Car Paint and Studio Setup – SketchUp and V-Ray


Usually cars are included in exterior renders of buildings and they can help the composition. Some prefer to add them after rendering, using an image editor application such as Photoshop or Gimp. I personally prefer to include them in my scene right away using SketchUp. Sometimes  there is a specific need  for a “car render”, and by learning it, you are capable of doing nice renders of cars, motorcycles and basically all other vehicles. So this tutorial is focused on “How create a car paint” and a “Studio set up” for car rendering using V-Ray for SketchUp.


First of all let’s take a look at car paint in the real world, and in particular a metallic car paint. This sort of material has two layers of reflection, a metallic one that is the base color and has “metallic reflection” and a coating layer that gives it a sort of “polish” to the color and in fact is another reflective layer and very glossy.


This is a real world car

On the other hand a default V-Ray material has three layers including: Diffuse, Options and Maps.


Default Layers

So we now need to add two layers of Reflection: A metallic one, underneath and a gloss layer over it. We can do this by right-clicking on the base layer and choosing “Create layer” option, then add a “Reflection” layer.


Add two layers of Reflection

So now your material setup should look something like this.


Material Layers

Considering I have named the two Reflection layers differently, this will make it easier to distinguish between them. Now let’s take a look at the settings. On the upper layer (gloss), reduce the glossiness by a little (to 0.75).


Gloss Layer

Then on the ‘metallic’ Reflection layer I have made some other changes: Ior is set to 4 and also reduced the ‘Glossiness’ (again 0.75).


IOR and Glossiness Adjustments

I have also chosen a pale pink as ‘Filter’ color.


Filter Color

Ok, now the metallic car-paint material is ready to use.


Finished Metallic Car Paint

STUDIO SETUP It is time to set up our studio, where our car is set at its center. I prefer preventing sharp corners, so modeled a simple scene with beveled round corners and then added the lights. First of all, I disabled the environment so I can set my own lights. Then I added 3 rectangular lights and another spot light over and beside the model. You can see the setup in the image below.


Studio Setup

The scene lights include 3 rectangular ones and a spotlight. Car front lights are lit up using a light emitter material that is assigned to the light bulb volume of the car model. Adjust your light powers. Paint with lights, move them to a place where they give you the desired effect, change their color and also dimensions and finally set up their shadow quality by changing the light subdivide value.


Adjust Your Lights

For basic information and fundamentals of V-Ray please take a look at my V-Ray for SketchUp book and if you are interested in more and different studio setup and car rendering techniques please take a look at my complete book on car rendering tips and tricks. I have tweaked the final render using Fotor (a free photo editor).


Final Render

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and may find it useful in your own workflow.


Please check out Majid’s latest publication available for download now. Click on the image below for PDF version or you can get the Kindle version here.


8 Responses to “Car Paint and Studio Setup – SketchUp and V-Ray”

  1. Majid on February 25th, 2015 5:51 am

    Thanks a bundle for sharing this.
    I have prepared a whole pack including e-book+needed files, you may have them here:
    As e-book is in pdf format, so everything is arranged nicely (while in kindle version some images are not in right place)
    I hope you may prepare it right from here, soon.

  2. Riyanto on March 10th, 2015 5:51 pm

    I like…..3D Sketchup

  3. Stu on August 21st, 2015 11:50 am

    What glossiness do you use on the ‘Reflection Gloss’ layer? The tutorial says 0.75 but the image of V-Ray window shows 0.95.

  4. admin on August 21st, 2015 1:56 pm

    Stu, in the next image you see it set at 0.75. I hope this helps.

  5. Stu on August 22nd, 2015 4:54 am

    It does, but the ‘next image’ you refer (with 0.75) to is of the ‘Reflection – Metallic’ layer. Both images of the ‘Reflection – Gloss’ layer show 0.95.

  6. avanish sharma on September 2nd, 2015 11:45 am

    i like sketchup

  7. AG CAD Designs on November 12th, 2015 9:39 pm

    Great tutorial will really help me a lot…. Thank you!

  8. Hamid on April 18th, 2017 3:28 pm

    thank you

Got something to say?