Vray for product design


I was wondering if anyone had experience about using vray for rhino for product design? It doesn’t seem very common in product design but the direct integration in rhino makes it great for iteration and not having to reimport your model all the time… At the moment I use keyshot and blender depending on project, they are great but having to switch program all the time is not very efficient…

Also can you do animation with vray?


You should be able to do animation with Vray. I had a positive experience with it, but it does seem dominated by architecture; which isn’t a problem as such.

Alternatively, I can also recommend Bella renderer. @Martin_Šefl has had good success with it for product design. I think Bella can also do animation like Vray (via Bongo/Grasshopper?).

Always worth shopping around if you are changing renderer. Not sure about Octane, I never got to it; but I think it has a plugin?

I didn’t know about Bella render, I’ll check it out thanks.
I know it’s mostly architect who use vrays and it’s not a problem, but I was wondering why it’s not used more in product design as it seems a great solution to render directly in rhino

Used vray around 6 years ago. I found myself spending far too much time adjusting settings to get things looking good. Rendering isn’t my priority so I found the speed of keyshot to work much better for me. Decals and materials and environments are super quick there compared to how I remember vray but maybe vray has changed a lot - haven’t use it in a while.

v-ray spent much time in recent years to make it more user-friendly and get results faster. Also with the new online asset library. Loads of arcane options can still be used in advanced settings, but much of it is behind simpler preset switches. Whats also really nice in v-ray are the post-processing capabilities of the frame buffer. I dont need photoshop at all anymore for post.

Didnt like their switch from perpetual licenses to subscription much tho at all.


Hi Paul,

I only do product design and have experience with multiple rendering engines (Cinema 4d, Maxwell, Arion, Keyshot, V-ray, Thea, Bella). V-ray has an excellent plugin for Rhinoceros these days. It has a huge number of functions and its operation is easier than, for example, 10 years ago. But what I personally do not like is the inability to purchase a permanent license and the lower quality of the output compared to some other engines. I’ve used Keyshot for years (mainly during my studies), it’s a popular rendering engine among product designers because it’s designed specifically for this area of ​​design. It is still very easy to use, but in my opinion, its outputs are often worse than what V-ray can offer. Also, I’m tired of exporting the model from Rhino to a separate application and that’s why I’ve been testing rendering plugins directly for Rhinoceros for the last few years. I currently use Bella render because it allows you to purchase a permanent license, is in active development, is easy to use, and in my opinion offers the best quality for reasonable rendering times. I’ve recently been doing some personal comparisons between V-ray and Bella renderers, and Bella offers more photorealistic results, often even at lower render times. It does not yet have as many functions as V-ray, but it is fully sufficient for product visualizations. Here’s a sample of some of my simple higher resolution renders, all just Rhino + Bella (https://www.behance.net/gallery/151898535/PORTFOLIO-Martin-Sefl). The only rendering software for Rhino that is in active development and that can match this level of photorealism (without complex settings of all parameters) is probably only Octan and Thea, but I have no experience with Octan (I find the plugin for Rhino confusing) and Thea is preparing a version 4, which with its new Nitro engine requires a powerful graphics card - I tried it with my RTX 3070 Ti and the speed is amazing. On the other hand, Bella render is also preparing for GPU acceleration, and if the developers manage to keep the look of Bella even on GPU, I think they won’t have much competition. So I’m sticking with Bella renderer because I don’t know of a better rendering engine for my needs. As for animations, I have no experience with that.


How easy is it to apply decals (labels) in Bella? Is this done directly in Rhino or do you jump to the Bella GUI for stuff like this?

bella does not yet support rhino’s decals (except if baked, when native rhino materials are translated, but I would not recommend using those), but bella textures have optional projection that can be used instead of object UVs, and this can be used to implement decals

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Thanks for all your answers,

Yes exactly, that’s why Blender while amazing is also a bit annoying…
Same for keyshot and it has become really expensive and it’s quite limited compared to blender.

I didn’t know Thea, but looking at the gallery on their website, they all look a bit ‘rendery’
I just saw that bella is a yearly licence so similar to vray and keyshot…
I might try octan, I didn’t know there was a plug in for rhino…
Also does vray comes with materials?

Bella is a perpetual license, where the annual part covers you for all updates from a year after purchase.

When the license ends, you keep all access and usability, but just wouldn’t be able to receive further updates. Certainly for the moment, the license can be renewed for 50% discount every year.

I think Vray has a large database of materials, contained within Chaos Cosmos or the material library(?), which I believe comes with the Solo license?

