Chaos Group Releases V-Ray for Unreal
Andrew Wheeler posted on November 21, 2018 |

V-Ray is used by ad agencies, architectural firms, design studios and notable visual effects companies around the world. New releases from Chaos Group are anticipated by designers due to the amount of time they spend doing research and development in ray-traced rendering, cloud computing and real-time ray tracing.

Earlier this month, Chaos Group released their latest creation, V-Ray for Unreal with the goal of enabling automotive, architecture and visual effects users the ability to create more in-depth content from their V-Ray scenes. The V-Ray enabled Unreal Editor allows users to bring in V-Ray scenes from Rhino, SketchUp, Maya and 3ds Max without needing to learn any new workflows.

If you happened to be at Autodesk University this year, you could experience a high-quality demonstration of V-Ray for Unreal live and in person. V-Ray for Unreal is available now and compatible with V-Ray for Maya, SketchUp and 3ds Max and supports versions 4.19 and 4.20, though support for 4.21 is in the works. The product will be updated often and quickly and is available for subscription at either USD 80 per month or USD 470 per year. (Image courtesy of Chaos Group.)
If you happened to be at Autodesk University this year, you could experience a high-quality demonstration of V-Ray for Unreal live and in person. V-Ray for Unreal is available now and compatible with V-Ray for Maya, SketchUp and 3ds Max and supports versions 4.19 and 4.20, though support for 4.21 is in the works. The product will be updated often and quickly and is available for subscription at either USD 80 per month or USD 470 per year. (Image courtesy of Chaos Group.)

For example, a user will have one typical workflow consisting of creating a scene in V-Ray. Using the new V-Ray for Unreal, the designer imports every attribute of the scene into the Unreal Editor. Now, the V-Ray Next technology automatically converts lights and materials into real-time equivalents while keeping a pipeline open to the original attributes, which guarantees that high-fidelity stills and animations can be processed at render time.

The Unreal Editor (part of Unreal Studio) is a real-time rendering tool for creating photo-realistic AR and VR imagery. Users of Unreal Studio can also sign up for Datasmith, a toolkit to help manage CAD data flow when importing CAD data into Unreal Editor.

Since Unreal Engine was initially designed for gaming, and your computer never runs a game from Unreal Engine itself, Unreal Studio was created for non-gaming enterprise software like Archviz or any major CAD application. Unreal Studio leverages and runs real-time rendering from Unreal Engine itself, not as a separate .exe file. In Archviz or CAD, 3D data is viewed in VR as a .mov file or a 360-video file format.

Epic Games began focusing on optimizing their real-time rendering engine in Unreal Engine version 4 and creating Unreal Studio because they discovered that architects were already leveraging Unreal Engine for rendering. Currently in beta, Unreal Studio may prove useful to companies who are experimenting with mixed reality, augmented reality and mixed reality to speed up the product development lifecycle.

Unreal Studio is targeted at enterprise markets which include architecture, product design and manufacturing, promising faster iteration time through a more efficient movement of CAD and 3ds Max data into Unreal Engine.

V-Ray Light Baking

Users can now bake V-Ray lights with full GPU acceleration into Unreal. What makes this light-baking feature unique is that it maintains V-Ray accuracy, imbuing the results with a photorealistic, physically-based quality for VR and real-time content.

Industrial designers can combine the toolkit Datasmith from Unreal Editor with V-Ray for Unreal to add photorealistic ray tracing to their interactive designs. They don’t need to have V-Ray in their CAD tool, which simplifies workflows by designers and engineers. Using Unreal Editor, designers can now give people the ability to experience and interact with their designs in real-time¬—with the highest quality ray tracing. (Image courtesy of Chaos Group.)
Industrial designers can combine the toolkit Datasmith from Unreal Editor with V-Ray for Unreal to add photorealistic ray tracing to their interactive designs. They don’t need to have V-Ray in their CAD tool, which simplifies workflows by designers and engineers. Using Unreal Editor, designers can now give people the ability to experience and interact with their designs in real-time¬—with the highest quality ray tracing. (Image courtesy of Chaos Group.)

Light-baking is primarily for people who want the highest fidelity—but not necessarily hyper-dynamic lighting interactions. One of the things people have to keep in mind is that you have to set up your channels to support light-baking.

The initial product was created for the V-Ray customer to make it easy for them to get to Unreal. Giving access to V-Ray for native CAD users and Unreal users who didn’t normally use V-Ray has been a surprising and positive side effect. There are a lot of designers and engineers who are setting up scenes in their favorite 3D applications like 3ds Max and Rhino, and having a bridge to real-time without losing all of the work they’ve already done is a nice time-saver. Now, when they want to bring their scenes into real-time in Unreal, they can do so pretty easily.

This is the major concept behind this release: users can keep all of the V-Ray material they’ve created and transfer it to the interactive environment of Unreal. Unreal interprets it in the best way, and users have a smart connection to the original material from V-Ray, so if they pull up ray-tracing to render it, they can keep the original form intact. The materials translate realistically compared to previous workflows where they would have to author the translation themselves. Users import the package into Unreal through a VR scene file, and though it isn’t quite drag-and-drop, it is getting close to that level of ease.

The key features introduced in the beta version have been improved. There is support for animation, and you can render out animated sequences from the sequence editor.  You can render certain elements—compositing passes to have control over different mass or lighting channels. For users who want to do multiple computer surrenders, they can create hybrid still images, and use distributed rendering to expedite workflows. Distributed rendering is particularly useful for light-baking because it is rendering intensive, so multiple surfaces can be rendered simultaneously.

Bottom Line

Users can render their scenes with ray-traced lighting that is physically correct with accurate lighting. Global illumination gives users the ability to render realistic bounced light using V-Ray’s Brute Force and proprietary Light Cache. Unreal’s Sequencer can be used to create V-Ray quality ray-traced animated cinematics, and deforming objects can be rendered using V-Ray Proxy objects.

1.       Hybrid GPU and CPU Rendering – Utilize the best of your workstation’s hardware with hybrid rendering, including light-baking, which is notoriously slow on CPUs.

2.       Render Elements – Users who need a high degree of control is compositing will like the wider range of render elements available in V-Ray for Unreal.

3.       V-Ray Proxy Support – At render time, users can load high-res assets using V-Ray Proxy objects, which are easier on your workstation’s memory.

4.       Unreal Foliage Support – Though support for animated foliage is in the works, users can render huge environments and landscapes with this feature that is compatible with Unreal’s native foliage system.

The key features introduced in the beta version have been improved. There is support for animation, and you can render out animated sequences from the sequence editor.  You can render certain elements—compositing passes to have control over different mass or lighting channels. For users who want to do multiple computer surrenders, they can create hybrid still images, and use distributed rendering to expedite workflows. Distributed rendering is particularly useful for light-baking because it is rendering intensive, so multiple surfaces can be rendered simultaneously.

Another thing that the team at Chaos Group is working on—one that will likely come out as a limited release—is the ability to render native Unreal material within V-Ray. This means that anyone who wants to set up an Unreal scene, will be able to render it with ray-tracing.

Visit the website for a free starter’s guide.



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