Vray for Rhino Need to Know

Chaos group who produce Vray have some excellent tutorials on the fundamentals of rendering with Vray for Rhino.

If you are intending to do Vray based rendering in Rhino then their introduction for architects is ESSENTIAL viewing, and perhaps the most useful 10 minutes you will spend this year

Other tutorials are available from their site


Distributed Rendering for Vray Rhino and Vray Sketchup

Vray Swarm is a “zero effort” distributed rendering system which enables all connected machines to participate in rendering images created in Vray for Sketchup or Vray for Rhino.  Simply put, instead of rendering with one machine Swarm allows users to utilise 20,30,40… machines to speed up the render by that factor. The machines in the first floor studios are configured to be nodes in Swarm renders – whether logged in or not – with no noticeable affect on the machines that are loaning out their processing power.

Note: as there is a time lag in the system slicing up the render and sending each chunk (or bucket) out to the Swarm nodes there is not so much advantage in using it for smaller renders; enable Swarm for larger jobs only.

Enabling Vray Swarm for render is simply a case of enabling the Swam button in the Vray Asset Editor

[For Rhino check that Vray is set to the default renderer via Render – Current Renderer – Vray for Rhino]

Under the settings cog make sure:

  • Renderer is set to PROGRESSIVE
  • Swarm is ON
  • Cap CPU usage: if clicked this means your own machine will use only one of its own CPU cores for the render so that your machine will be more responsive for running other applications (but potentially a slower render)




Vray For Maya 2018 (PC)

V-Ray 3.6 for Maya 2018 is now available for the Stockwell Street PCs (first floor studios and 2001 lab).

The Vray plugin does not load automatically with Maya; it needs to be specifically selected in the Maya plugin manager:

In Maya select

Windows > Settings / Preferences > Plug-in Manager

Type vray into the search box to narrow down the list of available plugins then click load and autoload for both vrayformaya.mll and xgenVray.py and close the dialogue window

Now Vray will be available as a renderer for Maya (alongside Arnold, Maya); select

Windows > Rendering Editors > Render Settings

select V-Ray from the Render Using drop down

The current renderer is now set as Vray – and an additional Vray toolbar will be available.  In that is a button to switch on the Vray Frame Buffer; click this to open the the Vray render windows plus associated render buttons etc.




Missing Plotter and Printer Fix

If you cannot see the printer you need you can manually add it…

A print queue bug may stop the correct printers showing up on your PC automatically. You can either logout and restart the machine, or alternatively perform the following steps allow you to re-add any missing printers / plotters

Click the WINDOWS button and type GM-PS-N then hit enter

This will give you a list of lots of printers – type “DST” in the search box in the upper right hand corner to narrow this down to our printers

From this list double click the printer you need; this will reinstall it to your machine.

If you need the MFD A3/A4 laser printer then type in “MFD” in the search box (instead of MFD) and double click to install the printers “GM-MFD-STU” and GM-MFD-STU-COLOUR :

Design Studios :: Need to Know

Here are some tips / solutions / workarounds / that will be very useful for studio users.

  • PCs : No Logon Servers Available – Cannot log on OR no internet when returning to sleeping machine.


There is a network glitch in Stockwell Street and the Maritime Campus where network cards sometimes do not wake up from power save.  The only way a student can fix this is a restart


  • Plot queue (or queues) not showing in the drop down list

Solution: Add the plot queue(s) manually using the following steps

Click the Windows Start Button in the bottom left hand corner:



in the Search box type


This will bring up a big list of plotters and printers.
In the top right hand search box type


This filters the list just to the printers and plotters in our print area.



Identify the plotter you want from the list and double click to install it. It is then available to print to from any application.

