Chaos introduces initial Universal Scene Description (USD) support for V-Ray 5 for Maya and V-Ray 5 for Houdini, tying two powerhouse production renderers to one of the fastest growing file formats in visual effects. Artists will now have a non-destructive way to collaborate and assemble their scenes, making it easier to store and move scene data between different applications.
Initially developed by Pixar, the USD format is designed to hold the most common types of scene data – geometry, shaders, lights, rigs, hair, etc. – so artists have an easy way to share and dynamically update assets without workarounds or compromises. As the pipelines have grown more complex, the need for a universal format has become even more pronounced. Today, Chaos will begin providing V-Ray support to USD, giving artists more flexibility today, and in the years to come, as the technology continues to develop.
The initial Maya implementation will support several key asset exchanges, including static/animated meshes, V-Ray materials, subdivisions, displacement and more. V-Ray 5 for Houdini will also mark the beta launch of V-Ray for Solaris, which helps artists work natively in SideFX’s USD-based shot layout and look dev tool via a V-Ray Hydra delegate.
“Having V-Ray run within Solaris streamlines our layout, lighting and look dev process into one unified workflow, helping artists get real-time feedback on lighting changes, right in the Houdini viewport,” said Dan Englesson, pipeline technical director at Goodbye Kansas Studios.
“Because the V-Ray Hydra delegate is snappy, we can interactively change things on the fly without having to restart the renderer. We can navigate fully textured, lit scenes, making more informed artistic choices than we could before. The ease of navigating around a scene or just seeing live changes is amazing.
“USD is truly the file format of the future. Having V-Ray support USD with their Hydra delegate not only future-proofs V-Ray for us, but our whole pipeline as well. To be able to reuse assets made in V-Ray and port them over to USD makes the bar for going over to USD so much lower.”
Other key features include:
- Maya 2022 Support – Native support for Maya 2022 features, including MayaUSD.
- V-Ray Material Library – Choose from a library of over 500 high-quality materials with 4K textures that can be used on any project.
- Masks in the V-Ray Frame Buffer – Use any of V-Ray’s masking render elements directly in the V-Ray Frame Buffer’s Compositor, including Cryptomatte, MultiMatte and Object, Render and Material IDs, to fine-tune an image without re-rendering or turning to another app.
- Fog Transparency Color – Perfect for underwater scenes, artists can now easily tint the transparency color of their volumetric environment fog.
- Improved Translucent Materials – New translucency controls and built-in volumetric random walk subsurface scattering have been added to the V-Ray Material, making it easier to render realistic skin, plastic, and wax. A thin-walled refraction option has been added, as well, to help render translucency on single-sided objects like a soap bubble or a sheet of paper.
- Improved GPU Rendering – Light Cache global illumination is now GPU-accelerated for faster rendering and consistency. Out-of-core rendering also supports all features of V-Ray GPU to help with large scenes that exceed the memory limits of a user’s GPU.
- Intel Open Image Denoise – Excellent for interactive rendering, the addition of Intel Open Image Denoise will clean up noise fast and run on any machine.
- Artist-Friendly Caustics – Simulate how light interacts with reflective and refractive surfaces for a new level of realism.
- Fast Rendering of Cutouts (Maya only) – V-Ray can convert opacity-mapped cutouts of objects like tree leaves into geometry for much faster rendering.
- Viewport Improvements – The Coat and Sheen layers of the V-Ray Material are now visible in the viewport. An initial representation of the VRayLayeredTex is visible in viewport as well.
- V-Ray Scene Material Importer – Importing materials from .vrscene files has been vastly improved. Imported shading networks will also include more native Maya nodes, and the graph has been optimized.
- Additive Dome Lights – Render a scene once with multiple dome light environments, then use the V-Ray Light Mixer to create custom lighting combinations.
- Simplified Texture Baking (Houdini only) – Texture baking now supports packed geometry.
- Phoenix Foam Shader (Houdini only) – Render whitewater effects faster with the help of the Phoenix foam shader. Perfect for effects like bubbles, splashes and foam.
V-Ray 5 for Maya, update 1 and V-Ray 5 for Houdini, update 1 are available now. Licensing is available at $470 (annually) and $80 (monthly). Both products are also included in V-Ray Collection, an annual plan that gives users full access to 15 Chaos products and services for $699/year.
Learn more about USD and Hydra in V-Ray in Chaos Group’s blog or chaosgroup.com.