Reflective Shader

The Reflective shader is for glossy surfaces. A typical use is for a car paint and chrome.



As seen in Maya the controls are:

Shader library 2014 Docs (4)

Sampling anisotropy can generally be left at 4x. It’s the number of passes made to reduce aliasing or “jaggies” on textures that have high contrast (e.g. checkerboard floor patterns) as they get farther away from camera.

The “diffuse sampler” is the color texture painted on the transparent surface. It uses the UV set indicated by “UV” to map onto the object. The surface is simulated as a layer of (base) color glass with mirroring underneath.

The opacity setting determines how much one can see through the mirror layer. Highlights and lighting effects on the glass above are not affected by the opacity.

The normal sampler points to an RGB color texture generated with one of several available tools (NVidia has a Photoshop plug-in). It uses the same UV set as the base color texture.

The reflection sampler needs a “latitude / longitude” spherical panorama of medium to high resolution (e.g. 1k). The intensity of the effect, its “softness” indicating roughness of the surface can be varied.

The Blinn-Phong point light has a color, a position in global coordinates of the scene, diffuse and specular strength and specular sharpness. Its often useful to constrain the position to windows for interiors or the sun in outdoor scenes.

An additional trick is that the specular layer can be illuminated by ambient IBL to look like “dirt”. The intensity of the effect (amount of IBL light) and the softness can be varied. Note that for simplicity the reflection map is used, and the softness value will need to be higher.

The final parameter rotates the ambient environment map on the global Y axis. This allows matching the ambient lighting to an environment bubble or cyclorama which may be positioned differently.

Rendering Reflection Maps with V-Ray

To render a reflection map there are a few guidelines to follow to get a good map that will work with your scene.

Render a 360° Spherical Panorama, looking down the positive x-axis, with the positive z-axis to the left (shown below.) In the Render Settings, under the V-Ray tab, expand the Camera dropdown. Change the Type to Spherical, Override FOV and change it to 360.




Download the Shader Library 2014 package from the Dashboard.





  • DiffuseSampler: White JPEG
  • Opacity: 1
  • Bumpiness: 0.025
  • Reflect Intensity: 1
  • Reflect Softness: 1
  • Diffuse Strength: 0
  • Specular Strength: 0.205
  • Specular Sharpness: 0
  • Spec As Dirt: 0
  • Ambient Softness(for dirt): 5

Rusted Chrome



  • Opacity: 1
  • Bumpiness: 0.13
  • Reflect Intensity: 0
  • Reflect Softness: 0
  • Diffuse Strength: 0
  • Specular Strength: 0.205
  • Specular Sharpness: 0
  • Spec As Dirt: 1
  • Ambient Softness(for dirt): 5.465

Download sample materials from the Dashboard, sample texture files provided by SurfaceMimic.