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Create IES Lights in 3ds Max and VRay

Real Photometric Lighting Tutorial

Hey guys, so today I’ll be showing you how to add realism to the way light projects in your scenes. Many designer lighting fixtures in the real world have their own unique signature. We’ll be taking a look at simulating these light signatures with the help of IES files.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term IES, let me break it down for you. This is a file format that all leading lighting manufacturers use to describe their catalog of lights. This is a small file that describes the distribution pattern formed by a particular real world light.

To get started, you can head over to Lithonia Lighting’s website and download every type of IES light types you can imagine for free.

And for the purpose of viewing these files you can install this free Photometric Viewer. This is a simple tool that allows you to browse and also view a rendered preview for the lights. The preview mode is interactive and therefore gives you the ability to change the brightness, zoom and distance values.

IES Lighting with 3ds Max Light

You can create an IES light with 3ds Max’s photometric target or free light. The great thing about this light type is that you get more options for tuning than VRayIES light. Also you get a convenient distribution chart for your light.

If you’re using VRay as your renderer, you’ll want to set shadows to VRayShadows. By choosing Photometric Web as your light distribution type, you can load your IES file into the light. You can now set your light color and intensity using the units you prefer.

Make sure to position the light below your 3d light fixture appropriately.


IES Lighting with VRayIES

A simpler solution would be to use Vray’s own VRayIES light. Like other VRay lights, it has a simple rollout for loading the IES light, targeting, rotating, setting the color and intensity.


Hope you liked this quick tutorial. Stay tuned for more and make sure to comment and share it with your friends. See you soon.

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