Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Render Tip - Balancing Interior and Exterior Lighting in SketchUp

How do I balance interior and exterior lighting?

Balancing interior and exterior lighting in SketchUp is a challenge many 3D designers face. The question of how to do it recently popped up in our IRender nXt forum so we decided to cover it here.

In the real world, when we look at a structure that has interior lighting, the balance of outside and inside light is effected by numerous variables. Exterior lighting is effected by the time of day, cloud cover, angle of the sun, location to other structures, exterior light fixtures, etc. Interior lighting is effected by windows that let exterior light inside, interior lamps, lights and the wattages of their bulbs.

There are a number of ways you can adjust these 3D lighting variables to find the right interior/exterior balance. You could:

1. Make the interior lights brighter by increasing their bulb Wattage.

2. Make the sun and sky darker by changing their setting in the SketchUp Shadow menu.

Two IRender Tools offer an easier way to find the right balance, with greater control, as well.

3. Globally adjust the balance between artificial lights and the sun/sky using the Lighting Balance Settings. You will need to re-render the scene to see the effect.

4. Use Lighting Channels after rendering to balance groups of lights in channels that you have defined.  By assigning channels to sun, sky, interior and exterior artificial lights, you can quickly adjust the intensity of each with a dialog box slider and immediately see the effect on the final rendering.

Post-rendering adjustments in IRender nXt are a fast, powerful way to enhance your rendered image. There's no formula for getting the right lighting balance. Experiment with the Lighting Channel settings until you get the look you want. Once you do, you can save the channel settings for use on future designs.

Find more information on balancing interior and exterior lighting here.