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True photometric light data in MAXON Cinema 4D!
The BlackStar Photometric IES-LDT-Shader brings photometric lighting data into MAXON CINEMA 4D! As opposed to simple point- or spotlights the usage of photometric data creates a more irregular and asymmetrical light distribution. This significantly increases the impression of a real light source which greatly enhances the visual quality.
- True photometric light data without any additional renderer software
- Supports American IES and European EULUMDAT standards
- Supports any photometric symmetry pattern
- Can be combined with any other C4D light property (like fall-off, volumetric, shadows...)
- Freely combineable with other shaders to e.g. colorizer
- Analyze the light distribution as 3D object
- easily import realistic light distribution characteristics
- freely combineable with other shaders
- display the light distribution in 3D
Introduction and overview
In reality every luminaire has a characteristic light distribution. The optical appearance of it depends on various influences, e. g. the lighting being used, the lampshade or reflector geometry or the use of lenses or diffusing panels. This spatial distribution character can be measured and expressed in photometric data files. Many luminaire manufacturers offer those photometric files for free to be downloaded for their lamps (see Appendix for a list of photometric data resources).
Using photometric data adds a great amount of realism to the lighting of a scene since it differs fundamentally from the built-in light sources which come as a smooth and symmetric gradient. The images on the right show some simple renderings using the Photometric IES-LDT-Shader processing photo-metric data.
Using the Photometric IES-LDT-Shader
This shader automates the previously noted method of using a grayscale gradient image as transparency mask for the light to alter the optical light distribution. Hereby the grayscale image is being calculated from a photometric data file given in IES or EULUMDAT standard.
To add photometric data to any point light in your scene create a material and just enable the transparency channel. Choose “IES-LDT-Shader” as texture and select the photometric data file. Supported file types are .ies for IES standard and .ldt for EULUMDAT standard. Now apply the material to the light using spherical mapping. The material now acts like a flag or GOBO determining the angledependent light distribution.
Any photometric symmetry found is applied automatically. Also the measured candela values are being normalized such as to fit in the range between 0.0 and 1.0. To change the absolute intensity of the light simply adjust the normal intensity property of the light source.
To make the exchange of projects using the IES-LDT-Shader a bit more easily, the plugin looks up the given absolute path to the photometric file and also the relative path of the scene as well as its “tex” folder. When the whole project is being saved the .ies or .ldt file gets exported to “tex” automatically.
Due to the general approach using a spherical transparency map the IES-LDTShader is restricted to point light sources. This includes also that only photometric data files from point lights are guaranteed to output accurate results. The shader will however try to display linear luminaires nevertheless.
Further usage and combinations
The Photometric IES-LDT-Shader is a normal shader and thus fully integrated into the Cinema 4D material system. As such it can be used in any other channel of the material, too, as well as in any combination of channels.
Light distribution analysis
In an architectural context or for a professional lighting design it may be useful to measure how a specific lamp illuminates a room for instance. There are various ways how the IES-LDT-Shader comes into handy for that task. If you combine it with a colorizer shader you can get an image to analyze the light distribution depending on the emitted brightness. Example applications are shown below. Via applying the shader on a sphere using the displacement and colorizer channel one can directly observe the spatial light distribution and its variation of brightness / local fall-off in 3D. Below are given some examples including the x, y and z plane being indicated additionally using sketch rendering.