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Putting the sun where it doesn't usually shine

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    Putting the sun where it doesn't usually shine

    Hi Klaus, I've been interested in 'putting the sun where it doesn't usually shine' for a while - since sun access is key to passive solar and water heating and pool heating and PV output and.......

    I like the 'heliostats' and other reflective elements built in Canberra by Derek Wrigley, and thought it would be useful to be able to model and render them. (I have places with reflective elements starting construction based only on black and white drawings)

    Rendered mirrors reflect all the other elements of the model beautifully, just not the sunshine that is falling on them. In the image we should be able to see a big block of sunlight on the rear wall. When the mirror is rendered as 'white paint' or even 'snow' it reflects a fair amount of light, and we've all seen lightshelves and light coloured floors work very well in renderings.

    Attached image was rendered in class recently to see if the teacher had any ideas - one classmate suggested it may be a job for 3DS or whatever the latest version is.
    Attached Files

    revit cannot reflect sunlight off a mirror in rendering!?

    Preliminary testing does not seem prove that revit can reflect sunlight off a mirror in rendering. I hope I am wrong. Does anyone else have different results? How do you get revit to reflect sunlight off a mirror when rendering?


      Two first time posters asking the same question in the same thread near five months apart without an answer!

      Welcome to the forum mj8rybin!

      Sadly, without Revit to hand I can't validate my answer, but I have certainly had success creating a light/reflection study that does this to a certain degree - I made a S-shaped corridor, with mirrors at 45 degrees in each corner, that sent artificial light all the way down/around the corridor.

      But I did that using 2008 - which used a different rendering engine.

      Whether or not Revit's "sun" lightsource would behave in the same way is another question (you'd probably have to make a periscope test model) - but if it doesn't, and only artificial lightsources reflect in such a way, you could always fake a sun with a very big studio light.

      But in the end, you're probably better off looking into more capable rendering solutions - a number of which are being discussed on a number of threads here already.

      Report back how you go if you would please, it's an interesting question.


        This was done in 100% Revit, version 2011. Revit uses a "baby brother" version of the Mental Ray render engine, so it does raytracing as does 3dsMax.

        The glass is reflecting the sun, as you can see. This is the sun as set up in Revit's sun settings for the scene. Image is raw from Revit, no Photoshop.

        Attached Files
        Cliff B. Collins
        Registered Architect
        The Lamar Johnson Collaborative Architects, St. Louis, MO
        Autodesk Expert Elite


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