Lighting with V-Ray for SketchUp – definitive guide part 1

By Nomer Adona

Previously Nomer Adona wrote a simple tutorial entitled “Interior Lighting for Beginners” which was published at In that tutorial he used version 1.05 of V-Ray for SketchUp. Since many new features have been added with the latest version of V-Ray for SketchUp, we have decided to do this mini series of tutorials with the latest versions.

In this first tutorial I will be using V-Ray Beta version 1.48.99  (V-Ray for SketchUp User Manual Version 1.48) and SketchUp version 7.0. I will be focusing on IES, Spotlight, Rectagular and emissive lighting. You will learn how to create a realistic lampshade material and how to position the rectangular lights to achieve the right effect for your shade. In this tutorial I will be using the same model that I used in the previous tutorial “Interior Lighting for Beginners” and will be adding components and materials to achieve the desired effect.

Here is a screen shot of the particular interior that I will be using.

Basic SketchUp Interior

OK lets begin!

1. IES Lighting

I have done this in a previous tutorial here at SketchUpArtists: Basic IES Tuorial using V-Ray for SketchUp. The only difference is instead of using a rectangular light to show the light source, I will be just using a Emissive map.

Emissive Map and IES Light Icon

Here is the material I used for the Emissive map.

Settings for Material

This is the first render.


2. Spotlight

Together with IES lighting, this is also a new feature with V-Ray 1.48.66  and up. Since this is a tutorial, allow me to put 4 spotlights in my four recess lamps.

4 Recess Lamps

The Image below shows the position of the Spotlight icon. I also use a Emissive map on the light receptacle.

Position Spotlight Icon

Here is the settings for my Spotlight. For me the most critical setting is the Shadow Radius which controls the softness of the shadows, Shadow Subdivision controls the smoothness of the shadow and last but not the least is the Penumbra Angle. In the image below I used 0.3.

Spotlight Settings

Here is the render using Spotlight. In this render I used a very low resolution. This is the reason why I have splotches and grains. This can be corrected easily by using higher Subdivisions and Samplings.

Render Using Spotlight

3. Lampshades

Here is a simple lamp I modeled in SketchUp. I will show you how to place V-Ray rectangular lights.

SketchUp Lamp

Here I hid the shade of my lamp to show how I set up my rectangular lights. V-Ray rectangular 1 and 2 run along the height of the shade. They are double sided, visible but they don’t cast shadows. The one that casts shadows is the third V-Ray rectangular light. This one casts shadows, double sided but I made it invisible.

Rectangular Lights

Here are the settings of my V-Ray rectangular lights.

V-Ray Rectangular Lights 1 and 2

V-Ray Rectangular Light 3

Lampshade material: This is a 2 sided material with about 70% gray mixture.

Lampshade Material Settings

Here is the resulting render.

Render With Rectangular Lights

Lastly, I will add a few more components. A special thanks to a friend BTH (Trang An) for some of these great components.

SketchUp Scene with Extra Components

Here is the render.

Night Scene

I also attempted to render with the same scene, this time with GI and BG Colors on (no mapping).

Night Scene 2

Cheers! I hope you will wait for the second part of this tutorial and my guide to lighting with V-Ray for SketchUp.


Some of Nomer Adona’s other tutorials here at SketchUpArtists:

51 Responses to “Lighting with V-Ray for SketchUp – definitive guide part 1”

  1. Alex on February 19th, 2011 4:29 pm

    I just want to thank you for this tutorial, it was really helpful to me!

  2. hector festin on February 25th, 2011 3:31 pm

    this is truly helpful to all!

  3. Okultika on February 27th, 2011 3:36 am

    wow.. very helpful.. thanks.. :)

  4. Ibrahim on February 27th, 2011 7:25 am

    hi, i really appreciate what i saw. i dont know if u can help me out on tutorials that is v-ray for sketch up, i dont even know a thing about v-ray, so pls i will appreciate any help, thanks.

  5. Jeron Severino on March 13th, 2011 10:18 am

    great tutorials.. god speed big help for starters.

  6. aufialwi on March 16th, 2011 2:58 am

    truly benefit from tis tutorial,
    thanks nomer you are a great help

  7. nomeradona on March 17th, 2011 12:21 pm

    well i’m glad this is a great help. wait for part 2.

