V-Ray lights are designed specifically to work with V-Ray and optimize its features. V-Ray also provides shadow options for standard Maya lights and utilities to assist in the lighting process.


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While you can use Maya standard lights with V-Ray, V-Ray includes a set of lights designed specifically for rendering with the V-Ray engine. As with standard Maya, they are created using the Lights tab on in the create menu. Alternatively, they can be created using the V-Ray Shelf.

  • Area lights shine from a light source contained within a specified area or boundary. There are several types of Area lights.
  • A Sun light simulates the sun, creating a single bright light for daytime exterior and interior scenes.
  • Photometric lights use IES files to determine the shape of the light cone and light falloff.
  • Mesh lights turn polygon objects into lights that emit both direct and indirect illumination.

V-Ray also provides Light Attributes for standard Maya lights. These lights work similarly to their standard Maya counterparts but are optimized to work with V-Ray.

The V-Ray Light Meter utility helps evaluate the lighting in a scene so adjustments can be made to improve exposure.


Note: Using V-Ray lights and V-Ray materials within the Maya scene will produce a more accurate lighting solution than using standard Maya lights and materials.


Image courtesy of Mehmet Fatih Usta


Light Icons at a Glance


Rectangle light (default plane light)





Photometric light


Dome light


Sun light



Mesh Light



Rectangle Lights

The VRayLightRect, also known as the V-Ray Rectangle light or an "area light" is a planar light source with the shape of a rectangle or circular disk. Rectangle lights are useful for simulating man-made light sources in an interior environment, such as lamps. A rectangle light can have any one of two different shapes: plane or disc.  For more information, see VRayLightRect.


Light Sphere

The VRayLightSphere is a VRay Light object in the shape of a sphere, casting light outward in all directions. For more information, see VRayLightSphere.


Dome Light

A dome light (also considered an area light) creates light within a dome or spherical shape to create a traditional global illumination setup. This Light is frequently used to load HDRI environment images. For more information, see VRayLightDome.

Sun and Sky System

A Sun light is a spherical light source placed at a specific location which simulates the sun in the sky. A Sun light has some unique qualities:

  • Sun light rays that strike the scene objects are treated as parallel to one another regardless of how far the Sun object is placed from the scene objects, producing the parallel shadows that our own sun creates.
  • A Sun light is designed to be used with global illumination; when the light bounces around the scene, the resulting rendering looks very much like sunlight in real life.
  • A Sun light can work in conjunction with a Sky environment background to provide realistic lighting and coloring for the scene when used with GI. Often, Sun/Sky is the only lighting setup needed in the scene to produce a photo-real rendering.
  • The Sun/Sky combination is suitable for an exterior scene, or for an interior scene with windows or other openings through which the light comes.

For more information, see VRaySun.


Photometric Lights

Photometric lights are designed to simulate a light source's distribution pattern exactly as they behave in real life by loading and using an IES (Illumination Engineering Society) file. An IES profile contains details about the light's behavior, such as how the light passes through fresnel lenses, its intensity and falloff. For more information, see VRayIES.


Mesh Lights 

The VRayLightMesh can create light sources that have volume and shape defined by geometry in the scene, without the need to use self illuminated objects and global illumination. For more information, see VRayLightMesh.


The Light Meter helper shows how a scene is illuminated, which aids in troubleshooting or in adjusting lights. For more information, see VRayLightMeter.

Another UI tool that can be extremely helpful when setting up and adjusting like is the V-Ray Light Lister. It provides quick access to many of the most important attributes for all the lights in your scene. It also makes it easy to select, turn off, or solo a light to see it's contribution to your scene's lighting. For more details, please see the Light Lister page.

Light Lister

The V-Ray Light Lister is a window that gives users an easy access to all the lights in a scene, whether V-Ray or Maya lights. Using this interface allows users to adjust many commonly used parameters for lights such as a light's intensity and color, as well as quick access to renaming, selecting, and enabling/disabling lights. For more on the Light Lister, click here.




  • When the Store with irradiance map option is enabled on any V-Ray Light, it is then no longer treated as a direct light source and will not be available within the Light Select Render Element.