Includes New Tools for Speeding Up Lighting, Look Development and Rendering Workflows

Following on the heels of the recently debuted version of its popular render engine V-Ray for The Foundry's Katana, Chaos Group has released V-Ray 3.0 for Maya. The company says this version of the physically-based lighting, shading and rendering toolset features much faster ray tracing and overall rendering performance.

Version 3.0 is also newly optimized for hair and fur, something competitor Pixar RenderMan does especially well with Maya. A new VRaySkinMtl shader brings improved subsurface scattering to non-opaque creatures, characters and objects, and new Phoenix FD Shaders—for rendering volumetric effects like fluids, fire, smoke and hazy heat—add support for OpenVDB and Field3D. V-Ray now also supports Bifrost, Maya 2015's procedural effects platform based on Naiad technology that lets you preview effects interactively in Viewport 2.0, and XGen, for rendering geometry procedurely only at render time inside Maya 2015.

Color improvements include a better V-Ray Frame Buffer for Lens Effects and advanced color correction tools for White Balance, Contrast, Hue, Saturation and Color Balance. The virtual frame buffer can now be docked and supports LUTs, ICC, and OpenColorIO color management profiles.

A number of other workflow tools in the new release are designed to give VFX artists more control and flexibility when sampling light and using image masks to create specific render regions.