3ds max/viz
Cinema 4D
Vue D'Esprit


The Virtualight Renderings

Virtualight is a new, free rendering tool. It supports radiosity, caustics and sky sphere lighting. It is a "global illumination renderer".

There are a lot of people learning it right now and some of them participate in the news-group at news://  The author of the software, Stéphane Marty, is very actively involved in helping and answering questions. Give it a try.


The first conversion was done from the 3DS-file with the included conversion tool "3ds2vib.exe". The rendering was tweaked in the source-files to include a sky and an area-light and some materials were edited. This was done based on the included examples.

The result still needs a lot of tweaking... I edited the textures out, because they turned up black with the initial conversion.

Then I used the script for 3ds max (v4 only!) by theGuzz, which can be found at  If you look in the gallery, you should see a familiar building ;) The script is now included in the normal Virtualight distribution.
bulletAfter running the initial script once, you have an area light-gizmo and a Virtualight-base-material available.
bulletAfter setting camera and the lights and textures, you can add the VirtualGUI-rendering effect and let that one take over the rendering.
bulletI loaded the ArchiCAD-exported 3DS-file into max4, changed all the textures to TGA and could begin rendering.
bulletI used the example glass-settings from theGuzz's site and added an area-light on the place where my sun-spot was located.
bulletI deleted the rest of the lights and used a "sky" and turned global illumination on.
bulletNo sun was used.

After some trying and missing, I got some good renderings. There's still an artifact near the top windows that I haven't figured out yet!

Vlight vlight -f -o simple -r 800 600

Total computing time: 501 seconds (more than 8 minutes)

Vlight vlight -d -a 2 -e 0.25 -g 0 -f -o better -r 800 600.0

Total computing time: 4989 seconds (more than 83 minutes and I still have the artifact very visible...)

Peter Lammers made this next rendering for the Virtualight-newsgroup. This gives the scene a whole different atmosphere. I like it.

rendered in 250 min on a P3 700, settings: "aa10/10 super aa"

Alistair Dickinson did this rendering for the Virtualight-newsgroup. He changed a few settings and worked on the 3DS-model in MAX, to get rid of some geometry-problems from the 3DS-export from ArchiCAD. He used skylight along with the spotlight I had set up in the 3ds file.
"I changed all the object names in Max and most of the material names. I left most of the materials untouched in Max except for the grass, I tweaked the map in photoshop to add a bit of brown and set Kd to 0.7 once in VLight. The Kd for the concrete was set to 0.65."

Scene settings:

static skymap = ImageFile("sky14.jpg",3)
Declare skyexpression = mix((Level == 0 ?
PlanarImageMapping(skymap, Po) :
SphericalImageMapping(skymap, I)),
'.8,.97,0.98', 0.3) 

Options [
IrradianceBounceLevel 6
IrradianceMaxError 0.99
IrradianceSamples 200
IrradianceDistribution 3]
SpotLight [
0.286477, 1.286476, 0 Intensity 0.75*'1,1,1'


bulletvery complete rendering possibilities (including area-lights, radiosity, ...)
bulletreasonably fast
bulletgood lighting & rendering quality
bulletEditable (well, it feels like programming)


bulletSomehow still difficult to use but the progress with the plugins is very promising. And you can still edit the code if you need to.


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Last Update on 2004-08-18