DW Artifice, Inc.

DesignWorkshop and Radiance

Radiance Quick Start Notes

Example Simple Image

These instructions explain how to take a scene created with DesignWorkshop on a Macintosh, and render it using Radiance on a properly configured Unix system.

Note: For installation instructions detailing how to set up and configure Radiance on a Power Macintosh, follow the links on the main Artifice Radiance page. For instructions on how to set up and configure Radiance on a general Unix system, follow the links on the official Radiance home page. There are also special instructions available for installing the DesignWorkshop Textures for Radiance.

Radiance Rendering Step-by-Step

1) Using DesignWorkshop version 1.5 or later, build your 3D model. Think about the daylighting of the space you'll be rendering.

2) As a matter of good practice, use the DesignWorkshop View menu Set View command to save the view position you will be using for the Radiance rendering, and Save the model for safety before exporting.

3) Use the File menu Export 3D > Radiance Scene command, with the filename project.rad (where project represents the name of your project, with no spaces allowed), to save the complete model and current view in Radiance format.

The ".rad" file contains the geometry of the model in Radiance format, including the sun as it was set in DesignWorkshop. At the same time as the Export 3D > Radiance Scene command creates this geometry file, it also creates a ".rif" Radiance control file, containing viewing and rendering parameters, and a ".mat" file containing the Radiance material parameters. Together these three files make up a complete Radiance scene description, ready for rendering.

4) Using a tcp/ip terminal program such as NCSA Telnet, log onto the Unix host computer (with Radiance installed), using your own username and password. As a matter of good practice, create a new directory for your rendering files.

mkdir project

Then move to that directory


Keep the Telnet session open.

5) Using an ftp file transfer program such as Fetch, connect to the Unix host computer, using your own username and password, and set your directory to project. Click the Put button to upload each of the project files, .rad, .mat, and .rif, into the project directory on your Unix host computer. These files should all be uploaded as plain text files.

Keep the ftp session open.

6) Back in NCSA Telnet, at the Unix command line, use the "ls" command to list the files in the project directory, and make sure that the .rad, .mat., and .rif pieces are all present. Then enter the standard Radiance command string to start and run the rendering calculation

nice rad project.rif &

In this command string, "nice" sets a low priority level suitable for background rendering on shared systems, "rad" is the main Radiance rendering command, used with .rif control files, and the "&" sends the rendering process into the background, so it will keep running

7) Check the progress of your rendering periodically by listing the most recent part of the progress file to the screen.

tail progress

8) When the Radiance rendering is done by this method, at the end of the main calculations the Radiance system automatically normalizes the exposure of the image, and saves the result in a special Radiance image format ".pic".

Convert the Radiance image to a PICT file for Macintosh viewing:


9) Using Fetch, click the Get button to download the image file "project .pict", as a binary file, from your Unix host computer to your Macintosh. For best results, in the Fetch save file dialog box, set the Macintosh file type to "PICT" and the creator code to "8BIM" (for Photoshop), or "ttxt" (for Simple Text). (Note--the type and creator codes are case-sensitive.)

10) When the PICT image file has been downloaded to your personal computer, you can simply double-click the file icon, or (If an error has been made with file type or creator codes, you can use the Photoshop Open As... PICT command to open the image file.)

You should now be looking at your completed rendering, something like this example simple image.

That's all there is to it!

Example .rif file - for DW 1.2 Users

See Annotated Example Rif File.