Lighting in Vectorworks

Overview

At present, Enscape uses the lighting tools that are already available in Vectorworks. With Vectorworks, simply add a native Vectorworks lights, and these will be appear in the Enscape viewport (with the exception of directional lights).

Tip
It is beyond the scope of this article to describe all the various settings for lighting in Vectorworks and if you are not familiar withe Vectorworks’ lighting system, including placement and editing of lights, then it is advised to make sure that you understand this by referring to Vectorworks’ support.
NOTE
It is worth noting at this point that if you have Auto Exposure enabled in the Enscape Settings window, and at the same time you only have a single light source placed in your scene, you will not see any effect from the artificial light because the Auto Exposure compensates for the light source intensity.

The quickest and easiest way to open and start working with Vectorworks’ native lighting system is to click on the Visualization button and then the corresponding Lightbulb icon to reveal the light ‘types’.

When you click on one of the light types then the types corresponding dialog will open.

Vectorworks' Lighting options

Vectorworks' Lighting options

The three main lights that are available in Vectorworks are:

  1. Point Lights – Emits light equally in all directions from a single point in space
  2. Spot Lights – Directs a narrow beam of light with Falloff
  3. Custom Lights – Allows control over all settings and also for use of IES lighting profiles

NOTE: Directional Lights are currently not supported by Enscape and are therefore not included in this article.

There are also two additional light types that need to be converted from an ‘object’ and therefore do not have a symbol. These are:

  1. Line Lights – Where a light emits from a line
  2. Area Lights – Where light is emitted from a surface of an object, so called emissive lighting.
Point, Spot, and Custom Light symbols in Vectorworks

Point, Spot, and Custom Light symbols in Vectorworks

Point Light

Point lights radiate light in all directions, like a bare light bulb.

Use the “Point Light Specs” to specify the Distance Falloff which sets how fast the light intensity falls off as you move away from the light.

Point Light in Scene

Point Light in Scene

Spot Light

Spot lights work like a combination of Directional and Point lights.  The light is projected in a specific direction, but is aimed at a specific object, like a flashlight.

Click to place the spot light, drag to specify the light direction/target, and then click again to set the spot light. Use the Look To Height parameter in the Object Info palette to set an exact height.

Once in place, you can only see the target handle and projection line when the spot light is selection.  To move the light after it has been placed, or to adjust the target handle, use the Selection tool.

Select the “Spot Light Specs” to specify the angle of the beam/spread, and the Distance Falloff.

Spot Light dialog

Spot Light dialog

NOTE: – Unlike Vectorworks, in Enscape there is a “cut off” of how far light from spotlights will travel, which was originally calibrated based on inside lights.  So if you are using outside spotlights, you may need to increase the brightness in Vectorworks in order for them to show up as you want in Enscape.

Custom Light

With custom lights, you can adjust all parameters, and also load in additional light emission profile data from another file.

Select the “Custom Light Specs” to specify the parameters.

Custom Light dialog

Custom Light dialog

Additional Light Types

If you are using Vectorworks, the following light types are also available

Line Lights – where light is emitted from a line, the converted object must be a line (2 point polygon) in the first place

Area Lights – where light is emitted from a surface of an object.  This can be used to make objects Self Illuminating, such as a television.  Select Modify -> Convert -> Convert to Area Light

Rectangular lights are easily placed with three clicks, the first click will define the target point and the second click defines the light length, the third click defines the light width. The direction that the light is being emitted is indicated by a small arrow that can be seen attached to the rectangular plane.

Convert to Line or Area Light

Convert to Line or Area Light

Moving/Theatrical Lights

As Vectorworks is popular with those creating renderings for the Entertainment area, moving lights (or theatrical lights) are often used.  At present, Enscape does not support animation, so these moving lights are not officially supported.  However, there is a way to make this work.  In Vectorworks, the light source is inside the casing of the mover, and passes through this.  Enscape does not allow the light to pass through, so you need to use the Vectorworks Push/Pull to extrude the face of light from the casing.

Moving and Theatrical Lighting Control

Moving and Theatrical Lighting Control

Sunlight

Within Enscape, you can change the time of day by holding down shift + right mouse button and moving the mouse.  As it gets darker outside, your internal lights will come on.   Enscape does not store the time, so it will start at the default value each time you launch Enscape. What is great in Vectorworks, that isn´t possible in other CADs, is to set the sun in a particular position. You can find out more about these feature here.

Watch the following video to see a light being placed in Rhino.


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