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Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2011

Lighting Analysis with 3ds Max Design

Tod Stephens MV-3

Course Summary:

Lighting Analysis tools can be used for simulating and analyzing Sun, Sky and artificial lighting in a 3D scene. Ideal for sustainable Architecture projects, these tools can help evaluate light intensity in your designs. The Lighting Analysis tools can help facilitate the evaluation of indoor daylighting quality for LEED certification. This course will analyze the mental ray settings, materials parameters, sky models and light source requirements of the Lighting Analysis Tool in 3ds Max Design.

Instructor:

Tod Stephens has been working in the CAD and Visualization field for over fifteen years. He is currently a BIM Consultant with his own company, NexGenViz in Tampa, FL and an Adjunct Instructor with the BIM and Interior Design departments of the International Academy of Design in Tampa. Tod teaches and implements several Autodesk applications including AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, Revit Architecture and 3ds Max. Tod is an Autodesk Certified Professional in AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, Revit Architecture and 3ds Max Design. He is President of the Tampa Autodesk Animation (3ds max/Maya) User Group and the Architectural Coordinator for the Tampa Bay AutoCAD User Group. Tod obtained his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Cleveland State University and a Master of Science degree in Education and Technology from Walden University. He has an interest in Green Building and Sustainable Design, is a LEED-GA, a member of the South Florida Chapter of the US Green Building Council and an Allied Member of the Tampa chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

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Introduction

There are also two "flavors" of Max: 3ds Max 2011 and 3ds Max Design 2011. The key difference between 3ds Max 2011 and 3ds Max Design 2011 is that each product is tailored specifically for customers in different industries. 3ds Max Design is for architects, designers and visualization specialists. 3ds Max is for professionals in the gaming, film and television industries. Both products share the same binary code, but they differ in the following ways: User Interface and application defaults are optimized for either visualization or entertainment workflows and pipelines to maximize productivity. 3ds Max Design features Exposure technology for simulating and analyzing sun, sky and artificial lighting. 3ds Max does not contain this technology. 3ds Max includes a powerful SDK for developers to allow them to create their own plugins. 3ds Max Design does not contain the SDK. Tutorials and sample files will be customized to optimize the learning experiences of each customer group for each product. Documentation contains custom content for each product. Online documentation content is tailored for visualization or entertainment customers. The bottom line: If you work primarily in the architecture, civil engineering or manufacturing sectors, and do not need to create your own plug-ins using the SDK, choose 3ds Max Design. It has all the features of 3ds Max except for the SDK, and it includes the Exposure lighting analysis tool.

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Exposure Lighting Analysis Technology

Unique to 3ds Max Design, Lighting Analysis tools can be used for simulating and analyzing Sun, Sky and artificial lighting in a 3D scene. Ideal for sustainable Architecture projects, these tools can help evaluate light intensity in your designs. The Lighting Analysis tools can help facilitate the evaluation of indoor lighting quality for LEED certification. For Lighting Analysis to work properly, you need to use the mental ray rendering engine. The Daylight System or photometric lights with IES files must be used for lighting, and Arch & Design materials, ProMaterials, Autodesk Materials or a compound material that contains only Arch & Design materials or ProMaterials must be used. The first step in the process is to use the Lighting Analysis Assistant to see if your scene is ready for analysis. The Lighting Analysis Assistant is a dialog that helps you coordinate and adjust the various tools that 3ds Max Design provides to help you analyze the lighting of a scene. With the Lighting Analysis Assistant, you can discover what tools you need, and correct their settings to achieve an accurate lighting simulation. Select the Lighting Analysis menu > Lighting Analysis Assistant. If any settings are wrong in your scene, they will be highlighted in the Validate Rendering Settings dialog.

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Lighting settings

When analyzing a Daylight System, there are some settings that need to be configured. Make sure the Daylight System is set to mr Sun and mr Sky, and the environment map is set to mr Physical Sky. You then need to decide on the proper Sky Model for the Daylight System. If you are using the Lighting Analysis data to achieve daylighting LEED credits, you will need to use the CIE Sky Model and set it to Clear Sky. If you are using the Lighting Analysis data to determine lighting levels based on climate data for a specific location, you will use a Weather Data File (.EPW file format) to drive the Daylight System and set the Sky Model to Perez All Weather.

