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Artifice, Inc.

Installing and Running Radiance on Power MachTen

Kevin Matthews with Artifice staff.


Written by Greg Ward (greg@hobbes.lbl.gov) and his compatriots at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL), with additional contributions from other researchers around the world, Radiance is a sophisticated suite of ray-tracing software capable of producing beautiful renderings of architectural computer models, with qualitatively accurate bounced lighting effects. The Radiance software is distributed by LBL free of charge across the internet.

Nearly all the many other rendering programs available on many computer platforms, were written to make renderings which look "good", typically from an illustration or entertainment point of view. In contrast, Radiance has been engineered from its beginnings to make renderings which are accurate. The result is a powerful and reliable tool for architectural design simulation.

In the hands of a motivated novice, and used together with a powerful architectural modeler like DesignWorkshop, Radiance can quickly produce subtle, beautiful, and instructive renderings showing unbuilt spaces in both natural and electric light.

At the hands of an expert user, with careful light source and materials definitions , Radiance goes beyond any other available rendering software in its ability to produce quantitatively accurate lighting simulations for advanced lighting design.

Radiance is currently primarily available for the UNIX operating system. By installing MachTen on a Power Macintosh, you can conveniently and inexpensively put Macintosh design-oriented architectural modeling together with the very best architectural rendering on one fast friendly machine.

The Design Integration Laboratory was been pleased to provide technical leadership in establishing Radiance on Power Macintosh, in cooperation with Artifice, Inc., and with generous assistance from Greg Ward himself.

Directions for Radiance on Power Macintosh

Here is a functional draft outline of how to get going with Radiance at native speed on Power Macintosh, using available tools exactly as they exist right now (keeping in mind that this will get easier and smoother as we complete testing and tuning the pieces). It is aimed primarily at people who want to be able to use Radiance for rendering and lighting simulation with architectural models built using DesignWorkshop.

1) Purchase a copy of Power MachTen for Power Macintosh from Tenon Intersystems and install it on your Power Macintosh, with 32MB RAM as a preferred minimum (it's discounted at mail order houses, and academic pricing is available to qualified persons). With 200MB of disk space available, you can comfortably install both MachTen and Radiance, and still have file space for a few medium rendering projects.

Note: (97.06.26) The current recommendation from Tenon regarding MachTen is to install MachTen 4.0.3, and then on top of that to install comprehensive update "CU1". This update can be downloaded from Tenon at ftp://ftp.tenon.com/pub/updates/4.0.3/CU1_Installer.hqx.

Learn a bit about MachTen from the documentation that comes with it, and get some kind of internet connection established to your MachTen Power Mac.

2) Create a new user account for yourself, following instructions in the MachTen documentation, and use it to learn how to perform basic file operations within the MachTen filesystem, and how to edit MachTen text files using the customized verion of BBEdit that comes with MachTen (or vi for antiques...).

Advanced -- If you edit the template file "/usr/share/skel/dot.login" to add the Radiance environment settings (see below), then all user accounts subsequently created will automatically get those settings.

The new user accounts should be set up to use the c shell ("csh"). If they don't come out right at first using the "adduser" command, they can be adjusted using the "chpass" command. (Notice that the default password for new users created in MachTen is the same as the user name.)

(BTW, I personally like to use NCSA Telnet to log on to the MachTen system for general use, treating it as a remote host even when I'm on the same machine. This is not necessary, and the interaction is sometimes slower, but it lets me log in from more than one account at a time. Alternatively, one can use rlogin to switch accounts within a MachTen terminal window. )

As long as your MachTen Unix system configuration remains intact, you don't need to learn much Unix in order to just use Radiance as a power rendering system. But it may still be helpful to get acquainted with some basic Unix commands.

While you are experimenting with MachTen, but before you install and use Radaince, you should also read carefully through the Power MachTen Configuration Details, to understand some picky detail issues around file types and permissions.

3) Download the Radiance installation archive.

Connect to the Tenon Intersystems FTP site across the Internet, directly through your web browser, from within MachTen using UNIX-style ftp, or in the Mac OS using Fetch or another Mac-savvy FTP application, to download ftp://ftp.tenon.com/pub/applications/PPC/X11/graphics/radiance.3.0.bin.tar.gz. Download this pre-compiled Radiance archive ("radiance.3.0.bin.tar.gz") into the root directory ("/") of the MachTen file system on your Mac's hard disk.

