Quick Start - basic concepts

I have been trying to replicate a scene in the VRay promo videos with an outdoor object in water, with Sun/Sky that is photorealistic. I would also like to add some elements from an image like rocks, sand, coastline, shoreline town etc.

The concept that took me days to grasp, is that sophisticated background scenes cannot be created from within Grasshopper!
I went around and around looking for Sky.

The next concept that was missing, was that Vray asset management panel in Rhino can accept input from GH to add to a more sophisticated scene created in Rhino, and that this is where all the controls reside for more complex scenes, and GH essentially just contributes geometry.

The reality is that a deep dive into Vray is inevitable which brings us to the virtually unitelligible Asset management panel. Its got to be hard to cram all that functionality into a panel, but this is far from ideal. panels fly out left and right with mystery functionality. Environment contains Sun but not Sky. Sky is a texture(?) but dissapears when you override a color in a material. Camera exposure is crucial to seeing anything other than a white out. Materials are ok, but how to create multiple instances with different colors plastic or steel parts painted.

The online manual is superficial and most of the vids are for older versions. I have not found one .gh file to download, and not a single example of complex lighting for Rhino. (a 600mb city building without environment is not helpful)

A GREAT startign point would be some example files with different lighting scenes and materials INLCUDING the sun,sky and water from your building example.

A primer that covers the concepts of how the basic elements of the asset manager interact - environment/material/lighting is essential.

After countless youtube videos, my Sun+Sky masterpiece:



How many months to get there??

If you want to attract more users, you gotta make this stuff simple
Geometry + Cool Sun/Sky/Lighting preset (1-99)
Plug and play )))
not plug and buried (((

Uhm, in the Rhino Vray Next Courseware Assets you find gh files in lesson 1.3.: https://docs.chaosgroup.com/display/V3FR/V-Ray+for+Rhino+Courseware

Most old tutorial vids + assets seem to work in the newest version also:

Thanks for that tip.

You can use good evening dusk HDRI to achieve your goal. (Many HDRI online can just download and plug into vray environtment)

Next is a matte background. It is good to add subtle reflection.

Setting scene lighting, for buildings, trees, etc.

Setting your material correclty. Alot of PBR material library online can easily downloaded and transfered to vray.

Environtment fog for more dramatic and increase focal point to your building.

Set desired LUT for color tone.

Most of our works is using Vray for rendering and you can check out our website for some lighting effect and such,

Thx for that. Download from where?
As far as I can tell, Rhino Materials can only be converted to Vray materials one at a time when loaded into a project. There is no batch convert. Older Vray materials dont load or cause a crash in GH.
This source:
while claiming to be free, nothing will download. Materials that come with Vray are ok and somewhat limited.

My favourite is Poliigon material from poliigon website:


For some heavy 8K material for close up shot. U can download tons of material textures on megascan

Thx again. Good sites but no translucent water, rolled steel, sail cloth, rope etc. Poligon is a subscription not free. Still looking for a water background with coastline etc. Dont see them on either.

U find the closest material available and then modify to suit what u need.

Tons of cloth material in poliigon, u can find similar texture that suits ur desired sail texture, and adjust some of the setting:

  • fallof map for adding that “velvety / semi translucent effect on sail” plug into diffuse, roughness and reflective slot

For water, u dont need diffuse texture,just a subtle noise / displacement map.

For rope, there is a rope texture on poliigon called “fabric Rope”

If the rope is not close to the camera, just google rope material texture and pick any map on google image to plug in the diffuse map.

I wouldnt do any displacement / bump if the rope is not too close to the camera.

Most cases if u dont find the exact material, just find the closest one and then tweak it to your desired result.

It transpires that DOME lighting includes a HDRI with Sky !!!

So there are fundamentally 2 choices for sky:
Sun that produces a colored gradien
Dome that utilizes and image + lighting

Both include reflections in objects inthe scene like glass

That single concept represents days of groping around trying to Quickstart in Vray.

Vray sun is tightly bind with Vray Sky. so the Sun Position determine the color of your sky gradient.

Dome light can be both color /gradient or map HDRI.

the simple rule is if your HDRI has very crisp directional sun. u dont need Vray Sun. (U get sharp shadow)

but if your HDRI is lacking of crisp directional sun, u can use both, Dome HDRI + Sun. u get good reflectivity environment and GI light from HDRI Dome, and pair up with Vray Sun to get sharp shadow

Aaaah. Thank you. And how do you change the HDRI when using the DOME module in Grasshopper?
Presumably you assign it in the asset panel downstream when the GH data flows into the Rhino scene?

My Vray version is not for rhino. But for Max, however they both work the same way.

U just simply change the input files to Color/Texture HDRI

Input data is your HDRI files.

Please note that the latest Vray, Vray 5, has a dedicated HDRI node input, called VrayHDRI.

Faster and more robust.

this is website to download HDRI, called HDRI Haven. and it’s free

use it to make your scene awesome

Thank you that was a good link.

Still trying to figure out how to take a steel material with bumps, and paint it a color to be read from a disk file into GH without requiring the loading of a giant Rhino doc with materials all over the place.

Then there is the issue of mapping wood planks to the right size in GH.

How many videos does it take to discover these basic concepts?

Export the material from the rhino doc you created it in and then export it. After load it into gh via Vray Material from File node?

For that you will have to adjust the texture mapping via Human, don’t know if any other plugin is capable of doing that.

thank you for your response but…
Create how, where in menus? Add new material?
Export how?
Which menu?

“via Human”
This means by hand? a module called human? link to a topic or help?
Please, a little more information ))

In the Vray Asset Editor in Rhino. Create Material, add normal/bump maps, textures etc. after that save the material to disk (there is small save icon at the bottom in the material tab). Then you can import it in gh.

Regarding Human, it’s a plugin for gh by Andrew Heumann

Ok Found it. Many thx.

Could you post an example of how you would map a material with Human pls, or just describe the module(s) and concept.

I didn’t use texture mapping + vray in gh yet, only vray with simple materials for animating. Don’t even know if it works properly but since mapping in Rhino applys to Vray I guess it should work.

Maybe have a look here