Difference between revisions of "Radiance"

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Latest revision as of 17:09, 19 June 2019

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                 Learners please come back later

The Radiance Synthetic Imaging System ( hereafter termed RADIANCE in this tutorial ) is a powerful, validated and peerless Open Source software package for lighting analysis and visualisation. This Primer to RADIANCEis based on version 4.0 (rad4R0all.tar.gz). The version number is not critically important as basic RADIANCE usage is the same even on earlier versions.

The OS used is BSD Unix ( PC-BSD 7.1.1/FreeBSD 8.2 ) but these tutorials should work on any Unix like system. Windows versions of RADIANCE with limited functionality do exist but are not dealt with in these tutorials. Please see the associated text box of individual spoken tutorials on the website to decide the versions of software and OS to which it is applicable.

RADIANCE was designed as a lighting analysis and visualisation aid to Lighting designers, Architects and Lighting engineers for usage in a simulated built environment. RADIANCE accurately calculates the radiance ( radiometric equivalent of luminance ) in an illuminated space. It is commonly used to analyse and predict light levels and for visualisation prior to construction.

RADIANCE works most efficiently in the Unix environment so knowledge of Unix/Unix like OS's is essential. The other essentials are :-

  • Awareness of Lighting terminology and the physics of light.
  • A basic knowledge of building engineering and 3D CAD modelers and enough time to experiment and work with RADIANCE.

These tutorials are targeted at Learners who are interested in Lighting Analysis or visualisation in illuminated spaces. The Learner who goes through these tutorials will have a clear understanding of basic RADIANCE usage and the confidence to use it and explore RADIANCE further on his/her own. These Learners will then hopefully help in conserving and optimising usage of energy which goes into the lighting of spaces.

The Spoken Tutorial Effort for RADIANCE is being contributed by Anoop K, an Architect into private practice, based at Kozhikode. These tutorials are based extensively on knowledge that is freely available on the internet.

Radiance Slide Template                                                                                                                               Glossary

Level 0 - Introduction

Level 0 introduces the learner to the installation of RADIANCE on FreeBSD 8.2. Installation on other Unix like OS's should be similar. A birds eye view of how RADIANCE works and the assumptions on which it works internally is also made.
RADIANCE is very easy to use, the creators having done all the hard work. The only difficulty is in learning it. Now that there is a Spoken tutorial, there is no excuse.

Installing RADIANCE

  • where to download from
  • what to download ( other software needed )
  • System requirements
  • Installation
  • Testing the installation
  • Essential Unix commands


  • RADIANCE virtual world
  • The Zone
  • The Scene
  • Objects and materials
  • Camera Viewpoint
  • Basic operations
  • Limitations

Level 1 - Creating simple objects and Scenes

Level 1 teaches how to actually use RADIANCE in creating simple objects and scenes. Basics usage of RADIANCE is taught in these tutorials and form the base for the tutorials that are to follow.

Simple objects and transformations

  • Creating a material
  • Creating a box
  • Methods to create simple objects
  • Transformations
  • Viewing without a light source
  • Creating a simple light source

Simple Room Description

  • Description of scene
  • Creating a project directory
  • Creating a materials file
  • Creating a stool
  • Creating a table
  • Creating a simple lamp
  • Constructing the room
  • Assembling the scene

Visualisation of the Scene

  • Setting up a viewpoint
  • View parameters
  • Methods to view the scene
  • Filtering images
  • Global lighting
  • Ambient lighting Parameters
  • Visualisation with global lighting

Level 2 - More Complex Scene

Level 2 teaches the learner the description and simulation of more complex settings which are closer to what is encountered in real life.

A Realistic Scene

  • Description of the scene
  • Constructing the room
  • Constructing the door and window
  • Constructing furniture
  • Constructing a ground plane outside
  • Viewing the scene

Physically Based Lighting

  • Photometry files
  • Using photometry files
  • Artificial skies
  • Generating the sky and sun

Realistic Visualisation

  • Materials with patterns and textures
  • Secondary sources of illumination writing services
  • Visualisation of the scene

Lighting Analysis

  • Setting up sensor points
  • Measuring light levels
  • Creating false color images
  • Compositing

Example Files


Contributors and Content Editors

Minal, Nancyvarkey