10 Advantages for using VRay for architectural rendering

Architects,designers and artists are nothing if they can’t communicate their ideas. Ishould rephrase that: architects, designers and artists are unemployed if they can’t communicatetheir ideas. The first and most important thing anyone in the design industrymust understand is that clients don’t think like you do. They need handholding, dumbing down, and most-importantly, they need to be blown away.

The toolswe use to garner that bugged-eyed, jaw dropped ‘wow’ factor response - and alsoshow we are the professional worthy of being hired - are vital to our success.

That’swhere VRay comes in. The universal plug in. The fixer. “The Wolf” for youTarantino fans. It’s the engine behind turning out believable realizations ofyour designs no matter the 3D modeling software you prefer. Architects, inparticular, will find a lot to like about VRay (I’ll get to that in a minute).There are dozens of rendering plug-ins out there, and finding the one thatworks best for you can be an exercise in patience, trial and error andmaddening late nights trying to get your bump-mapped board-formed concretewalls not look like ass before your early morning client meeting.

While Ican’t guarantee more sleep and less all-nighters, I can tell you VRay will havethose board-formed concrete walls looking better than they ever have. Not onlythat, there are plenty of other reasons to choose VRay over the rest. Here are10 advantages for using VRay for architectural rendering.

1 | VRay is fast. Real fast.

Isuppose fast being relative to your machine, render settings, and overall sizeof the model you are attempting to render, but when compared to thecompetitors, VRay is consistently faster than the rest. This means quickerrender times, animations, drafts, etc. It’s great for architects becauseeveryone knows how precious their time is. All joking aside, though, it’simportant to have a visualization tool that will let you quickly see ifsomething is going to work before fully committing to a lengthy presentationquality rendering. VRay is perfect for that. On lower settings,

VRaywill pump out a series of low-quality images that will give you a feel formaterial, colour and light so that quick decisions can be made regardingcomposition and framing. Sure, all rendering software allows you to createdraft images, but none operate as quickly as VRay. If you’re on a tightdeadline - and I know you are - you’re going to want to be using something fastthat doesn’t sacrifice quality. That’s VRay.

2 | It works seamlessly with Rhino, 3DS Max,SketchUp.

And Imean seamlessly. No seams. Not a seam to be found. While VRay may be a trickyprogram to fully master, there’s no denying its ease of integration with avariety of 3D modeling programs. No matter your cup of tea or flavour ofDoritos, VRay will be your huckleberry. After all, VRay is a plug-in, so itwould make sense that the success of that plug-in hinging on its integrationwith a variety of potentially compatible software. This isn’t always the casewith competing renderers.

Forarchitects, the integration with Google SketchUp is perhaps the most usevaluable feature. While not the most technically refined or sophisticated pieceof modeling software, Sketchup presents a fast and easy set of tools that canquickly get ideas on the page. Those ‘sketchy’ ideas can just as quickly bebrought to life with the use of VRay. Client meetings once held to iron outconceptual program issues can use real-life visualization with VRay in yourback pocket. It’s not a crutch that should be leaned on, but a tool that canelevate your work from good to WOW!

3 | Extensive Material Library and resources.

Anarchitect’s library of materials and finishes is almost as important as hisskills as a designer. The fit and finish represents the final touches on the labourof love poured into realizing a piece of architecture. Get it wrong, and allthat work is cast aside in vein: ruined by an ill-conceived palate of finishmaterials and shoddy details. VRay provides a proxy for this problem. Themassive material library out of the box sets VRay above the rest. You’ll neverdesign around a material you won’t be able to render with life-like precision.

Beingable to mock up finish combinations on the fly takes interior architecture anddesign to the next level. You’ll no longer find yourself in marathon clientmeetings trying to explain how certain finishes will look on certain surfaces.You’ll show them. They’ll make decisions faster, be on their way sooner, andleaver you to do what you really love about architecture...the architecture!

4 | A wealth of options.

Forthose who wish to venture into the bowels of VRay’s more difficult to manoeuvrecapabilities, you’ll find the rabbit hole goes deeper than most visualizationplug-ins. Some attribute the perceived learning curve of VRay to anoverwhelming abundance of knobs, levers, check-boxes, and sliders. While, yes,success can be evasive for newcomers, a grasp of the basics will come quick andeasy with the right guidance. For those looking for more than a surface levelunderstanding of what’s capable with VRay, that path is yours for thetraversing.

