How to use a V-Ray hdri into a Dome

Congratulations to our student Helmie Halim, for this amazing Villa in the Woods created by following the 5SRW Method, just published in our students gallery:

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He created this mood just using 1 HDRI covering the entire environment. But we can use HDRI maps in different situations. Let’s explore 4 specific cases where the hdri maps can produce amazing results. We’re going to talk about:

  • VIDEO IN HD / Narrated / 10 ‘
  • FILES to download
  • V- Ray Dome with HDRI, vray hdri
  • Handling background viewport
  • Using portal and simple options
  • VRay Dome and Matte objects
  • Ground projection
  • Versions used: 3ds Max 2014 / V-Ray 3.xx (compatible NEXT)



We can use HDRIs in V-Ray using the “V-Ray Dome”. It is an IBL tool, that means it has a lot of interesting features: it works with and without global illumination, it offers a lot of controls on the maps and this is not all! It is also optimized, faster and finally offer better results.

IMG1-icon IMG2-icon IMG3-icon IMG4-icon


All the techniques we have in our V-Ray Course (5SRW) are perfectly applicable to this tool, considering is primary or secondary light is not a problem. The focus is always finding the right place for this light into our light hierarchy.

After it has started, click the “X” to view it in full screen:

(*) All the lessons in our V-Ray COURSE are subtitled in English. Press on ‘CC’ to enable it



  • Use V-Ray hdri maps through VRayDomes, using the HDRI node
  • To get sharp shadows use HDRI maps with a clear spotlight
  • Enabling “Store with IM” corresponds to using HDRI in Environment rollout (F10)
  • Portal and Simple could be used to reduce render time, losing some details
  • In case of splotches created by portals, increase VRayDome samples to 30-50
  • Create Matte Objects enabling: Matte – Matte for refl/refr – Shadows
  • Enable Spherical (full dome) option when using HDRI with sky and ground
  • Avoid GI splotches disabling GI (in general or for the single matte object)
  • Disable GI when secondary bounces have no impact in the scene
  • Let perspectives match using Ground Projection
  • Ground projection only works for Environment maps
  • Use Radius and Position to tune the projection

(*) slight differences can be caused by different V-Ray versions


In case you want to create a Matte Object using a material, you can use the VRayMtlWrapper, setting the same options you watched the video. Remember that this material works only with a VRayMtl inside:




Files to download are available to Learnvray Members
Open the files with 3ds Max 2011 or superior

Download the package containing the 4 scenes and relative HDRI maps:

Note: HDRI maps in the video are replaced with similar ones


Ciro Sannino
Author & V-Ray Mentor
Creator of the 5SRW Approach

Ciro Sannino