STANDARD-PLOT-DST-CW700-Q1 :: A2/A1/A0 Standard Paper
PREMIUM-PLOT-DST-CW700-Q3 :: A2/A1/A0 240GSM MATT paper
PTYPE4-PLOT-DST-CW700-Q4 :: A2/A1/A0 Tracing Paper
PTYPE5-PLOT-DST-CW700-Q5 :: A2/A1/A0 Textured Paper
PTYPE6-PLOT-DST-CW700-Q6 :: A2/A1/A0 Satin Semi-gloss Paper
PLOT-DST-T1300 :: Sheet Feed Plotter

  • PDF Documents print blank pages on the MFD printer

Solution: Flatten the PDF by clicking the ADVANCED tab and ticking the Print as Image option


Often PDF files with lots of layers created with Adobe Photoshop will not be understood properly by the MFD printer.  Print as Image will flatten the whole file down so it is simpler to process – it does not affect the quality of the print.

  • iMac Keychain Access nags on logon

Solution: Click UPDATE KEYCHAIN (the MIDDLE) option when it asks what to do 


If you have changed your Uni password this may conflict with the iMac’s password management system when you have previously logged into a machine with your old password.



  • Large Screen wheelable Screens not showing anything


CHECK screen is on – press upwards the joystick under the screen in the middle.

CHECK input is set to HDMI1- use the joystick to select HDMI1

CHECK the PC is powered on – the small square PC is mounted to the back; if it is on the power button will be glowing.

If all else fails restart the PC by Pressing and holding down the power button to force a restart.



  • Connect to the Larger Scanner / Shared Area (S: drive) from a Mac

    Solution: Once logged on to a Mac you can manually connect to the shared area

The large scanner will save scans to the SCANS folder on the S drive.  This appears automatically on a PC.  If you are on a Mac you can manually connect by selecting 

GO” in the top menu, then choosing 


(or press CMD-K)

this opens a dialogue window – in server address type “gm-stu-shr1”



The S drive will now open – the scans will be in the folder “SCANS”




Oce Colorwave 700 Plotter

We have a new large format / large volume plotter: an Oce Colorwave 700


This machine replaces the HP DesignJet T7100 Plotter.  It is a much faster and higher quality plotter and it allows for printing on various media types.  PRICES HAVE NOT CHANGED

Please note we will be testing and trying out different media types initially – please feel free to give feedback and suggestions on which media you like or would like to see.

To start off with we shall be offering the following media:

Paper Type Queue Name  A2/A1/A0   Roll
Top Color Paper 120gsm
STANDARD-PLOT-DST-CW700-Q1 £1 / £2 / £4 R1 + 2
Top Color Paper 200 gsm
PREMIUM-PLOT-DST-CW700-Q3 £2 / £4 / £8 R3
Inkjet Tracing Paper 90gsm
PTYPE4-PLOT-DST-CW700-Q4 £1 / £2 / £4 R4
Wallpaper Non-woven 120gsm
PTYPE5-PLOT-DST-CW700-Q5 £2 / £4 / £8 R5
Photo Paper
Instant Dry Photo Paper – Satin
PTYPE6-PLOT-DST-CW700-Q6 £2 / £4 / £8 R6

You can plot from the Macs – but currently only to the Standard and Premium queues.

We shall leave samples of media types pinned up around the S11 Print area for you to have a look at.

Rendering Good Practice

Rendering, like printing, is one of those tasks that always takes far longer than you expect.  While it is important to have good quality, sharp final images simply dragging all the sliders up to maximum quality is likely to have little visible difference but will significantly increase the time taken – and also the likelihood of the machine crashing altogether.

Think about what you are rendering – turn off layers / objects that you won’t see; there’s no point having complex hinges included in a distant perspective for example.  Similarly, thousands of trees with dense branches,etc are going to kill a render as each twig needs shadow calculations etc. Consider adding people / foliage / rain / etc in Photoshop

For render sizes; the following is a list of image resolutions that will fill A3/A2/A1 sizes:

150 DPI (Sensible)

A3 – 2480 x 1753

A2 – 3507 x 2480

A1 – 4966 x 3507

200 DPI (Ambitious)

A3 – 3307 x 2338

A2 – 4677 x 3307

A1 – 6622 x 4677

300 DPI (At your own risk)

A3 – 4960 x 3507

A2 – 7015 x 4960

A1 – 9933 x 7015


Quick Render Speedup / Memory troubleshoot tips

  1. Reduce resolution of final image
  2. Lower the quality of the final render; there are some presets that can be loaded from the top of the Vray Options window:
    General – Preview / Very Low / Low / Medium etc
    (Start low and work up if the image quality is not adequate)
  3. Override materials (see below): Global Switches 

Troubleshooting Rendering / Memory Crashes

Often you can solve problems with render times and crashing jobs by being less pushy with your final images sizes.  Try at least rendering a lower resolution, and if you must then work your way higher.

Vray Settings : Rhino / Vray

The following are recommendations from Chaos; the developers of Vray, for reducing excessive memory usage in Vray for Rhino and Sketchup

  • Geometry – scenes with lots of objects and/or triangle counts require more memory to render. There are several ways to reduce this amount:
    • Adjust the raycaster params in the System rollout (reduce Max. levels , increase Min. leaf size , increase Face/level coefficient , or adjust the Dynamic memory limit.
  • Image buffer – large output resolutions require a significant amount of RAM to store the final image. There are several ways to reduce this amount:
    • Use the Render to V-Ray raw image file option and then use the V-Ray raw image file viewer to convert the resulting file to a different format (see below)
    • Render the image in several different sections and stitch the pieces in Photoshop
  • Image samplers (AA) – the image sampling algorithms of V-Ray require some amount of RAM to hold all the data for the sampled image. This amount can be quite large, depending on the chosen bucket size and sampling rate. To reduce that amount:
    • Reduce the bucket size.
    • Switch to a different image sampler – for example, the Adaptive DMC sampler uses less RAM than the Adaptive subdivision sampler.
  • Global illumination caches – irradiance maps, photon maps and light maps all require additional memory to store them. Each of these has different methods for controlling its memory usage: Rhino scene – Rhino itself stores a lot of information about the scene. V-Ray has no control over that memory, but you can adjust the quality of render meshes to reduce it.
    • For the irradiance map – the memory depends on the number of samples in the map; you can reduce this number by using lower Min/Max rate , and more loose threshold values (higher Colour threshold , higher Normal threshold , lower Distance threshold ).
    • For the photon map – the memory depends on the number of photons stored. You can reduce this number by reducing the Diffuse subdivs for the lights, or by increasing the Max. density .
    • For the light map – increase the Sample size .

Lose the Materials

Lots of materials can add to the complexity and RAM requirements – even if you haven’t explicitly used any materials you might find some imported models might have had them attached.  You can override any materials with a plain colour quite easily in the VRay options window.

  • In the Vray options dialogue box, expand the GLOBAL SWITCHES section
  • Tick Override materials
  • Click Override colour and select a colour to use for everything (white or light grey is good)
  • this will eliminate any material related errors / overheads that the file may have had.
  • NOTE: if there is a material that you still really need then you can make an exception for it by going to the Material Editor and for that material Options turn off “Can be Overridden”



Don’t render to Image Buffer – render straight to a VRimg file

This is a big RAM saver; it means you are rendering directly to a file on your hard drive rather than into RAM. The advantage of this method is that the rendered chunks will be streamed to a file (in vrimg file format) and will then released from memory once saved so preventing out of memory errors common to large resolution renders.  If you have to render large resolution images then this technique is very useful.


To make use of this option  IN VRAY FOR RHINO AND SKETCHUP

  • In the Vray options dialogue box, expand the OUTPUT sectionvrimg
  • Below Render Output
    • Tick Save Output
    • Save your file – AS VRay-Raw Image File (VRIMG extension)
    • Tick Render to VRImage
    • Set VFB Mode as No Memory
  • Render your model – you’ll see a big red cross in the render window rather than the real image (i.e it isn’t using any memory trying to display the model)
  • When the render is finished then it needs to be converted from Vrimg format to OpenEXR format :  There is a tool for doing this in

