Autocad 3D lighting tips

by Design Workshop Sydney

Nine times out of ten you’ll need to adjust your lighting in your Autocad 3D model. We give you some useful tips in our Autocad 3D training courses.autocad-3d-lighting-tips
When analyzing our lighting the Hotspot is where we see 100% light. The Falloff is the transitional area between light and shadow, also called Attenuation or the Penumbra. Double-click on your main light source and change the falloff angle to 75%, for example. Then zoom in and render the scene again. Note that the falloff area is less sharp this time. You can toggle between renders at the bottom of the Render panel to compare the results.
You can also adjust the Hotspot area and the Falloff by clicking and dragging on the blue grip icons. You can also move the light source precisely using the 3D Move tool. You move it along one axis, then along another, etc.
If it’s hard to select it, type VS into the Command line, or go to the View drop-down menu and choose Visual Style, then 2D (or 2D Wireframe).
You may at this point wish to change  the background colour. In this case type V (for View), choose New and name it View 01. Then go to Background: Gradient and untick Three Colours. Now make the top colour light blue (or cyan) and the bottom colour white. Then hit OK twice and click the Set Current icon, and OK.
Render the scene again. Alternatively go to Image and browse to a suitable background image. If you need to reset it, choose None, then go to image again.
You may also wish to create a Fill light. Go to the Lights tab and choose to create a Point Light. This behaves much like a light globe in that it casts shadows in all directions. It is sometimes called an Omni light in other programs. Move this to 45° from the spot light and render the scene  again. If it’s too bright, simply right-click on light and choose to Turn off. Note you can also turn off the shadows here. The small arrow on the right of the Lights panel takes you to the Lights in Model panel where you can also make changes to the settings.
In this way we continually adjust and reset our lighting parameters in order to create many draft renders. When we are finally satisfied withe the result we would turn on the materials in the model and change the Render settings to High or Presentation quality. And finally output the image to JPEG for screen or TIFF for print media.
The 3d interface in Autocad is user-friendly and easy to learn, and we take time to teach a broad range of applications in our classes including modeling, materials, lighting and animation. See many examples of our clients’ work on our Facebook page. For more information there are lots of resources on the web, but try the Autodesk site to begin with: Support options and user forums are also available from the home page.
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