Design Integration Laboratory

Radiance Quick Start Notes

Step-by-step instructions for rendering a DesignWorkshop model with the Radiance ray-tracing system, working from a networked Macintosh connected to a remote Unix host.

(Note: The process can be simplified a bit if you're running Radiance on your own Power Macintosh with Power MachTen, because you can do some of the file transfers by drag and drop, as long as you know how to make the file types and line breaks correct.)

Note: For use with Radiance 2.6 and DesignWorkshop 1.1 or 1.2.

With DesignWorkshop 1.5, the process is much simpler and faster. These instructions will be updated soon for DW 1.5

In DesignWorkshop :

1) Build your 3D model. Think about the daylighting of the space you'll be rendering.

2) For good practice, Set a view for your rendering, and Save the model before exporting.

(If you always save the view before you export the model to Radiance, someday when you want to export same of view of the model again for any reason, it will be quick and easy.)

3) Now, use the Export > Radiance menu command, with a base file name of project..rad, to create the files used by the Radiance rendering software.

The ".rad" file contains the geometry of the model in Radiance format, including the sun as it was set in DesignWorkshop. At the same time as the Export > Radiance command creates this geometry file, it also creates a "" file, from which you will copy the viewing parameters for use in the ".rif" Radiance control file. (And finally, the Export > Radiance command also creates a "" file, which we won't be using at all with this method. You can throw away the "" file at any time.)

Note for Power Macintosh Users: The Radiance Export function in DesignWorkshop PPC (v 1.2 through v 1.2.2) is damaged. To successfully export Radiance data on a Power Macintosh, you need to use the Universal version of DesignWorkshop 1.1. (Because of the different internal number formats, regular DesignWorkshop 1.1 won't work on a Power Mac.) The universal version is available free on request to all registered owners of DesignWorkshop, from Artifice, Inc., 541-345-7421, 1342 High Street, Eugene, Oregon.
4) Using the DW 3D crosshair and the absolute coordinates fields, measure and record the "zone of interest", an imaginary box-shaped volume enclosing just the part of the model you will be focusing on in your rendering. Record the zone of interest as 6 DesignWorkshop absolute coordinate numbers, in exactly this order:

Xmin, Xmax, Ymin, Ymax, Zmin, Zmax

In BBEdit Lite :

5) Open the small exported file Open a copy of "sample.rif". Input the view parameters for your rendering into the sample file, by copying the text and numbers in the first line of, from "-vtv #.#" to "-vl 0" inclusive, and pasting these into the .rif file, replacing the similar dummy values on the "VIEW=" line of the .rif file.

Then edit the dummy base filename project everywhere it occurs in the .rif file (in four places) to match the actual base filename for your project.

Finally, edit the zone of interest in the .rif file, using the numbers you recorded early in DesignWorkshop, to match your project. Switch the sign on each of the two Y-axis coordinate numbers as you edit theminto the .rif file, because the positive and negative directions of the Y-axis are reversed between DesignWorkshop and Radiance.

Now, save the .rif file as "project.rif".

In NCSA Telnet :

6) Log onto a Unix host computer with Radiance installed, using your own username and password, and create a new directory for your rendering files.

mkdir project

Then move to that directory


Using Fetch :

7) Log onto the Unix host computer, using your own username and password, and set your directory to project using the Mac-style dialog box. Put the files project.rif and project.rad into the directory on your Unix host computer.

In NCSA Telnet :

8) Enter the standard command to run the rendering calculation

nice rad project.rif &

9) Check the progress of your rendering by listing the most recent part of the progress file to the screen.

tail progress

10) When the rendering is done by this method, the Radiance automatically normalizes the exposure of the image. Convert the normalized image to a PICT file

ra_pict project_1.pic project.pict

Using Fetch :

11) Get the project .pict file (a binary file) from your Unix host computer to your Macintosh.

For best results, in the Fetch save file dialog box, set the file type to "PICT" and the creator to "8BIM" (for Photoshop). (Note--the type and creator codes are case-sensitive.)

In Photoshop :

12) Double-click on the PICT file, or use the Open As... command to open the PICT file if necessary, and save it as whatever you prefer.

If you don't have Photoshop, you can open the rendered PICT image in almost any Macintosh graphics application.

That's it!

Example Simple Image

Example .rif File

Use the text of this heavily commented file as the sample.rif base file.

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© 1995-96 Kevin Matthews, All Rights Reserved. - Posted '95 KMM, rev. 96.02.20