V-Ray is an independent 3D renderer by Chaos Group. It’s renowned for its superb lighting and material system, fast blurry effect and a robust GI implementation and it’s available on the Mac in the form of the Cinema 4D plug-in VRAYforC4D. While Cinema’s AR3 renderer now offers smooth GI animations too, V-Ray’s powerful BRDF material system, motion and depth of field blur, controllable AA and full HDRI input/output goes far beyond the native offering. You can use almost all Cinema 4D shaders in V-Ray and version 1.1 now supports direct rendering of Cinema 4D materials.
One of the main benefits of 1.1 is its ability to run natively in 64-bit mode in OS X 10.5 and Cinema R11. This is important for those wishing to render very large scenes requiring access to more than 3GB RAM. To help facilitate even more efficient instancing, version 1.1 introduces V-Ray Proxies. These allow you to render scenes with billions of polygons without the RAM overhead. All it requires is the new Vrmesh Exporter Tag applied to the object you wish to instance and the V-Ray Proxy object. You can use Mograph to distribute the proxies as normal; the results are impressive to say the least.
Compositing has also seen improvements with the new Comp tag supporting Matte Objects and various other compositing options. However, there’s not yet support for Cinema’s Include/Exclude lists for lights and raytracing flags, limiting integration of 3D objects in footage slightly. Also the object buffers, while now supported, are not antialiased.
Another great feature is the Double Sided Material, which allows for simple subsurface and translucency effects without the render hit, while another material called Blend lets you mix up to 10 BRDF materials in one. V-Ray is already excellent at creating car paint materials and Blend pushes this ability even further. There are some holes and omissions – no support for deformation in motion blur, for example – but the core features are highly desirable additions to Cinema 4D.
The speed with which V-Ray can create realistically-lit scenes is not to be underestimated; it really does save you time. Add to that the super-fast blurry effects and the new features and V-Ray offers a feature set that superbly complements rather then replaces the native Cinema AR3 renderer.