After having the modelling phase completed, we can now move into bringing more life to our views trough lighting, using both the sun and artificial lights.
Setting up the sun configuration must be the first step since natural light is one of the most important aspects of a project. Adding the location in the sun settings window in Revit is easy, in a “Still” solar study mode, open the Location menu and choose the option of “Default City list”, picking the city where the project is located is all you need to do to have the accurate sun path for this region. From then different dates and time of days can be set to check different situations in the model, simply by activating the shadows (keep in mind that having the shadows activated in all and each view of the project can make the software slower, having the habit of turning them off when not necessary is key to avoid problems).
Two very important things that will make the process of rendering many views faster are to save these settings to use later in other views, and to make use of the “shared settings” option, that must be activated before saving the settings and in each new view, to have then the same sun path and shadows in different 3D views.
Revit comes with a wide set of lighting fixtures with ready setup light sources, although not as wide as online asset libraries, those in the other hand might have plenty of trendy options but not always have a working light source. The light source of this type of component is the part of it that emits light, and this element can have different shapes and settings. That’s why is important to always open a family for checking, before importing it into the project, the light source type can be changed and its position in the object model adapted.
In the case that the light fixture doesn’t have a light source (doesn’t emit light in a render) the easiest way to fix the issue is making a nested family out of it by opening a new family template, with the appropriate type of fixture (e.g. wall mounted) and importing inside this new family that downloaded light fixture family, adjusting the position of the light source and saving it as a new family that can be used as many times you want later on.
A fixture family has different parameters to be setup, that will vary depending on how the family was modeled, those can include Material and Finishes, Electrical data, Dimensions, and the most important for the rendering: the Photo-metrics. Inside the Photo-metrics parameter the first adjustments are always in light color (in Kelvin) and intensity, that can be calculated in different ways, e.g. wattage or luminous flux.
In this situation, the project’s light requirements might not equal the settings used for the objects in rendering, since the image of an internal space is always aiming to tell a story of what can happen in that space and inspire the people who will see these images, so we look for the best possible setup to showcase that rather than exemplify the exact conditions.
Finally, to make sure that the light fixtures are working as we expect, test-renders will always be the best tool. With V-ray, test-renders are usually a simple render in the “low” quality setting and is possible to also create a “material override” to have a faster result of what the space will look like with all the light fixtures we added. See the tests with only sunlight and with artificial lights below, and soon more tips on the last rendering phase, the final stage of this view.