  8. rarchitect on March 28th, 2011 8:44 am

    Thanks for the great tutorial! But everytime i try rendering a completly enclosed space i get a totally black rendering,its driving me crazy! Could you please post the complete vray option settings ( camera setting, GI setting etc..) for this sort of enclosed space.

  9. nomeradona on April 2nd, 2011 4:42 pm

    i guess your physical camera is on.

  10. rarchitect on April 3rd, 2011 2:15 pm

    Nope, thats what’s driving me nuts, physical camera is off. That’s also why i was hoping you could post the complete vray option settings.

  11. vicko on April 12th, 2011 1:00 pm

    what a nice guy,,, thanks,,, very helpfull…

  12. NoelFRJ on April 29th, 2011 2:52 am

    Thanks!!!! I love to learn this way!

  13. onin aure on April 29th, 2011 8:57 pm

    uhm sir. i just want to ask how did you modify the default settings when dealing with the lamp shade material? i mean, i’d tried it but the material was still opaque. how would i use the two-sided material and the right translucency for it? thank you sir. hope you could help me.

  14. NoelFRJ on May 1st, 2011 9:36 pm

    I have a problem, on the light editor i cant modify the intensity of lights and also in other parameters is the same problem!

    When I render and image whit rectangular lights they appear black, even if I reverse it´s face. Other types of lights just dont appear the program doesnt include them in the scene!

  15. nomeradona on May 4th, 2011 4:43 pm

    @onin. i think you need to click force one sided material. as for the material the rule of thumb to me is to have 70% dark gray. (front 70% and 30% back materials.

  16. nomeradona on May 4th, 2011 4:50 pm

    @Noel, what version of vray are you using? I think you are using vray 1.05.33 maybe if the other lights icon are not showing.

  17. NoelFRJ on May 10th, 2011 7:17 am


  18. bublee on June 11th, 2011 3:01 pm

    why cant i change the number of the penumbra angle on the spotlight setting?it happens also in the multiplier tab on IES setting..


  19. TUAN on June 22nd, 2011 4:57 am

    hi can you send for me your model i need it for practice it.thanks.i can’t make this lamp material same yous .please so me more thanks

  20. emerson oplas on July 17th, 2011 2:20 am

    sir nomer sang window mu inopen ung asa taas nung select color mu… ung para sa material.. tsak sir.. bat pag sakin di umiilaw ung lamp q.. e ganyan nmn gingawa q…

  21. on July 17th, 2011 6:05 pm

    Wow , nice tut . thank you very much !

  22. marie on September 28th, 2011 2:21 pm

    I’ve got a question,
    all my lights that I want to use, don’t work, and I’ve tried everything..
    I don’t understand, can you help me?

    Sorry for my english

    Marie from belgium

  23. boudi on October 26th, 2011 9:44 pm

    Thanks very much for these exemple, easy to understand and well explained.
    Boudi from Paris, France

  24. simmi on November 17th, 2011 9:37 am

    such a grt tutorial!! u r doin wonders by tutoring beginners like me!! Thanks a million for ur efforts!!

  25. derek on December 4th, 2011 11:43 pm

    your renders are awesome. quick question though: how do you get the light to shine through the lamp shade? is your shade just a regular white color? is it just one plane? i have some shades that have a 1/4″ thickness; is this not the way to go? your response will be greatly appreciated!!!

  26. Paulo Autran on January 13th, 2012 9:46 am

    Hi. I want to study these cases, where can I find these scenes (Sketchup)? Sorry , i don’t speak english very well

  27. noelavi on January 13th, 2012 1:13 pm

    need yout professional advise, i have d same problem with marie, everytime na mg render ako yun mga lights ko na inilagay ay puro black lang, i adjust all setting i know pero ganun pa din. pls advise

  28. roy on February 14th, 2012 10:15 am

    ganyna rin sa akin everytime na gagamitin ko yong lighting black ang nagpapakita pag narenderan na , pano po gamitin yon

  29. meg on March 6th, 2012 7:24 am

    I’ve the same problem as Noel’s. When I put rectangular lights, it appears as if its an uplight and it’s black. I dont have problems with my IES, Spots and Omni. Will greatly appreciate your advice. 😉 Cheers!

