Using sIBL with Vray and 3dsmax is fairly straight-forward, however I’d like to mention a couple of tips and bugs to address concerning the latest Vray template for sIBL. Although it’s not completely important, I’m going to assume you know the basics of setting up 3dsmax and Vray for Linear Workflow (LWF.) If you are not familiar with LWF, you may want to read the beginning of my Basic Vray HDR Tutorial . I also mention some helpful, basic render settings at the end of that article. Last but not least, if you haven’t installed sIBL, you may want to read my sIBL installation for 3dsmax here.
Initial sIBL GUI Setup
Once installed, sIBL GUI should ask you for the directory in which you have all of sIBL files and libraries extracted. You can also browse to your sIBL archive and files here under \Preferences\Collection Management\:
In this case, all of my sIBL files are located with my other HDR images and libraries on a Linux-based network drive mapped (through Windows) to z:.? It really doesn’t matter where you put your sIBLs as long as they’re easily accessible by both Max, sIBL, and the drive has enough extra file space for your sets of HDRs.
There’s also another section up top called “Overall Path Settings” located in the same Preferences window. If you’re on Windows, you’re directory paths should look something like the image below. Keep in mind, that unless you plan on editing your sIBLs or creating your own from other HDRs, you do not need to install sIBLedit and can leave that field blank:
Sending a sIBL HDR to 3dsmax and Vray
Now that everything is setup, selecting your sIBL files and sending them to your 3D application is super easy. Below is a screenshot of the main “Collections Browser” window. In this example, I’ve simply chosen the HDR I want to use from my own personal library, and double-clicked it:
Next, head over to the “Import” window. Your sIBL file should be loaded and almost ready to go:
Important: Don’t forget to select your rendering software. Each time sIBL GUI is loaded, it defaults to Maya. If you do forget, sIBL GUI will output an error (unless you have Maya installed as well.)
Last but not least, I almost always adjust the “Sun Distance” under “Additional Attributes” to “1000.00.” I find that the default of “100.00″ is way too small – especially for architecturally-based projects. This parameter actually controls the distance of a Vray light (acting as a Sun to cast a tint and sharper shadows) from the XYZ center of your scene.
Hopefully in the future, sIBL GUI will remember your default selections instead. Keep in mind, sIBL is programmed by a group of volunteers in their free-time and they are constantly looking for other volunteers to help contribute to their open-source coding efforts.
If all works properly, sIBL GUI should automatically start up 3dsmax. Or, you could have had 3dsmax already opened with a scene already created. If successful, you may notice a new light in the viewport. You can also check the Vray and 3dsmax Environment overrides – three files should have been automatically populated.
Last but not least, select the light (if added to your scene) and uncheck “Affect Specularity” and check “Invisible.” You probably wouldn’t want to see a strange ball of light floating in your scene.
Current sIBL Issues and Errors with Vray
There are a few errors, bugs, and issues which can currently occur with sIBL and Vray which you should be aware of:
- If you don’t have Vray selected, you’ll receive a “Win32 OLE” error message if you don’t have Vray selected under the “Selection” area.
- The North parameter doesn’t seem to work yet for the Vray Template. Prior to sIBL GUI, the North parameter would rotate your environments around the center of your model. This is to be addressed.
- If a sIBL file has no “physical” light specified whatsoever within the .ibl, the sIBL file will not be sent to 3dsmax – nothing will happen. This is a bug that needs to be fixed. I’ve added a light to all of my sIBL files, and in very dark scenes have specified a light with an extremely low multiplier (less than .0001) to get around this issue. I’ve informed other library creators of this bug/issue – some of their sIBLs may not be parsed to Vray. A simple and temporary solution would be to compare a working sIBL .ibl file with a non-working one in a text editor (Wordpad or Notepad suffices), and copy and paste the working light settings at the bottom with a very low multiplier to get them to work again.
- Since the recent release of version 2.0, sIBL supports multiple “physical” lights. Unfortunately, if the sIBL .ibl file specifies the new light parameter as “LIGHT” instead of the original version 1.0 parameter called “SUN”, the sIBL file will not load. In order to fix this, I’ve specified all of my “Light” parameters to read “SUN” again. The “SUN” parameter is actually not deprecated and works properly. While my libraries all work properly, those of others may not. I’ve informed the other library makers of this issue. New code needs to be added to the Vray Template (Maxscript template which parses the sIBL information to Vray) which would support the new “LIGHT” parameters. As I mentioned before, the sIBL team is a group of volunteers who code this in their spare-time and it sometimes takes a little bit before people can get things fixed. It would be very helpful if the sIBL team could find a Maxscript coder who could volunteer to help out with some of these Vray-related issues.
- If all of these issues listed above has not solved your issue and is still occurring with Vray and 3dsmax, you may still receive the “Win32 OLE error.” If this is the case, you may want to add the following registry information (as always, use at your own risk and backup your registry): http://www.hdrlabs.com/cgi-bin/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1251379750/21#21