    •  Start > All Programs > ChaosGroup > V-Ray Advanced for 3ds Max > Tools > VRImg to OpenEXR Converter.
    • Select your VRimg file via the INPUT FILE button > Convert > select a destination for the EXR file
  • Open this EXR file in Photoshop
  • It is quite likely that the file appears lighter than expected – this is due to differences in gamma settings of Vray.  This can be easily altered in Photoshop:
    • Image > Adjustments > Exposure and set Gamma corrections to 0.4545

[divider]To make use of this technique IN 3D STUDIO 

  • Disable all Frame Buffers (Max and V-Ray)
  • browse to the V-Ray:: Frame Buffer rollout in the Render Scene dialog
  • enable Render to V-Ray raw image format and select a folder and filename where to save the output to.
  • When render is done converted the file from vrimg format to OpenEXR format :  There is a tool for doing this in
    •  Start > All Programs > ChaosGroup > V-Ray Advanced for 3ds Max > Tools > VRImg to OpenEXR Converter.
  • Open this EXR file in Photoshop



Render Farm Provision

We have a BOXX Technologies Render Pro machine – essentially a simple, mini render farm in a box.


This machine is a 10 core Intel Dual Xeon E5-2660v2 2.2GHz processor and 32GB Ram.  It does nothing else but process render jobs from 3DS Max / Vray / Blender.  

It is part of the Vray for Sketchup / Rhino distributed render system; see

Distributed Rendering for Vray Rhino and Vray Sketchup

But it may also be reserved for single high processing tasks such as Mandelbrot, Blender CPU render, etc.

Epson 4900

Within the photography studio we now have an Epson 4900 for you to use. This wonderful machine sadly led a sheltered life for a while, but with a little tlc she’s back in business and ready to print*



  • Sheet based media from A4 up to A2+
  • Paper thickness’ from 0.08 mm – 1.5 mm
  • 12 inks that can reproduce 98% on the Pantone colour range
  • Very good registration for double sided printing

The machine is hooked up to an iMac that has Adobe CC installed and has a colour calibrated screen to help you reproduce your artwork more accurately. To book time on the printer, simply email Robbie on mr22@gre.ac.uk

There will eventually be a small fee to cover the cost of the inks, although this is not in effect at this time.

Top tips!

Whilst the printer will print on any paper type, ink will tend to bleed on non treated paper. Please make sure your paper is inkjet compatible for the best results.

If you which to print double sided and without ink bleed, please ensure your paper is treated on both sides, as 90% of inkjet paper is only treated on one side.

Borderless printing is only achievable on A4 & A3 paper sizes and quality is not guaranteed 3mm from the edge

It is best to use paper larger than you need for double sided printing so that you can print crop/trim marks

Double sided printing is not possible direct from inDesign, it is best to print from a PDF or a Jpeg/PSD file


*As mentioned above, a bit a work has has gone into bringing this machine back to life. She is still not printing perfectly with some images having faint lines running through them due to the Light Grey printhead not yet printing up to spec. This will dissipate with use however as these types of machines need to be used regularly to keep in tip top shape. Due to this, we will not be charging for the printers use until this minor fault has corrected itself, all we ask is that you supply your own paper.

Wireless Printing from MAC / PC Laptop to MFD Printer

You can print to the MFD printers found in the print area (and in the library) from your own laptop (Mac or PC) as long as you are on the University GreenNET or Eduroam wifi network

This machine prints A3 / A4 mono or colour.

1. To print wirelessly you need to access the GreenPrint page at https://webprint.gre.ac.uk

2. Log in with normal username and password


3. Upload the document that you want to print by clicking the ‘Choose File’ button and navigating to it, then click ‘Next’ – files accepted are:

  • PDF
  • MS Office (Word / Excel / Powerpoint)
  • Image files in the following format – JPG / GIF / PNG / TIF / BMP


4. The document will process for a few seconds and then show its status as ‘Awaiting release’


5. Select the printer for use. Here, it will be Greenwich – GM-MFD


6. To pick up the print you need to swipe your card on one of the printers just like you would for a regular print