45 Minute Review: vRay vs Advanced Render

Today had the chance to briefly play with vRay for C4D, which was a nice break from C4D’s built-in Advanced Render. I didn’t get to fully jump into vRay, but the results I got were pretty nice for a 45 minute test. I decided to make a scene file with vRay lights/materials, and then recreate it in Advanced Render for comparison.

One thing that’s clear is the difference between hard/raytraced shadows with the Sun & Sky objects. vRay’s shadows have a nice softness to them that make the scene have a higher production value. The reflections in vRay also look substantially better and precise – compare the cube reflections. However, I do think they might be a bit much when it comes to the text. The text using AR seems to be more effective in its contrast from the scene.
It’s also interesting to note that vRay’s Physical Camera allows for much more precise lens distortion as well as some really nice vignetting – it’s subtle but really nice (look at the venetian blind shadows on the wall).

And last but not least is the Depth of Field. Usually I prefer to render out a Z-Depth pass and composite the DOF in After Effects, but when I saw that vRay also allowed for customizable bokeh I just had to give it a try.
I was not disappointed. The smoothness of the blur is very nice, and it also recreates overblown highlights where there’s blur – a detail that might not be apparent with this test render, but would make a world of difference when going for a photoreal camera style.

In conclusion, vRay makes a world of difference (and how could it not) even on a simple setup like this. Both the the vRay render the Advanced Render tests were done using the same light setups, and materials adapted accordingly. I’d also like to note that I used very similar curves adjustments afterwards so there’s no cheating between the renders.

Here’s a screengrab of the lighting setup used for the renders – as you can see, sunlight coming in from outside and then an omni light for some fill.

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