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3D artist Andrew “Charly” Krivulya shows us how V-Ray Next for Maya’s hair shader brought this bear to life — and how he rendered it in no time with V-Ray Cloud.

When we found “Bear Rider,” we knew we were onto something special. The striking images juxtapose bare flesh with bear fur; the latter rendered with eye-popping close-up levels of detail. Not that we’d ever want to get that close to a real bear.

The original model was created by CG artist Maria Panfilova a year ago, with chunkier and more cartoony hair and fur. But it was only in the past few weeks that 3D artist and tutor Andrew “Charly” Krivulya realized the sculpture’s potential to demonstrate his skills as a stylist and groomer.

Armed with the V-Ray Next for Maya beta’s new hair and fur shader, and access to the Google Cloud Platform-powered V-Ray Cloud, Andrew set to work on taking Maria’s sculpt to the next level.

© Andrew Krivulya

How did you get and adapt Maria’s model?

I wrote to Maria and she gladly shared the model with me. The project already had a file with base materials in Substance Painter, so I pulled out the all necessary textures, then set up the materials and tweaked them with V-Ray Next for Maya.

Which tools did you use to create and groom the hair and fur?

I used Ephere’s Ornatrix 2 for Maya. I loved the first version, and it’s got even better with version two. Check out this video and you’ll see what I mean.

© Andrew Krivulya

What were your first impressions of the V-Ray Hair Next Material?

When I saw the first render with the glint effect from the new beta, my jaw dropped! I ran around the room, screaming with admiration, and calling my relatives to look at it. Everything is simple and intuitive, and Chaos Group’s wonderful documentation helped me understand how to make this cool shader work.

How do you adjust it to match the look you’re going for?

There is nothing complicated in the shader. You only need to understand how softness works together with glossiness, melanin and dye color, and a little bit of diffuse amount.

Of course, it’s important to observe the real world. Before I start, I collect a lot of references to study the behavior of fur in different conditions. This is my reference board for this project.

© Andrew Krivulya

I reviewed a lot of photos of bears to create my own unique fur.

This is my bear shader for V-Ray Next beta 2 in Maya, with the awesome glint effect.

You rendered with V-Ray Cloud. Did it work as you expected it to?

My first impression was wow! 50 renders at the same time, really quickly, is nothing short of magic.

For this project, I created 17 renderers in 4K resolution. Through experimentation, I landed on these presets in V-Ray’s Quick Settings:

Not the maximum, but enough for my work.

Then I resized the all images to 1K. This is the best way to get high-quality images for Artstation and the web without huge file sizes.

In total, all 17 images were rendered in 40-60min - simultaneously.

How would you have rendered this without V-Ray Cloud?

On my Dual Xeon E5 2670 - 32 Threads - 2.60Ghz - 64 GB Ram, which I use on the farm, such a render would have taken much longer. I conducted a test with another image and the render took about five hours, versus 30 minutes with the same settings in V-Ray Cloud. 

Now, I can make art without thinking about the rendering time.

Andrew “Charly” Krivulya, CG Artist

How much time do you think V-Ray Cloud saved you?

If I go from previous tests on my PC where I rendered one picture in about four hours, then this totals 68 hours or just under three days. Against 60 minutes on V-Ray Cloud.

© Andrew Krivulya

Did you use V-Ray Cloud for test renders?

Hair and fur in the IPR is very slow on my PC, but V-Ray Cloud helped a lot with this. I create test renders with Shading Rate at 2, and AA subdivs at 1/16, which is the quality I need to get an idea of how the final shot will look. On V-Ray Cloud rendering one picture takes 30-60 seconds with these settings. It's very fast and it speeds up my work. Now, I can make art without thinking about the render time.

And it's still on the CPU. I think it will cause a revolution when Chaos Group adds IPR and GPU!

© Andrew Krivulya

What are you working on next?

I'm a true artist - I don't show my cards. In ancient times, the artist didn't show the work in progress, he covered it with a cloth until the very end. It intrigued people and they were much more interested.

So, let it be a secret.

The only thing I can say is that I'm working on several tutorials about using V-Ray, V-Ray Cloud, and PhoenixFD, and a few more personal projects.

Subscribe to Charly’s YouTube channel for more, and check out these interviews with Corona Renderer and CGTrader to find out about the man himself.

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