Lighting levels based on climate data

Weather data files for specific locations can be downloaded from the US Department of Energy website: http://www.eere.energy.gov/buildings/energyplus/cfm/weather_data.cfm

Choose your region, state and city and download the .EPW file from the website.

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Select the Daylight System in your scene. In the Modify panel, under mr Sky Parameters, change the Sky Model to Perez All Weather.

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In the Motion panel, under Control Parameters, select Weather Data File and click on the button next to the words Weather Data File. This will open the Configure Weather Data dialog.

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Click on Load Weather Data and navigate to the weather file you downloaded from the US Department of Energy website. The EPW file is real world measured data and will be the information that drives the Daylight System.

Click on the Change Time Period to set a specific date and time of day for the Daylight System. You can also select Display Data as Animation and give a Start and End date and time to animate the Daylight System.

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Lighting levels for LEED Certification

If you are going to use the Exposure Lighting Analysis tool to achieve LEED credits through simulation, the Daylight System must be driven by the CIE Sky Model with the Clear Sky setting. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a national rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (http://www.usgbc.org/) for developing high-performance, energy-efficient, sustainable buildings. It is a recognized standard for measuring sustainability in a building design. Attaining LEED Certification on a building project is an indication that the design has successfully reduced environmental impacts and improved occupant health and well-being. The Lighting Analysis tool in 3ds Max Design is used for the Indoor Environmental Quality Credit 8.1. The purpose of IEQ Credit 8.1 is to introduce a certain percentage of natural daylight into indoor work spaces. The intent is to create a connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. LEED IEQ Credit 8.1 requirements Indoor Environmental Quality, Credit 8.1, Daylight and Views: OPTION 1 ­ Simulation demonstrates through computer simulations that 75% (New Construction, Schools, and Core and Shell) or 90% (Schools Only) or more of all regularly occupied spaces achieve daylight illuminance levels of a minimum of 25 foot-candles (fc) and a maximum of 500 fc in a clear sky condition on September 21at 9AM and 3PM; areas with illuminance levels below or above the range do not comply. However, designs that incorporate view-preserving automated shades for glare control may demonstrate compliance for only the minimum 25 fc illuminance level. LEED 2009 Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction, v3 from US Green Building Council Website. Further information from the LEED 2009 Reference Guide states that you need to create a daylight simulation for the building or each occupied space with glazing. The model should include appropriate glazing properties, as well as representative surface reflectance settings for interior finishes. In each area of the building, include a horizontal calculation grid at 30 inches above the floor, or measured at the appropriate desk or work height level for the intended use of the space. The calculation grid should be set at a maximum of 5-foot intervals to provide a detailed illumination diagram for each area. You then calculate the daylight illumination for each space using the following daylight criterion: clear-sky conditions at both 9:00AM and 3:00PM on the equinox (March 21 or September 21) for the project's geographic location. Finally, sum the square footage of all day lighted rooms or areas and divide by the total square footage of the building. If this percentage is 75% or more, the project qualifies for 1 point under this credit (up to 3 points can be earned for Schools). Additionally, glare control is required for each window. The type of glare control does not affect the daylight calculations.

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To satisfy IEQ Credit 8.1, you need to choose a particular time (9AM and 3PM), date (an equinox happens each year at two specific moments in time when the center of the Sun can be observed to be vertically above the Earth's equator, which occurs March 21 and September 21 each year) and place (the location of the project for which you are seeking LEED certification). IEQ Credit 8.1 requires a clear sky condition. The CIE Sky Model with the Clear Sky setting is the only model that can be used to simulate a clear sky. The time, date and location can be set from the Motion Panel when using the CIE Sky Model. To set up the CIE Model, go to the Modify Panel of the Daylight System, and under mr Sky Parameters, make sure Model is set to CIE. Under the mr Sky CIE Parameters, Clear Sky should be selected. Measured data from a weather data file should be used to set the Direct Normal Illuminance and Diffuse Horiz values for the project location. Measured data can be viewed from a weather data file by using the EnergyPlus Weather Statistics and Conversions tool (available from the US Department of Energy website) to convert the EPW data file to a CSV file that can be viewed. If no measured data is available, Direct Normal Illuminance should be set to 15000 lx and Diffuse Horiz set to 10000 lx to simulate a clear sky. This information will then drive the Daylight System. Climate based data such as the weather data file used with the Perez All Weather Sky Model is the most accurate information for a specific project location, but the weather data is based on actual conditions, so the days specified for the LEED credit may not have clear sky conditions and therefore would not be suitable to use. To see graphs and specific information from a weather data file, the file can be opened and analyzed in Autodesk Ecotect's Weather Manager tool. Once the CIE Sky Model is configured, Light Meter helpers must then be set up in each occupied space, 30 inches above the floor (or at desk or work height level), and Illuminance calculations must be run for each area to verify that they have a minimum 25 foot-candles and a maximum 500 foot-candles. The .CSV spreadsheet exported from the Light Meter would be part of your documentation of a computer simulation for LEED IEQ Credit 8.1.

