How to add Environment Backgrounds for VRay 2


Hey guys,

While going around finding something new to learn that could spice up my renders, I found this really easy way to add backgrounds to your models without using a Dome Light (I mentioned that method in a previous tutorial).

To get to it you’ll need, either a HDRI or a HD image with a panoramic view (Day, Night, or Dusk); you can choose anything you like or think would help with the final render/location of model.

I’m using VRay 2.4 and Sketchup 2015; if you have different versions and have questions, feel free to drop a comment.

For the 3.4+ Tutorial, coming Sunday, 11th of August 2019.

Note: Keep in mind that the overall color of the image will influence the color of the natural lighting, for example: if you use an image that has a lot of orange hues, the natural lighting will be tinged orange. So, unless you want that certain effect, choose your background wisely.

If you want over 600 MB of FREE HQ HDRIs (Sky + Background) files, then continue to the end of this post.

I’ll be adding this view:


To This Scene:

Screenshot (5)

Step 1

Open your VRay ‘Options’ window, and head to the ‘Environment’ tab, Make sure that ‘GI(skylight)’ and ‘Reflection/refraction (background)’ are checked and then press the ‘M’ button in ‘GI (skylight)’.

Note: The steps we’ll be doing should be applied to both ‘GI(skylight)’ and ‘Reflection/refraction (background)’.

Screenshot (1)

Step 2

From the drop down menu under, choose ‘TexBitmap’.

Screenshot (2)

Step 3

Brows for your desired image

Screenshot (3)

Make sure you choose the exact image for both ‘GI(skylight)’ and ‘Reflection/refraction (background)’.

Step 4

Scroll down to ‘UVW’ and set ‘UVW Type’ to ‘UVWGenEnvironment’ and ‘Mapping Type’ to ‘Spehrical’.

Screenshot (4)


Now render! It should come out looking like this

Apartment - Master Bedroom-Scene 1

If you’re rendering a day scene and want the light to show, tweak ‘GI(skylight)’ value till you get what you want. I usually go for 5.

Screenshot (1)2

It should come out looking like this

Apartment - Boys Bedroom-Scene 1
Boys’ bedroom in the same apartment as the Master Bedroom


  1. Use images above 4 MP; you can find those via Google’s image search, and from ‘Search Tools‘ choose ‘Larger Than..‘ then ‘4MP‘.
  2. Always choose an image that is actually related to the approximate location of the model, as in, don’t choose a mountain view for a down town bachelor pad..
  3. If you’re making a daylight scene and want the sunlight to play a bigger role than the other lights, uncheck ‘Exposure’ in the ‘Camera’ tab, and amp up the ‘GI(skylight)’ value. You can post-process it later in Photoshop to tweak brightness and shadows.

Hope this tutorial comes in handy for your next project!


If you encounter any issues such as a Black Background or a Transparent Background, please head over to this post HERE for a fix.

If you’re looking to fix the Shadow/Sun problem caused by the HDRI, go HERE.


Your Support would make my day!


46 thoughts on “How to add Environment Backgrounds for VRay 2

  1. When i use an HDRI sky on the vray enviroment window,it appears too bold am looking at a way to reduce the scale so it appears proportional to my 3d. Pls where do i go to adjust this scale. Thanks so much

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pls how can i adjust the hdri in the environment window of vray? Mean how to adjust the texture of the sky in the environment


  3. If you want to reset your VRay settings, Open a new Sketchup file and then Cut + Paste your model there 🙂
    As for the VRay 3 tutorials, they will be uploaded soon!


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