  30. silvia on April 13th, 2012 10:31 pm

    Thank you very much, this is a great tutorial!

  31. fenasi kerim on July 4th, 2012 6:21 pm

    good tutorial?!

    i am getting a black screen altough i configure same options

  32. fenasi kerim on July 4th, 2012 6:35 pm

    Sorry 😀 i am using demo version 😀

    i think demo version has some restrictions, doesnt let to use some feautures, such as shining sun, lighting spots etc :PPPP

  33. ASVILL on July 12th, 2012 6:40 am


  34. Clarisse on October 11th, 2012 11:58 pm

    I had the same black screen problem as a lot of people here..i suggest you try to zoom in a little..sometimes the render renders a little far back and you are inside a wall. That’s what i discovered. Simple but sometimes it’s the problem.

  35. admin on October 17th, 2012 1:26 pm

    Thnx for that Clarisse

  36. Pablo on November 26th, 2012 2:43 am

    Hey, Great tutorial…
    I have a question, how do you do for the reflection of a mirror, I saw you have one on the render.
    I can’t make that the textures reflect, just objects and colors. I wonder if you can make a tutorial about it or just give the steps you follow, I really appreciate that…
    Thanks and sorry for my English, I hope you understand what I tried to say.

  37. egy on November 27th, 2012 9:20 am

    i like that..

  38. Van Ryan on December 19th, 2012 4:59 am

    Hi sir! great work on this! really made me want to relearn sketch up… and finally start to understand v-ray.

    I am a 3ds max and mental ray user, and this quality of work would usually require a 20-45 render time.

    I would simply like to ask how long did the render time took for this kind of great quality.



  39. rafaela faria on February 6th, 2013 9:32 pm

    Do you have the Vray program to send me?

  40. admin on February 7th, 2013 1:08 pm

    Not sure if I understand what you mean?

  41. Juliana on February 13th, 2013 11:07 am

    awesome and helpful tutorial! Thanks!

    But i have a problem. All my lights dont work (spotlight, omni, rectangle…) Tested different settings, changed values – nothing.
    Only can see lights from emissive materials when start render.
    How to fix this?
    sorry for my english.
    Thanks :)

  42. holando27 on March 16th, 2013 4:34 am

    is the lampshade some kind of component or group??
    can you explain it more?

    I can’t understand about mat 2sided.

    thx for your answer & tutorial


  43. admin on March 21st, 2013 10:57 am

    I believe Nomer used a component for the lampshade and the mat2sided means the material is placed on both sides.

  44. holando27 on March 23rd, 2013 5:32 am

    thanks a lot.. now I understand :)

    maybe this link can more help about mat2sided

    nice tutorial

  45. faegheh on February 1st, 2014 9:37 pm

    thanks alot, light was big problem for me but now I undrestand it.

  46. ong on February 18th, 2014 2:25 pm

    hi…i wanna ask do u get the light shine throught the lamp?

  47. dan on October 7th, 2014 10:34 am

    great tutorials.. thanks

  48. lisa on November 22nd, 2014 10:34 pm

    i was wondering if you could help me.
    i put three spotlights in my space and only two will work when i render. the light settings are exactly the same, is there a reason just one won’t work???
    thank you!!!!!

  49. tugberk on November 29th, 2014 1:50 pm

    First of all, thanks for the tutorial, it helps a lot.
    Is is possible to use emissive materials and GI together? If I turn on GI, emissive materials does not appear as a lighting elements. Is there any option for that? GI and BG were open in your last renders, Did you have emissive material on those scenes? it looks like emisive and GI work together. Thanks a lot.

  50. away on January 6th, 2015 10:36 am

    Hi Admin,

    thanks for the tutorial, it helps a lot.
    I have problem with ies light,
    i put 6 ies light in 12 x 6 area, but only 4 of them work when i render. the light settings are exactly the same.

    could you help me, please

    thank you

  51. pickprooflemon1 on December 25th, 2016 8:36 am

    Guys, I have found the solution behind the mystery of BLACK RECTANGULAR LIGHT when it supposed to be invisible. In my model, Rectangular light are used as general lighting from ceiling. I put the light right under my ceiling and it renders as black piece. After a whole day of exploration, I moved down the rectangular light by 1mm so that it is not directly on the surface. VIOLA! and it worked. Hope it helps you guys!

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