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I don’t think that’s the case, AFAIK it’s perpetual

Yes, many

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Sorry I might have misread this sentence, so does it mean that you can use it forever but you only have the update for a year?

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Absolutely correct. It stays with you forever, but without updates beyond a year after you initally purchase.

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There is a renderer I highly recommend called Light Tracer. It doesn’t integrate with Rhino. it is Standalone, it is kinda beta version, and you can only animate the camera, but here me out, it is absolutely the best renderer I have ever seen for jewelry and gemstones, and it is under $100 for a perpetual license. Night and day, it makes Keyshot look like a cartoon. Like Keyshot it accepts HDRI backgrounds for lighting.

I tried Vray 5 years ago and it was a lot of work to get good output, so I went to Keyshot, but now that Keyshot is > $100 a month subscription, I found Light Tracer.

Thank you for sharing your experience so detailed. This helps since I’m also looking to try a different renderer than the integrated Cycles. While I’m happy with Cycles in terms of quality and speed, everything regarding materials is very lacking. Especially the reliance on so many different panels feels like a nightmare to me. Rhino has Grasshopper and with it the use of nodes. Other renderers have node based material editing since quite some time too but Rhino-Cycles still uses multiple/different and nested panel/menues. It is absolutely clunky and awful to use.

I’ll only need to do rendering again later this year. So I’ll wait and then try Bella, Vray and Thea and then decide.

Do all of those alternatives use node based material creation/editing?

I think Vray with its huge material library is very interesting for me. How are Bella and Thea in this regard?

Do Bella/Vray/Thea work with rhino render macros?

Is Thea integrated like Bella and Vray? Because standalone with exporting or linking is a nogo for me.

I do all my work with Bella, IMHO it’s the new Maxwell (same developers), but new algorithm that pays more attention to noisy areas (thus faster). It’s still not fully finished since full caustics are still not ported over to the new engine, but will get you there 99% of the time. Unless you have exclusively jewelry renders where you’d be using their Atlas solver.

You can find many samples in my discourse profile here. The integration to Rhino is good which can be a double edged sword. They chose full Rhino integration so if there are any glitches it often turns out more of a Rhino design limitation that they have to try and contort themselves around. It doesn’t directly support Rhino decals, but you can do decals through their node system. It uses a node system and we expect in future release it will implement some kind of a grasshoper UI to display their relationships. Also, using the “quick” material simplifies the experience dramatically and can get new users going 90% of the way.


For me/us the keyword is speed. Not just the rendering speed, but everything else as well; especially setting up materials/lights. The settings in Vray are extremely detailed and sometimes changing a single parameter would screw everything up. And then we would spend valuable time finding out which parameter. Keyshot can do both: easy drag’n’drop renderings with HDRi and library materials and complex scenes using the material nodes and physical lights.
My 2 cents :grinning:
PS Vray is quite widely used in product design though, at least around here (Denmark/Northern Europe)

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I’ve been using Rhino+Vray since 2007. With the RTX+CUDA support on the latest versions of Vray, render times are quite low and the quality is very well indeed. I’d love to share examples if they were not confidential.
The key to the settings is, to use SaveAsTemplate command once you set your Vray settings the way you want. I have a single main template I use at company to keep the consistency on quality and camera settings between different set of renders. What I change between sessions are the camera focus point and resolution.

And yes, you can also do animations either with Rhino’s own animation tools or with Bongo.

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I have been using V-Ray for about 20 years for product design and transportation interior/exterior rendering as a freelancer for various design firms. I am very happy to have such a well implemented and feature rich rendering tool. From time to time I render animation using Bongo and V-Ray.

I have been using GPU mode (2x3090,2x2080) for a few years now and I am very happy with the stable quality and speed. My customers are very happy and keep coming back to me. V-Ray is rock solid and helps me maintain quality even when deadlines are tight.

I tried Enscape for a while and the extreme speed was great, but I kept running into situations where I couldn’t render the materials I wanted. V-Ray is an all-round talent that allows me to render everything I need.

The only thing I miss is a deeper integration of Bongo and V-Ray so that scenes don’t have to be reloaded every frame.



Thans for all your answers that is very usefull,

I tried Thea, Bella and Vray brifelly.

Thea and Bella seems to have nice results but compared to Vray they are not as fluid. Also they seem a bit unstable (crashed a few time). Also what I really like with Vray is that it comes with huge material library.
Has anyone any good tutorial recommendation for Vray? (free or paid ones)