Orban Design

Providing the highest quality architectural rendering for Charlottesville and beyond.

Venturing into V-Ray for Sketchup 3.4

The release of the new version 3 of V-Ray for Sketchup has taken a bit of effort to incorporate into my workflow. There are many changes in how V-Ray handles materials the net effect of which has made large swathes of my existing models obsolete. On the one hand, the render engine that uses video card rendering has been substantially upgraded, which makes for fast renders. On the other hand, the workflow changes have been most pronounced in this method of rendering. The massing study image above is the first project for which I’ve actually used the latest V-Ray for Sketchup.

The image below is a photo-realistic view of a commercial project that I had rendered previously in a watercolor style.

Conceptual interior renderings of a proposed shared office space in an existing building.

Exterior renderings of a small-footprint development within Lochlyn rendered with Vray for Blender.

Vray rendering from Sketchup to Blender

I am continuing my transition to rendering in Vray for Blender coming from Vray for Sketchup. Here are two interior projects, the first one done in Vray for Sketchup, the second one is done in Vray for Blender. The biggest reason for the switch is the huge speed and render quality improvements in Vray 3.4, plus I have a large animation project coming up and I can only do that properly in Blender (The animation controls in Sketchup are practically non-existent.)

Vray for Sketchup interior renders




…and Vray for Blender interior renders





Site rendering for Elliott Avenue

This is the final iteration of the site development rendering for the former city parcel on Elliott Avenue. You can see an earlier version I did here. Besides that early one, I had also prepared two other versions before this final one, so it’s nice to see this project breaking ground and getting closer to reality. These images will be used for marketing, and for a jobsite sign. Stop by and look!

elliott_rendered-plan elliott_front-overhead-cemetary elliott_front-overhead-park elliott-overhead-final2-alt

For those interested in the rendering aspect of this project, I used SketchUp (SU) and Vray for SketchUp version 2.0 to create the renderings. I made use of the proxy feature to insert hundreds of high-polygon count trees on the site, which would be impossible with native SU. Despite the memory savings there, I still had to break the rendering into a foreground model and a background model as the file was still too large for SU to handle and export to rendering. If you look carefully, you can see some of the 3D models of downtown Charlottesville I added into the rendering. I found they were not the cleanest models or textures, they required some extensive cleanup just to be able to open at all in SU. I was very impressed overall how Vray was able to handle the heavy model I threw at it. It has come a long way since the last version!

How to use the vrimage converter in vray for sketchup

Rendering to a raw image format from Vray for Sketchup can save a lot of hassle for scenes that are highly memory intensive, as well as make it possible to render very high resolution images. Here is a brief tutorial on how to use the vrimg format to render from vray for SU.

Step 1. Select your output options to generate a vrimg file. In the “output” panel, select your image size to render to, then check the “save output” box, and browse to the folder where you will save you raw image file, and type in a name. The name will be highlighted in red if there is no file there yet. That is normal. Select the type “.vrimg” Then check the box “Render to VRImage” and leave the VFB (Vray Frame Buffer) mode as “preview”


Step 2. Select the VFB Channels you want to save. Scroll down and click on the channels in order to highlight the ones that will be used.


Step 3. Render. Then when the render is finished, open the “vrimg to OpenEXR converter” from to “Tools” menu of the vray for SU plugin program folder.


Step 4. With the converter open, click on “Input file” and browse to the vrimg file you just rendered. Check the box for “Channels in separate files”. I typically use the 16-bit exr format, I find I don’t usually need 32-bit files. If the file is really large, you may need to increase the “Buffer size” Haven’t seen any problems with the default so far.


Step 5. Press the “Convert” button. A “Save File” dialogue comes up where you can select an output “.exr” file. Browse to your output folder and type in a file name, then press “Save”. Now you have a set of individual .exr files with the channels you’ve selected saved in your output folder. For batch converting, Just change the “Input file mode” to multiple files and choose your input and output directories.