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V-Ray lights are designed specifically to work with V-Ray and optimize its features. V-Ray also provides shadow options for standard 3ds Max lights, as well as utilities to assist in the lighting process.


V-Ray is compatible with 3ds Max standard lights but it also includes a set of lights designed specifically for rendering with the V-Ray engine: Area lights, VRayDome, VRayMesh, VRayIES, VRayAmbient, and VRaySun.

If you want to use the standard 3ds Max lights, you should use the VRayShadow type within the Shadows settings of the respective Standard light.

The V-Ray Light Meter utility helps evaluate the lighting in a scene so adjustments can be made to improve lighting.

The V-Ray Lister offers a handy way to modify many common attributes of all lights in the scene. It works with both V-Ray lights and standard 3ds Max lights.

Image courtesy of Sonny Ferian

Types of Lights

You can create any V-Ray light using the Lights tab on the Command Panel. Alternatively, use the V-Ray toolbar buttons or the V-Ray menu to create your lighting.

Depending on the scene and the effect you are trying to create with lights, you might use only one type of light, or any combination of lights.

  • Area lights are useful for simulating man-made light sources in an interior environment, such as lamps. An Area light can have any of these different shapes: plane, disc, sphere, or the shape of a mesh object. A dome light, which creates light within a dome shape to achieve a traditional global illumination setup, is also considered an Area light.
  • A Sun light is a spherical light source placed at a specific location which simulates the sun in the sky. A Sun light has some unique qualities.
  • Photometric lights are designed to simulate light sources exactly as they behave in real life by loading and using an IES (Illumination Engineering Society) file with details about the light's behavior, such as how the light passes through lenses and its intensity and falloff.
  • Ambient light permeates a scene and illuminates from all angles equally without providing contrast.

Lighting Tools

The following tools are provided by V-Ray to assist with lighting:

The information that is presented by VRayLightMeter does not change or otherwise affect the lighting in the scene in any way; it only reports on it. This helper is intended to provide information so you can make adjustments to the scene's lighting at your own discretion.

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