Lighting in ArchiCAD

Overview

Enscape is not currently mapped to all light settings for ArchiCAD light types, and their individual settings are beyond the remit of this article.

For a fuller description of ArchiCAD’s lights, please refer to this article.

There are two types of lights in ArchiCAD:

  • Light Objects
  • Interior and Street Lamps

The Light Objects can be categorized into four basic light source types:

  • Omni Light: emits uniform light rays in all direction from a single point in space
  • Spot Light: emits light from a single point in space and provides a cone that can be adjusted to a specific direction as well as allowing you to define the lights fall off.
  • Area Light: emits soft light that uses a two- or three-dimensional surface as its source
  • Infinite Light: emits an infinite light in a consistent parallel direction
Lamp Tool button location

Lamp Tool button location

To open the light options you need to first select the Light Tool from the More section of the ArchiCAD side Toolbar.

Light options in Info Box

Light options in Info Box

This will display the Lights option in the ArchiCAD Info Box near the top of the active ArchiCAD view port:

Clicking on the light icon in the Info Box will open the ArchiCAD Lamp Default Settings window where you can choose the type of light source you want to place, so begin by selecting the General Light Sources category from the ArchiCAD Library in the Lamp Selection Settings top left menu structure.

You will then see seven different light objects, however we will only deal with the four object types already set out above.

ArchiCAD's Default Lamp Settings

ArchiCAD's Default Lamp Settings

Despite the amount of options available for lights in ArchiCAD, Enscape is currently only mapped to the basic settings of switching the Light on/off, the Main Intensity, as well as the lights Color settings, as highlighted here.

ArchiCAD's Basic Light Parameters

ArchiCAD's Basic Light Parameters

The Absolute Light Intensity can also be adjusted and you can choose between using candela and lumen as the Unit.

Chosse between Candela and Lumen Light Intensity Units

Chosse between Candela and Lumen Light Intensity Units

NOTE
Although Enscape is not mapped to all the available ArchiCAD light settings, adjusting any other light settings may result in unexpected behavior of the lights in Enscape.

Light Types and Placement.

Once you have selected the type of light you want to use, placement of the light is indicated by a dark rectangular area indicating the footprint of the object. This placement indicator will follow your mouse movement. In the following screenshot you can see that we are wanting to place our light on the ceiling.

Light Placement Indicator

Light Placement Indicator

Once placed ArchiCAD will, depending on the light type, show you the control points for adjust the light position, rotation, fall off (for spot light).

Omni Light (General Light)

Emits uniform light rays in all direction from a single point in space

General Omni Light in Enscape Window

General Omni Light in Enscape Window

General Omni Light in ArchiCAD Viewport

General Omni Light in ArchiCAD Viewport

Spot Light

Emits light from a single point in space and provides a cone that can be adjusted to a specific direction as well as allowing you to define the lights fall off

Spot Light in Enscape Window

Spot Light in Enscape Window

Spot Light in ArchiCAD Viewport

Spot Light in ArchiCAD Viewport

Area Light

Emits soft light that uses a two- or three-dimensional surface as its source

Area Light in Enscape Window

Area Light in Enscape Window

Area Light in ArchiCAD Viewport

Area Light in ArchiCAD Viewport

Parallel Light

Emits an infinite light in a consistent parallel direction

Parralel Light in Enscape Window

Parralel Light in Enscape Window

Parallel Light in ArchiCAD Viewport

Parallel Light in ArchiCAD Viewport

To Move the Parallel light, grab the node at the end of the direction arrow.

Adjust the Parallel light direction

Adjust the Parallel light direction

IES Light

If no *.ies light profile file is loaded, then ArchiCAD will default to the Omni light.

IES Light in Enscape Window

IES Light in Enscape Window

IES Light in ArchiCAD Viewport

IES Light in ArchiCAD Viewport

The option to select the IES light profile can be found under the Photometric File Name option:

Click on the Details and Help… button for further information about where to place the IES files once you have downloaded them to your hard drive.

Select IES Profile file.

Select IES Profile file.

If you then want to adjust the light you can click on the its control nodes which can be seen as colored points on the light cage:

Light Adjustment Nodes

Light Adjustment Nodes

Once you have clicked on one of these adjustment node you will be shown various options, depending on which control point you click.
By clicking on node nearest to where you’d originally placed the light you’ll be given the option to drag, rotate, mirror, or multiply the light.

Light Node Placement

Light Node Placement

If you press TAB on your keyboard you can then numerically adjust the parameters.

Light Placement Properties

Light Placement Properties

By clicking on the node at the end of the light cage arrow, you can adjust the direction of the light.

Light Node Rotation Control

Light Node Rotation Control

Interior and Street Lamps

ArchiCAD comes with a good selection of pre-modelled lamps that can be used for both interior and exterior situations.

These are accessible by selecting either Interior Lamps:

ArchiCAD's Interior Lamps

ArchiCAD's Interior Lamps

or the Street Lamps categories

ArchiCAD's Street Lamps

ArchiCAD's Street Lamps

Placement of Interior and Street Lamps is exactly the same as is with the Light Objects

ArchiCAD's Street Lamps

ArchiCAD's Street Lamps

All lamps can have their surface overridden via the Lamp Default Settings window under the Model option. In the following example we have given the lamp a Metal Brass material:

Interior Lamp Placement

Interior Lamp Placement

Using the control nodes, both the interior and the street lights basic geometry can be adjusted. For instance, here we can extend the cable between the roof position and the lamp, the menu option to adjust the size becoming available:

Interior Lamp Adjustment

Interior Lamp Adjustment

With a standing light we can adjust the overall height of the light, shown here before and afterwards.

Interior Light Height Adjustment

Interior Light Height Adjustment

The same method can be used when adjusting Street lamps.

Street Light Height Adjustment

Street Light Height Adjustment


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