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Chaos Group—Real-Time Rendering Comes to V-Ray 5 for SketchUp

V-Ray 5 for SketchUp, with its light-weight game engine V-Ray Vision, offers creatives real-time photorealistic rendering inside SketchUp.


This month Chaos Group announced the release of V-Ray 5 for SketchUp, a new update that merges real-time rendering and photorealistic rendering into a single workflow. This new capability is brought to SketchUp and V-Ray user compliments to Chaos Group’s V-Ray Vision technology.

V-Ray 5 for SketchUp

“V-Ray Vision is going to transform how designers work in SketchUp, bringing an always-on real-time view of every project,” said Phillip Miller, VP of product management at Chaos Group.

Key Takeaway

Chaos Group has delivered on bringing “game-engine” real-time technology to the world of SketchUp rendering. While it is GPU-bound and currently only works on Windows, we explain below details on why it is coming to macOS soon. 

“When real-time is always available, you can understand your design more fully as you craft it, add detailed entourage without burdening the system, and know that all your lights and materials are ready for V-Ray photorealism when you need it. It’s a complete visualization solution from start to finish.”

V-Ray 5

V-Ray 5 for SketchUp offers new real-time rendering technology with V-Ray Vision.

Adding “real-time” rendering capabilities to SketchUp—the world’s most popular 3D modeler and the most popular 3D software tool used in the architecture market—offers a game-changer effect to creative workflows. Now with V-Ray 5 for SketchUp, designers can work directly with clients and run through iterative options and get instant photo-realistic feedback; they can also navigate these 3D spaces in real-time. V-Ray Vision can also quickly snapshot images or output animated sequences, allowing architects and designers to share their work with project stakeholders.

Another major feature in V-Ray 5 for SketchUp is the new Light Gen tool. It allows for the rapid exploration of a variety of lighting possibilities. Light Gen automatically generates dozens of physically-based lighting variations for each project, helping it illuminate exteriors and interiors using V-Ray’s Sun & Sky system and a wealth of included HDRI images. Each preset also factors in real-world lighting conditions, so new lights blend perfectly as they are added by the user.

Other new features include:

  • New V-Ray 5 Materials Library — The popular V-Ray material library has been expanded and upgraded with V-Ray 5’s new layering controls and texture randomization features. Texture resolutions have also been increased to 4K.
  • Coat Layer —  Gain extra reflections on surfaces without using blend materials.
  • Sheen Layer —  Easily simulate fabrics like velvet, satin, and silk.
  • Built-in Bump Layer —  A built-in parameter section will now allow users to adjust bump attributes.
  • Dirt and Weathering —  New controls for aging materials with procedural streaks have been added to the VRayDirtMtl.
  • Line Renderings — Easily create line renderings of any project using simple material overrides.
  • New Sun and Sky —  Improves accuracy when the sun is at the horizon, including the magic hours right before sunrise and after sunset. New controls have also been added to allow users to easily customize the sun position.
  • Texture Randomization —  For more realistic textures and materials, artists can now add more variety and subtle imperfections with the new VRayUVWRandomizer map and improved VRayMultiSubTex controls.
  • Stochastic Texture Tiling — Automatically remove tiling artifacts with the new VRayUVWRandomizer.
  • Light Mix — Users can interactively change the color and brightness of any light without rendering again, creating multiple lighting scenarios from a single render.

For newcomers, V-Ray 5 comes with access to an extensive library of video tutorials, free technical support, and collaborative forums. For a full feature tour, please visit the product page or tune into the V-Ray 5 for SketchUp webinar on November 10.

Pricing and Availability

V-Ray 5 for SketchUp is available now for Windows and Mac OS, with V-Ray Vision Mac support coming soon. A perpetual license is priced at $790, with upgrades available for $395. Term licensing is available at $350 (annually) and $60 (monthly). V-Ray 5 for SketchUp is also included in V-Ray Collection, an annual plan that gives users full access to 15 Chaos Group products and services for $699/year.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

The Chaos Group has delivered an incredible update and the V-Ray Vision real-time technology is a critical addition given the big ramp-up in the utilization of real-time technology in game engines like Unreal Engine and Unity in professional AEC visualization tools.

No Mac Support for V-Ray Vision, Yet!

Unfortunately, V-Ray Vision at this moment is not yet on macOS. V-Ray Vision is technically a custom “light-weight” game engine (rasterizer) and gains it computational power on Windows through the GPU on Microsoft DirectX 11 or DirectX 12, the low-level graphics APIs that are quite different than OpenGL and compete with low-level graphics APIs like Vulkan and Apple’s Metal.

Chaos says a future version update will add V-Ray vision to the macOS version. The company is likely in the midst of updating V-Ray code for Apple’s own ARM-based processors (see: Architosh, “Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Macs with M1 Chip,” 11 Nov 2020) which includes moving its code away from OpenGL which is being eventually deprecated in Apple’s computer operating system in favor of the Metal API. 

Given the astonishing graphics performance of Apple’s newest M1-based Mac computers, I would expect Chaos Group’s V-Ray Vision in the future Mac update to really be fast on Apple’s M1-based Macs. 

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