Userseager to fine-tune camera settings, material bump maps and texture, source oflight and depth of field will find plenty to tinker with. Ultimately, that’swhat comes with a massive cache of options: flexibility. Everyone knows howdifficult...I mean particular architects and designers can be. VRay caters tothat insatiable need to control every aspect of a design drawing. You’ll beable to tailor make render settings so everything the plug-in pumps out isundeniably yours.

5 | It has a steep learning curve, but in a goodway.

VRay isnotoriously tricky to get the hang of. The abundance of options and settings,vast material library and unique interface make for a bit of a learning curve.You’ll be putting in a bit of work on the front end to wrap your head aroundwhat works well and what doesn’t.

Thatwork is what makes VRay worth the price of admission. For architects,especially, the craft involved in learning a system, tweaking it according topreference and getting the most out of a resource is par for the course. Thereis a lot to be appreciated about a product that demands expertise and rewardspatience.

6 | VRay is simply the best for realisticvisualization.

If youwant the best - and who doesn’t - there is simply no substitute for VRay. Usersand critics alike consistently put the plug-in at the top of the list as far asquality of the end product. The cleanest textures, darkest darks and brightestwhites amount to the most accurate representation of real-world conditions. Ifyour aim is to put your clients IN the spaces you are designing in convincing style,VRay is going to be your best option.

Whetheryou’re entering design competitions or presenting your work to the powers thatbe, it’s important to keep in mind the value of quality. Quality is asubjective measure, hard to quantify but easy to recognize. When your work justlooks better than the rest, it will give the strength of your design the extralayer of polish it deserves, catching the eye and boosting your reputation.Something that - in the end - is all an architect or designer has.

7 | Speed of VRay is great for quick animations.

Animationsare an underused method of design communication in the architect’s office. Itmakes sense why: they are expensive, hard to produce and rarely present theinformation of the design in the focused and precise manner architects anddesigners demand. With VRay, however, animations can quickly be produced due tothe relative speed with which the plug-in renders. Clients will be impressedbecause what you show them will be unexpected, and give you an extra advantagewhen attempting to explain design decisions.

Animationscan be set up in SketchUp, which is fairly intuitive and fast. The renderingpower behind VRay can then pump out quality frames that make up the fullyrealized animation, all without the need of a server farm to power it through!

8 | Real-world material rendering is muchmore...real-world.

There’snothing worse than a realistic visualization that doesn’t look realistic.Architects often find themselves in design communication purgatory, or the poisonousspace between ‘conceptual’ and ‘finished’ that stamps ‘amateur’ all over yourproject. If you can’t represent a design, how the hell are you supposed tobuild it? An architect must exhibit skill and capability throughout all phasesof the design in order to instil confidence and maintain control. Theconsistency and precision of VRay makes this possible.

Ifyou’re aiming for realism, you have to nail it. This is where VRay is a tickabove the rest.

9 | Light and Shadow are its bread and butter.

“I senselight as the giver of all presences, and material as spent light. What is madeby light casts a shadow, and the shadow belongs to the light.”  - Louis Kahn.

If anarchitect only had two tools to work with, they would be light and shadow.Louis Kahn is one in a long line of master architects who would probably agree.Light and shadow, and how they are represented in an architectural drawing, arevital to unconsciously understanding realism. If the lighting of a particulardrawing isn’t convincing, or seems off, it’s obvious. VRay is championed forhandling realistic light and shadow more accurately and more realistically thanall comparable renderers.

10 | There are plenty of resources for noobs andprofessionals alike.

VRay isprobably the most commonly used rendering product on the market. And if you’vebeen listening at all it’s no secret why. As such, there are almost an endlesscache of tutorials, lessons, and available courses to take to maximize yourVRay experience. With the steep learning curve comes a necessary regimen ofpractice in order to get the most out of the product. The more guided andfocused that practice is, the faster you’re going to get good at it.

Ifyou’re looking for quick tips or tutorials, a quick internet search will yieldplenty of hits for video lessons that range from 5 minutes to over an hour. Formore comprehensive courses, there are plenty of online schools that will makean expert VRay magician out of you in just a few weeks of self-guided work.Learning the best visualization software has never been easier.