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After setting all the necessary parameters in the Daylight System, you can select the Lighting tab of the Lighting Analysis Assistant to verify the settings for all lighting in the scene. Click on the Update Status button. All the information on the Daylight System is shown.

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Materials Settings

Materials in your scene should be Arch & Design materials, ProMaterials, Autodesk Materials or a compound material that contains only Arch & Design materials or ProMaterials. All these materials are physically-based mental ray materials.

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Select the Materials tab of the Lighting Analysis Assistant. Any invalid materials (nonphysically based materials) assigned to objects in the scene would be shown and would need to be replaced.

You can also automatically assign a default material to objects that are selected in your scene, as well as directly launch the Material Editor.

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Analysis Output Options

Your scene is ready to be analyzed once you have corrected any settings that showed as invalid in the Lighting Analysis Assistant. There are two options for lighting analysis output: the data can be shown directly on the Light Meter or as an Image Overlay. The Light Meter will analyze a specific section of the scene, and the Image Overlay will allow you to render the scene and display the light level data directly over the entire rendered image. To use a Light Meter, select the Lighting Analysis menu > Create > Light Meter. The Light Meter can also be accessed from the Helper objects on the Create panel. In the top view of your floor plan, click and drag to create a light meter in the section of the floor plan you want to analyze. The Light Meter is a 2D plane.

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Select the Light Meter Helper object and click on the Modify panel. In the Light Helper Parameters, you can change the Length and Width of the Light Meter. Set the Length and Width Segments to at least 10-12 to display a good amount of light values. Click on the Calculate all Light Meters button, and the color-coded lighting level values (in lux) will display in the active viewport. Click on the Export to CSV button to save the data to an Excel spreadsheet file.

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If you would like to display the lighting levels in foot candles instead of lux, go to the Customize menu > Units Setup and change the Lighting Units to American.

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To create a rendered Image Overlay of the Lighting Analysis, go to the Lighting Analysis menu > Create > Lighting Analysis Image Overlay. The Image Overlay is a render Effect.

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Click on the Update Scene button to render the scene. The scene will be rendered and the lighting level data will be displayed on the rendered image. Under Display Options, you can select Show Numbers On Entire Image to display the foot candle levels over the entire render, or select Show Numbers From Light Metering Helper Objects to display the foot candle levels at the location of the light meter helper object in the scene.

Typical mental ray render settings

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Rendering without lighting analysis overlay

Summary

Unique to 3ds Max Design, Lighting Analysis tools can be used for simulating and analyzing Sun, Sky and artificial lighting in a 3D scene. Ideal for sustainable Architecture projects, these tools can help evaluate light intensity in your designs. The Lighting Analysis tools can help facilitate the evaluation of indoor lighting quality for LEED certification. The workflow for using the Lighting Analysis tool is as follows: · · · · · · · Use a Daylight System or photometric lights with IES files. Choose the correct Sky Model for the Daylight System. Set the specific date and time for the Daylight System. Use the Arch & Design, ProMaterials or Autodesk Materials Library. Use the Lighting Analysis Assistant to find any errors in your scene. Add a Light Meter Helper object to calculate the lighting levels in the scene. Render an Image Overlay to display the light level data in a rendered image.

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Microsoft Word - MV-3 Lighting Analysis with 3ds Max Course Handout

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