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This page provides information on running V-Ray on a machine that does not have it locally installed. The following instructions apply to 3ds Max 2022 and later. Find instructions for earlier 3ds Max versions at Running V-Ray from an Arbitrary Location.


It is possible to run V-Ray from an arbitrary location, rather than installing it locally. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Run the V-Ray for 3ds Max installer.
  • Click the Advanced button to access additional options.

  • At the Directories & Feedback step, select the following options:

  • Complete the installation process. The Autodesk application package of V-Ray for 3ds Max is now installed in a single directory, e.g. if using 3ds Max 2024, the default directory is C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\VRay3dsMax2024.

  • Create a new folder to store the V-Ray files, e.g. D:\VRayCustomInstallation\

  • Create a new subfolder called ApplicationPlugins inside the D:\VRayCustomInstallation\

  • Copy the VRay3dsMax20## folder from C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\VRay3dsMax20## to:

The ## stands for the 3ds Max version.

  • Copy the 3ds Max 20## folder from C:\Program Files\Chaos Group\V-Ray\3ds Max 20## to:

  • Uninstall V-Ray for 3ds Max.

  • Set the Autodesk ADSK_APPLICATION_PLUGINS environment variable to:

  • V-Ray needs its own environment variables setup to run properly. Set the following environment variables:
Environment Variables setup
VRAY_FOR_3DSMAX20##_MAIN = D:\VRayCustomInstallation\ApplicationPlugins\VRay3dsMax20##\bin
VRAY_FOR_3DSMAX20##_PLUGINS = D:\VRayCustomInstallation\ApplicationPlugins\VRay3dsMax20##\bin\plugins
VRAY_MDL_PATH_3DSMAX20## = D:\VRayCustomInstallation\3ds Max 20##\mdl
VRAY_OSL_PATH_3DSMAX20## = D:\VRayCustomInstallation\ApplicationPlugins\VRay3dsMax20##\opensl

Note that for Custom folder cases such as in this example, the root path D:\VRayCustomInstallation\ApplicationPlugins\VRay3dsMax20##\ is the location where the packages are deployed and it should match the ADSK_APPLICATION_PLUGINS path. For more information about running V-Ray from a custom location, please refer to the 'Custom folder' section of Autodesk SDK documentation.

Starting with V-Ray 6, update 1, the VRAY_OSL_PATH_3DSMAX20## environment variable no longer needs to be set.

## stands for the number of 3ds Max version.

The preceding steps explain just one of the methods for packaging Autodesk plugins provided by Autodesk, for more information go to: Autodesk SDK documentation.


  • The VRAY_MDL_PATH_3DSMAX20## is pointing to files deployed by the V-Ray installer, they could be deployed in the custom location too, but they are MDL shader sample files and are considered auxiliary to the plugin package and thus are not in it by default.
  • The plugin.ini file is not to be modified with the Autodesk application package format.