Note: If you use download within your browser, or use Fetch or other Mac-style ftp, you'll need to make sure the file type for the archive you download is set to "BINA", and the creator code for each archive is "MUMM".

These file codes can be established at the time of transfer, by settings established within the ftp application, or they can be set afterwards using a file-typing utility (like Snitch), or the File Info command in ResEdit.

If the downloaded archives have the correct file type and creator code, they will be properly recognized as Unix binary files within MachTen, and the next steps will work. (If you use Unix-style ftp from within MachTen to download the Radiance archives, the file types will be correct automatically.)

4) Install the Radiance files into the proper new directories in the MachTen file system on your Mac. This section is the heart of the installation process.

a) Log on to MachTen using the UNIX "root" account, go to the / directory containing the downloaded archive file "radiance.3.0.bin.tar.gz", and use the command "gzip -d radiance.3.0.bin.tar.gz" to decompress the archive file of the main Radiance distribution.

b) Use "tar -xvf radiance.3.0.bin.tar" to extract the Radiance distribution into your MachTen filesystem.

c) The precomplied distribution doesn't include man pages. Instead, you can just make a bookmark to the Radiance documentation master pages at LBL, and use those.

d) When these steps are complete, Radiance is almost ready to run on your Macintosh.

5) Log in to your user account, and edit the ".login" file for the account, so Radiance can find all the things it needs from within the account:

a) Adjust the PATH variable in the ".login" file of your new user account, by editng the line defining PATH so it reads exactly like this:

setenv PATH ".:~/bin:${PATH}:/usr/local/bin:/usr/local/ray"

b) Add and define the RAYPATH variable in the ".login" file of your new user account, by adding a new line near the top, defining RAYPATH so it reads exactly like this:

setenv RAYPATH .:${HOME}/mylib:/usr/local/lib/ray

You may want to compare your completed edits to a complete example of a good MachTen ".login" file (also suitable for use as the user account template file, "/usr/share/skel/dot.login").

6) Working from your user account, test the system. If you have a proven combination of geometry and .rif file from previous work with Radiance, use that for your first test renderings. Otherwise, create a new scene description for rendering from DesignWorkshop:

a) Choose a DesignWorkshop building model to render in Radiance. Open the model in DesignWorkshop or DesignWorkshop Lite, set up the view you want to render, and use the File menu Export 3D > Radiance Scene command to create the Radiance geometry, material, and command files for rendering.

b) Then you can transfer transfer the rif file, the geometry file, and the materials file into the Radiance user directory of the MachTen file system. (If the Radiance "rad" command has trouble reading the files, it may be due to a Mac/Unix line feed inconsistency.)

To begin learning Radiance if you're a new user, follow the more detailed online instructions for running Radiance itself, and for building the "rif" file to go with your exported DW model.

7) Then you're done! and you have one of the world's finest rendering tools, running on your own friendly Macintosh.

When you've got the system working smoothly for rendering basic images of simple models, you may wish to explore the various kinds of Radiance information linked at the UO Architecture Rendering page. . You can also follow the sequence of projects in the Radiance lighting simulation seminar at the University of Oregon to gradually build your knowledge of more advanced Radiance features. These pages at the Uniersity of Oregon also include links to the main Radiance site at LBL, which holds the offical general information on Radiance, technical papers detailing how Radiance works, international discussion archives, links to other Radiance web sites, etc.

Testing Needed

- There are probably a number of unknown problems with these procedures.
- Reports of verifiable problems are greatly appreciated.

Feedback by E-mail

Additional Desirable Content for This Page

- DesignWorkshop 1.5 materials translation library
- More details on settings up user accounts in MachTen.
- Other suggestions?

Feedback by E-mail

Information on using Radiance:

Radiance Quick Start Notes , Radiance Materials Overview , Example Simple Image

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© 1995-97 Kevin Matthews, All Rights Reserved. This document is provided for on-line viewing only.

Posted 96.01.20 KMM, rev. 97.06.26