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Cars included in exterior renders of architectural scenes help with the scene composition. Some 3D artists prefer to add them in post production using an image editor application. I prefer to include them in my scene using SketchUp.

At times there is a specific need of a car render look. By learning it, you are capable of outputting nice renders of cars, motorcycles and all other vehicles. So this tutorial focusses on how create a car paint and an studio set up for car rendering using V-Ray for SketchUp.

How to make a metallic car paint in V-Ray for SketchUp.

Let us take a look at car paint in real world. Metallic car paint material has two layers of reflection. A metallic layer[2] that holds the base colour and has “metallic reflection”. Plus a coating layer[1] that gives it a sort of polish to the colour and in fact is another reflective, and is also glossy in appearance.

In this image you can see the metallic base colour and lacquer reflections in action.

metallic paint car reflections

Whereas a default V-Ray material has three layers including: Diffuse, Options and maps as you can see in the image below:

v-ray material editor in sketchup

So we need to add two layers of reflection: A metallic layer with a lacquer layer stacked on top. We can do it using right-click on the base layer and choosing “Create layer”[1] option, then add a “reflection” layer[2]:

adding reflective layers in v-ray for sketchup

Give each layer a name to distinguish them easier in the material editor in V-Ray. Your material should now exhibit the follow result:

reflective layers in v-ray for sketchup

Now let’s take a look at the settings. On the upper lacquer layer just reduce the glossiness amounts to add the slightest of blurriness. I found a value of 0.95 enough.

adjusting glossiness in v-ray for sketchup

Then on the metallic reflection layer set the IOR value to 4, and I choose a pale pink as Filter colour. You can also tweak the glossiness value to your liking. I used a value of 0.75.

adding IOR values in v-ray for sketchup

adding filters to reflections in v-ray for sketchup

With the metallic car-paint material ready to use we can look at creating the studio setup. Below is a test render of the metallic paint.

metallic paint result in v-ray for sketchup

How to make a studio setup in V-Ray for SketchUp

In this scene the lighting includes 3 rectangular lights and a spot light. Each positioned to offer the best reflective highlights.

studio setup in v-ray for sketchup

For the car front lights I used a light emitter material assigned to the light bulb volume of the car model.

adding emission in v-ray for sketchup

Adjust emission values / change colour / dimensions of the lighting. Finally set up their shadow quality by changing the light subdivide value.

adjusting render in v-ray for sketchup

I tweaked the final render using Fotor. This free online image editing tool allows for instagram type filters, cropping, rotating and lens effects.So even somewhat drab and boting images can get a new lease of life!

tweaking render in fotor

For more basic information and fundamentals of V-Ray please take a look at my V-Ray for SketchUp book.

Interested in more or different studio setups and car rendering techniques? Take a look at my complete book on car rendering tips and tricks for V-Ray.

About the Author

Majid Yeganegi

As an Architectural Consultant and Artist has been using V-Ray in digital design and CAD for over 5 years.