature reach, quite stable, fast engine and a matured plugin. On the other side the Cycles plugin is young and limited at so many places. It is very young, so fundamental limits and bugs are there. I feel the Rhino material UI is difficult to use (also for an old render user like me), the UI is slow some times and the frame buffer is very limited/buggy. V-Ray and the Rhino plugin is developed by a big team.

V-Ray is the standard for architecture rendering - it can be very fast and can create photo realistic images. Also the new great Cosmos object library should help you to fill your scenes. The Rhino plugin is full of handy little features.

Cycles is a nice engine, but the plugin allow to use it at a basic level only. I’m sure Nathan will let it grow to a nice plugin but it need time.

On the other side - if you start to use Cycles than you could help to improve Cycles by reporting bugs and suggestions. Best you start to use Cycles for some test projects. It’s free and you will have access for ever. So, you could see it match your need or not. Maybe Nathan can improve some features for you.

FWIW the updated Rhino Render in v7 is not going to be a full replacement of engines like V-Ray, Octane, Keyshot, Bella, etc.

The initial target audience is people not familiar with rendering, so we tried to make everything as simple as possible.

We do intend to gradually increase level of control for the render geeks in v8 and onward, but the most sophisticated features you’ll best get through third-party render engine plug-ins.

That said, Rhino Render in v7 (and Raytraced mode) gives a set of features with which one crank out good renders of your drawings. Having a modern Nvidia GPU, or from Rhino 7.7 onward even better multiple modern Nvidia GPUs will give quite good rendering performance.

I wished it would be simple as possible. :wink: For me the Rhino material options are to much scattered and confusing … and I’m rendering at Rhino since 18 years.

I like the concept of layered materials of V-Ray. Here a screenshot from VfR4. At VfR2 it was a little bit simplier. Each effect got an own layer and the user was free to arrange the order or to add multiple layers of the same effect.

For example I don’t like that the reflection polish is hidden in the advanced settings and the gloss finish doe’s nothing.

The IOR is per default 1. Very strange. Here I set it 1.5 and expect a plastic look. The gloss finish should cause a satin reflection. But it doesn’t work, since in the advanced options are the really needed parameters.

I could tell your more but I’m not sure someone is willing to change something. Finally there will be reasons why things are like they are. From the users side it doesn’t work.

FWIW the Custom material is old-school. You should be using PBR materials.

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Even tho @Micha covered it, since I have one PC with the same config, let me throw my 2 cents out there.

Firstly, I’m switching slowly to Unreal. But VRay has been my RE of choice for over a decade.

Vray is light years ahead of Cycles in the architectural domain foremost.
Cycles can give some quite nice results - inside Blender, but inside Rhino - it is in its conception stage [seems something’s wrong with this sentence].

What you get with VRay, for the time you get it - you will never get with Cycles.
Even if you put in A LOT of effort in your Cycles scene, the end result won’t be as good as what you’ll get with VRay.

The rendering and texturing workflow in Rhino makes things even harder.
VRay gives you the one panel - a separate place to work on the rendering [except when mapping objects], which for visualization workflows works perfectly.

Also, Chaos are slowly implementing a material node-based system inside Grasshopper for more complex workflows [which is the thing I miss the most from any other software] which puts them ahead of the game.
It’s nowhere near perfect since they tend to make you work with the VRay panel still, but I hope they will get there.

Now you are even getting real-time rendering capabilities, which I still can’t get good results with, but it might be something to look forward.

Cycles for Rhino is still not mature enough to implement in production.
It will get there eventually, but for now, you are better off sticking to VRay.

For myself, I can’t wait for both engines to catch up and that’s why I’m switching to Unreal.
Isn’t RTX just great?!

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I really have to agree here.


That’s exactly my feeling also… Scattered and confusing are the exact right words that come to mind. I thought it was just me, but if a rendering expert like Micha thinks so too, something must be a bit off.

I hope that didn’t sound harsh - but I feel that the rendering interface could use some “ergonomic simplification.”


Thank you everyone for the excellent feedback. This will help in my evaluation as many topics mentioned I hadn’t considered.
I’ll need some time to think about this thread.
Thanks again!

I don’t use rendering at all, much less high quality, so maybe I should really keep my fingers off the keyboard, but here goes:

It sounds like you want very experienced users to change their “old fashioned” ways to get the most out of Cycles when they’re just fine with them in VfR. Is PBR a whole new thing that takes a while to learn or can Custom material users make the switch immediately and intuitively? And I presume that even if it’s conceptually an easy switch there’s still the logistics of lining up new material libraries - probably at additional expense for decent ones - and/or devoting time to building new custom PBR materials.

In any case perhaps this topic has given you a few things to think about yourself?

In Rhino yes, but in general no. PBR materials are like a specification that in most cases work similarly across different rendering solutions. The Rhino Custom material is specific to Rhino. Handling that material in Cycles results in a very complex, hard to maintain and control material. That is for instance the reason Raytraced and Rhino Render in v7 doesn’t support the glossy parameter of Rhino custom material. It results in convoluted, hard to control shader.

PBR material is simple and easy to control.

Moving away from Rhino custom to the PBR material isn’t hard, and there are many PBR resources (free and otherwise) out there that you can start using with minimal effort. With Rhino custom material - not so.

Rhino materials (Gem, Glass, Plastic, Paint, Emissive and Metal) are now all a front to the PBR material, making it easy to add many PBR-styled materials with very simple controls. The PBR material itself can take texture sets you can find out there. Many persons have put in thousands of hours to create materials that you can leverage.

I think Rhino Render (Cycles) is a good stepping stone for those seeking to improve rendering. I believe users can start with Rhino Render, whet their appetite, get good renders out. And eventually make the move to acquire another rendering engine once they find that Rhino Render is limiting them.

In any case users can always use all the tools available to them. I don’t see using one engine being mutually exclusive per se. Good artists have many tools in their box and use for each task the one that fits best.

The best person to make the decision for what your projects need is you- Render engines are like brushes to an artist…each one has it’s desired effect. Give it a go for yourself and let us know if you get stuck so we can offer some advice on how to get unstuck, then decide for yourself if cycles is right for you-

At the very least you’ll have another “brush” on your toolkit.

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I thought I was the only one. After 20 years using Rhino the rendering/texturing interface is something I dread having to touch at all (been a Maxwell user in the past). It feels scattered, and find I have to spend too much time getting basic things done. Took me half an hour the other day trying to apply a texture to a material and was getting confused with the paradigm, what is the nature of it’s library (tripping up procedural vs bitmap), where the library is, which part of it is document specific, how to link a texture to a material field after the fact (I kept creating two identical textures), etc I mean it seems to have all the elements, but they feel not cohesive.

Probably getting too old for this.


@ThomasAn_ @AlW @Philip I’d love to have a Zoom chat with you about this…let’s get this done for Rhino 8

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You probably want to include @ANDhitecture as well.

Uso Vray, lo considero la mejor opcion.
Unreal Engine, es bueno pero para video games.
(He seguido varios cursos, y la curva de aprendisaje es larga)….
Rhino, no es para renderisar, esta hecho para modelar.
Yo aconsejo Vray para arquitectura.
Y si usas Vray Skp + Rhino, parece lo mejor,
Pues puedes usar Vantage,Cosmos,Vision,…etc.
La otra opcion seria para Arquitectura es Lumion.