Ever spend a week building your Revit model, apply materials and create all the trim and detail, to hit render and everything is dark? Here are my top 5 lighting settings to check before hitting render again.
Sun Setting: Setting the sun allows you to accurately represent the sun angle for the time of day and date you are trying to study.
You can find the sun settings in the 3D view at the bottom of the viewport window.
In the Sun Settings dialog box, you can choose a still day, a single day, or multi-day light solar study. These options allow you to specify the location, date and time of your model. You can also choose Lighting, which allows you to determine an angle of the sun based on your current view, this has no particular location or time setting.
Lighting Scheme: Adjusting the lighting scheme for a rendering tells Revit what lighting scheme to use. In the Rendering dialogue box, you can choose which lighting scheme to use.
You can choose from the following:
- Exterior: Sun Only
- Use this if you are rendering the exterior of the building and only want to use the Sun for any lighting.
- Exterior: Sun and Artificial
- Use this if you are rendering the exterior of the building and want to use the Sun and any Artificial lights that you have put in the model.
- Exterior: Artificial
- Use this if you are rendering the exterior of the building and only want to use Artificial lighting that you have set in the model.
- Interior: Sun Only
- Use this if you are rendering the interior of the building with daylight portals (windows, curtainwalls, ) and only want to use the Sun for any lighting.
- Interior: Sun and Artificial
- Use this if you are rendering the interior of the building with daylight portals (windows, curtainwalls, ) and want to use the Sun and any Artificial lights that you have put in the model.
- Interior: Artificial
- Use this if you are rendering the interior of the building and only want to use Artificial lighting that you have put in the model.
Artificial Lighting: If you choose one of the lighting schemes above that has artificial lights, then you will want to double check this setting to turn on and off specific lights. Here you can also put lights in groups making it easier to turn them on and off in the future.
Within the Artificial Lights dialogue box, you will be able to check or uncheck individual light sources to turn on or off within that view. There is also a column for dimming, if this is set to ‘0’, then the light will also be off. To assist in determining which lights are which, as you select a light within the dialogue box, it will also highlight in the 3D view if it is visible.
Light Fixture Material and Light Source Settings: Depending on who developed the light fixture (manufacturer, out-of-the box model or custom built), the construction of each light may be different and with varyingmaterials. These discrepancies can lead to some challenges with lighting.
Occasionally, after going through the settings above and the scene is still rendering dark with artificial lights, then you may need to investigate the actual light fixture itself. Within the fixture, the following should be checked:
Light Fixture Light Source: A light fixture may contain four different light source shapes and four various distribution methods. The shapes of the source are similar to that of the lamp we commonly see in light fixtures (Linear, rectangular, point or circle). These shapes can distribute light in one of the following methods, spot, spherical, hemi-spherical or use and ies file.
When checking this, make sure that you have a light source shape and distribution method that is projecting light out through the lens. (Note: Some fixture designs have a reflector that has the light distribute inward and reflect out.) If you are using an ies file distribution method, make sure that you have the appropriate ies for the fixture and that this ies file is available to anyone rendering the image.
After the Light Source Definition is defined, review the photometric properties of the light source to make sure it matches your intentions. You may also assign the .ies file here.
Light Fixture Material: Make sure that if the fixture has a lens modeled over the lamp “bulb’, that this material is transparent.
You can achieve this by selecting the extrusion representing the lens and identify the material assigned to it.
Refer to the materials appearance setting for this material to make sure it has transparency.
The higher the number of transparency, the more the material is transparent.
Rendering Quality: Finally, before selecting render again, double check your render quality and adjust for the desired level of quality. The higher the level, the better the lighting will reflect and distribute within the view.
No rendering is the same and settings will need to adjust on a per project, per view basis. The settings above are my first five settings to review when I hear an image is rendering dark. The settings discussed here are within Revit directly and use Revit’s rendering engine. If you are using a 3rd Party Plug-In, it will change what settings need to be checked and reviewed, depending on that plug-in and its settings.
These settings work with Revit 2016, 2017 and 2018.