V-Ray Image Post-Processing in Photoshop


By Teofilo Pardo

This tutorial has been designed for those people who are not using Photoshop as much as they should be in their post-processing workflow or not using it on a regular basis. It incorporates lots of hints and tips and shows what can be done in the post-processing of a V-ray output image of a SketchUp model. It could also be an output image from any render engine that you want to tweak and improve.


Step 1. Lets open the V-Ray output image in Photoshop.


Step 1

Step 2. Go to Image>Adjustments>Brightness/Contrast.


Step 2

Step 3. Now the brightness and contrast would be different in every image, and its a personal choice how much brightness and contrast you want to apply,  because maybe this image looks too bright on some monitors or too dark in others. Maybe you want to have very  dark shadows, so you have to experiment with it. In the end, its your eyes that decide.


Step 3

The result of those first adjustments.


Result of first adjustments

Step 4. Next go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation.


Step 4

Step 5. Choose -13 in Saturation because in this case I think the colors are to strong. Again this is a personal choice to use it or not, I use it sometimes depending on the render.


Step 5

Here we have the result of adjusting the saturation.


Result of adjusting the saturation

Step 6. Next go to Image>Adjustments>Selective Color.


Step 6

With Selective Color you can adjust any color on your image. For example if you choose green, all green colors will be affected and changed depending on how you adjust the cyan, magenta, yellow and black. So this is a nice option to experiment with.


Selective color

Step 7. For this particular image at this stage I chose Neutrals and adjusted the cyan to -7 and yellow to +9, to correct the color of the scene. This can also be done with the color balance option by going to Image>Adjustments>Color Balance, but I found this method quicker and easier. The colors you can get can give you some interesting and dramatic effects with the color in your image.


Step 7

In these two images you can see two effects achieved by this method. A blue cinematic effect and a green effect. This all helps to give an artistic touch to your renders. It all depends on what you are looking for and trying to achieve. Please note that this can all be done with the Photo Filter option by going to Image>Adjustments>Photo Filter, but this method gives me a little more control on colors.


Effects achieved by this method

The end result.


End result

Step 8. Now lets go to Diffuse Glow by selecting Filter>Distort>Diffuse Glow and apply a little to this image.


Step 8

Step 9. Choose 2 in the Glow Amount, but you can go crazy and make it 3, 4, 6, 7 etc… it’s up to you.


Step 9

The end result.


End result

Step 10. Here comes an interesting part.  Go to Filter>Distort>Lens Correction.


Step 10

Step 11. I always use Chromatic Aberration and its a very interesting option because it gives a very photo-realistic touch to the image.  Again, how you use it depends on what effect you want for your image. In this case I chose -15 on Fix Red/Cyan Fringe and +9 on Fix Blue/Yellow Fringe and again you can go crazy and play with the adjustments to get a lot of different results.


Step 11

Step 12. The Vignette option below Chromatic Aberration is also an interesting one. It can give a deep effect to your image. In this case I chose -25 and what this does is give us a dark shadow to the perimeter of the image.  It gives a feeling of some kind of ‘shadow frame’ for our main focus objects, which are the flower and the table. You can also move the midpoint to suit your needs if necessary.


Step 12

The end result.


End result

Step 13. Now lets move on to the Blur Tool it is the one circled in red. What this tool does is give us a depth of field effect (DoF). Now there are plug-ins out there that will do this and I don’t want to go into them now and anyway this is a nice easy method. You can use it if you don’t want to do DoF in V-Ray.


Step 13

Step 14. Now you have to adjust the Master Diameter and the Hardness which I almost always leave at 0% and the further the object is the more blur we will apply (well in this case at least), it all depends where  your main focus is,…in this image it is the flowers and the table.


Step 14

Step 15. As you can see I applied the Blur Tool to the black couch, a little on the rug and some more on the door to the right. Next I need to apply it to the red chair (tip: to change the Master Diameter and the Hardness, just right click with the mouse when using the blur tool).


Step 15

Step 16. For the red chair lets use the Zoom Tool, circled in red. I can be more accurate when applying the Blur Tool to the red chair and not accidentally apply it to the flowers.


Step 16

Here is the result after applying the Blur Tool and remember to use the Zoom Tool for little areas.


Result after applying Blur Tool

Step 17. Let us use the Photo Filter option by clicking on Image>Adjustments>Photo Filter. This is a very good option for blending an image to a warm or cool color.


Step 17

Step 18. In the Photo Filter Window by default appears the Warm Filter with 25% Density. You can change this by clicking on the little drop down menu and you will get a selection of preset filters. You can also click on the color box and create a filter with the color you want.


Step 18

The result with the Warm Filter.


Warm Filter Result

Here are some examples of different filters.


Various filters


Post-processed image-1 and the straight V-Ray render

In the image below I used Smart Sharpen, adjusted Brightness/Contrast and added more Vignette and Chromatic Aberration. And the straight V-ray render for comparison.


Post-processed image-2 and the straight V-Ray render

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and most of all that it has been helpful in your post-processing work-flow.



Final Image

7 Responses to “V-Ray Image Post-Processing in Photoshop”

  1. pAblo on May 27th, 2010 11:25 pm

    Great tutorial. This is what I was looking for.

  2. ton54 on October 5th, 2010 8:41 am

    great & very useful tutorial thanks for sharing.

  3. mluke on October 27th, 2010 5:57 pm

    Muy bueno, solo creo que exageró en algunos puntos
    como la aberración cromática.


  4. SurfingAlien on January 22nd, 2011 8:51 pm

    simple and clear… very well done. thanks!

    side note: your V-ray raw output was extremely good already!

  5. baidu on September 8th, 2011 6:14 am

    This article is as intriguing as it is informative. I read through this information and couldnt find a thing wrong with it. I cant imagine anyone writing this article better.

  6. WierzchoslawBrzeczyszczykiewicz on October 28th, 2011 12:40 am

    I suggest to use curves instead of the brightness and contrast, which cut the top and bottom, unless like in audio you redirect them to the pipes and subwoofer 😉

  7. SDVorster on February 20th, 2012 7:15 am

    Great tutorial

Got something to say?