Exercise: Artificial Lighting


Until now you have been working with sunlight and a distant light. In this set of exercises you will be working with artificial light. In the first part you will be exploring light placement. In the second part you will be bringing light fixtures into your model and continuing your work with light quality. 

Working with lights takes time and patience. Getting the effects that you would like may take a considerable amount of trial and error. It can be helpful to set up a camera add a light, render the view, save the view, and then make a change, and repeat the rendering and saving process. If you document each change, you will gain an ability to better control placement and light settings. In this exercise you will be asked to work in this way.  

AL.1. Open the Autocad model. 

AL.2. Change your Workspace to 3D Modeling. 

AL.3. Choose one of your camera views that will be the focus of the first set of renderings. Go to your camera view. Render the view as you have previously with Sunlight. Save the file, and name 01_YourName_SunLight_cam#. The image below is an example. The medium setting is ok for this rendering. 

AL.4. A point light gives illumination radiating from a single point. Set your view to the Top view. Add a point light. 

AL.5. Place this first light in the middle of a space. Click on the light and open the Properties window. Adjust the height so it is somewhere between the floor and ceiling. 

AL.6. Go to your camera view. Turn on full shadows, but turn off the sun status and sky. 

AL.7. Render the view. Save the file as 02_YourName_PointLight. A single point light may be a good choice in some instances, but usually it creates uninteresting rendered views because every surface receives relatively equal treatment and shadows are minimal. Light can be used to call attention to some parts of the view while letting others fade.

AL.8. You might notice that the distant light is creating illuminated surfaces (orange arrow above). You can turn off lights in your model by going to the Light List, double-clicking on a light. Keep in mind that you can rename the lights if keeping track of them is difficult.

AL.9. Create three additional renderings using the same camera view by making adjustments to placements of lights and their settings. Consider the suggestions described below. Continue the naming protocol of number, name and assignment name, eg. 02_YourName_ArtificialLight_cam#. 

AL.10. In the image below a light was added on the other side of the screen (red arrow). The effect is that you see the light through the screen as well as spots of light on the floor and walls. A light was added was added to a more distant room (blue arrow); the light seems too bright. There is some bleed through for some reason (orange arrow). 

AL.11. In the image below a light was added at the roof bringing some light in from above (red and yellow arrows). 

AL.12. In the image below the light above the roof was shifted slightly altering the location of light on surfaces (blue arrow) The intensity of the light in the distant room was decreased (red arrow). To change the intensity double-click on the light in the Light List or right-click on the light glyph.

AL.13. Spotlights point light in one direction. There a source for the light and a target, similar to a camera. Spotlights allow you to focus light on a surface or surfaces. The image below shows a spotlight shining into the corner (yellow arrow). 

AL.14. In the image below the intensity of the light on the other side of the screen was intensified (yellow arrow). The spotlight was shifted. Its fallout and hotspot angles were also adjusted (red arrow). Spotlights were added along one of the walls (blue arrow).

AL.15. As noted above, produce 1 sunlit rendering and 4 variations on artificial light. Run the best rendering at Presentation level. Choose one more camera or make another one. Repeat the steps above. Submit the drawing file and the 10 images to your Google Drive folder. 

AL.16. You will be creating rendered views that integrate artificial lighting. Your views must display three light fixture types. You can design your own fixtures or base your design on one by another designer. 

Light fixtures can be hung from the ceiling, mounted to a wall, or located on a post that rests on the ground. The light can also be recessed into the ceilings, walls, or floors with an enclosure panel/screen that is flush with the finished surface. The purpose of the fixture is to moderate and control the quality and direction of the light. You can also use the light to generate shadow effects on the surfaces of you spaces.

Draw each fixture in a new Autocad file. Name the files with your name followed by Light1, Light2 and Light3. Create layers for each material used.

Links for light fixtures to give you some ideas:

Design Within Reach

Louis Poulsen



AL.17. Insert a fixture in one of the spaces. By selecting the fixture with the Properties window open, you can adjust the height. You may find it useful to place the fixture in a space that already has a camera. You can also generate new camera views. From Top view you can select the camera and see a preview of the view. Changing the visual style of the Preview to Conceptual can help you to visualize the view and the placement of a fixture. Having the Properties window open at the same time allows you to make adjustments to the camera and, if necessary, the light fixture.  Save frequently throughout these steps.

AL.18. From Top view place a point light inside the fixture. Select a point light. Locate the light source as appropriate to your light fixture. Check the placement of the light from the front or side view. Save your work.


AL.19. Load one or more materials into your drawing file. Attach them to the appropriate layers.  Save your work. 

AL.20. Render the camera view.

AL.21. Add additional lights and adjust light levels and placement as necessary. Save your file as a jpg image. Images should be the highest rendering quality and should each be composed with care. Name your image files with your name followed by Light Fixture and the Camera name. For example, JohnSmith_LightFixture_Camera9. Each light fixture should be included in the images.

AL.22. Upload three jpg images and the Autocad file.