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Create highly realistic 3D architectural drawings with V-Ray, a popular third-party renderer for SketchUp. This course shows how to take a single scene with interior/exterior elements and add lights, move cameras, and enhance objects with translucent and reflective surfaces. Author Brian Bradley explains concepts like irradiance mapping, perspective correction, and fixed rate sampling, while showing how to leverage each of the V-Ray tools and its material and lighting types to achieve specific effects.
The last of our artificial light types to come under examination in this chapter is the V-Ray IES Light. For architectural visualization work, particularly interiors, the V-Ray IES Light type offers an extremely powerful and easy-to-use method for adding real-world lighting data into our scenes. Of course, the first thing we need to do is to add our IES Light into the scene, so come to the Window menu, open up the Layers dialog, and put a check in the IES Light layer.
By now you'll be familiar with the first step that we're going to take, which is to start a test render, just so we can evaluate our light's emission pattern. Well, fortunately, what we get is not very inspiring indeed, which is really not surprising, as the IES Light type has not been designed to function as a standalone light object. It really has been designed to have an IES Light profile attached to it. To do that we will of course need to access the control parameters for our IES Light, so let's again move our V-Ray Frame Buffer just so we can select our light in the scene, then a right-click, down to our V-Ray SketchUp option, and click on the Edit Light flyout, just to open up the Light Editor.
Straight away we will notice that we have a number of familiar control options once again. For instance, our Sampling options are per our previous light objects. Our Shadow settings are pretty much the same as our Omni Directional Light, although you will notice that our Shadow Radius control is missing. Instead, if we want the soft shadows, we have to enable the Soft Shadows checkbox. As with our Spotlight we have our Area Specular, Affect Specular, and the Affect Diffuse options, but if we just jump across to our Intensity settings, you'll notice that things are quite a bit different.
Perhaps one of the first things you'll notice is that we no longer have our Units control. This is because the IES Light type always works in lumens. The Power setting of 0 tells V-Ray to use the Intensity data that is found inside of the IES file itself, although we can override that behavior if we want to. Obviously, one important difference inside of these controls is the fact that we can now add a file or attach a file to our light type. Now there are lots of free IES files to be found on the world wide web, many lighting manufactures, such as erco.com, provide them for free, oftentimes along with the 3D model of the light fixture they profile.
The one that I'm going to be using is for my personal IES library. You will of course need to add an IES file of your own here. To do that we simply click on the swatch, find our IES file, select it, and we've now attached that light profile to our IES Light object. Straightaway of course, we're going to want to see what a difference that has made to the emission from our light, which as you can see, is now considerably different. We're now getting some very interesting emission patterns indeed.
In fact, what we see here would be impossible, really, to recreate with any of the other V-Ray light objects. You will notice also that we have realistic light falloff in the scene, as with the Rectangle Light that is built into the IES Light object itself. What we have now then in our render is a realistic profile of a real-world light fixture. We have the emission pattern; we have the exact amount of Illumination or the light intensity that would come from that fixture.
Of course that isn't always the desired end result. Sometimes we're more interested in the aesthetics of our light, as opposed to the physical correctness of them. For that reason we may want to just brighten up our IES Light profile so that it's just a little bit more prominent in our renders. As we mentioned, we can indeed do that, so we'll just open up the Light Editor for ourselves. And really, all we need to do is set an override in the Power option. Remember, this is working in lumens, so I'm going to set a value of 20,000 in there.
We can select OK, and we can just take another render to see what a change that has made. The end result is of course much more pleasing from an aesthetic point of view, although as we need to keep in mind, we're no longer being physically correct in terms of the amount of illumination in our environment. As you can see then, the IES Light type, a very powerful, albeit specialized lighting tool that V-Ray gives to us. So having looked briefly at our four V-Ray light objects in this chapter, we hope it's become clear that if we have a need to mimic artificial light sources, then V-Ray gives to us a comprehensive set of tools with which we can work. Which like type we actually use will of course depend entirely on the effect we are trying to recreate and to some extent, the level of realism that we require from our final renders.
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