Modeling Sunlight Inside - Daylighting In Chief Architect?


Pascalli
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My take on being able to produce reasonable images that are "close to" real life scenes in a real building is that you have to pay your dues with a lot of practice and experimentation.  I think the only way a person can get good at this is reproducing a model of an existing building (home), such as your own, and then taking a bunch of photos with a decent camera, getting all the camera settings right such that the photos are very close to what your own eyes see in terms of brightness, shadow effect, colors, etc.  Then, create a Chief model of your home, and try to replicate any of your better quality photos of your home.  Without doing something like that, it seems to me you are just creating images that "look good" and may or may not be representative of the real world lighting effects in your home based on time of day, intensity of sunlight, month of the year, roof overhangs, etc. etc. 

 

Others have put in tons of time trying to get those near-perfect photo quality images with Chief and some of those images (at least the ones I have seen posted) have turned out really good in my opinion.  Many power users who create great images as a part of their design business use other programs such as Thea to improve upon images from their Chief models.  I just sit back and gasp when I see these users post their great images here on Chief Talk.  I think you are just scratching the surface at this point and you've got a ways to go to get those really nice images you want to wow your customers with.

 

At this point, I think it would be a waste of your time trying to learn Sketchup and produce images showing shadows, etc. with that program.  You can already get pretty good images with the technical illustration and other camera options.  Your call ... just my take on things.

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Curt:

 

I may be mistaken but I don't think the OP is after "good looking" pics

 

sun studies are not about "WOW"

they are concerned with where the sunlight will reach and where shadows will be cast

 

based on factors like overhangs, roof pitch, placement and size of windows etc

 

Chief seems to struggle in these areas - thus my suggestion to try Sketchup

for those quick "what-if" scenarios

 

check out the free Sketchup videos concerning sun studies and make movies/animations

of the results of moving the sun hither and tither

 

Lew

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Lew:

 

Maybe ...

 

How quick could you reproduce the OP's CA model and then do some Sketchup shadow effects?  Minutes?  Hours?  Day(s)?  Have you created a Sketchup model of a home and did some shadow studies?  If so, how much time did you have invested in learning SU at that point? 

 

If the OP is "only" concerned about shadows, if I was the OP, I would take a Chief technical illustration in a heartbeat over trying to learn SU and then creating views showing SU's shadows. 

 

The OP's original post sounded like there was more to what was wanted then just shadows. 
 

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OK, and to answer my questions, I will rephrase ... How much time would it take you to crate the model that the OP DID post using SU, since that is the present model the OP is experimenting with?

 

Have you ever used SU before and if so, are you proficient at creating a home model such as we can create with CA?

 

Assuming you are an experienced SU user, how long did it take for you to get proficient using SU?

 

Assuming you are an experienced SU user, how long would it take you to re-create the OP's posted model using SU?

 

You are suggesting that the OP use a program (SU or some other sun-study program) that he/she is unfamiliar with to accomplish what can be done in Chief.  I am not sure why you would do that??? ... Maybe eventually the OP will in fact do that ... But it sounds to me like the OP is trying to accomplish the work at hand within Chief and is asking for advice on how to evaluate lighting within the model presently being studied by changing settings, etc.  I think the OP is looking for Chief solutions, not solutions outside of Chief!

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Ok now... as the OP, I think I better weigh in here and clarify exactly what I was looking for.

 

Lew is right in that I'm not looking for a pretty picture - I don't care how it looks, as long as it is an accurate representation of the lighting. 

 

Curt is right that I'm not too keen on taking on the learning curve of sketchup. 

 

When I say I am working with a conceptual plan, I mean the one that I have posted, but I am not using Chief to base the building drawings from.  I am using it pretty much exclusively for the ease of layout and graphic renderings.  The plan has several technical issues that I didn't want people to get distracted with.

 

What I am really trying to accomplish is to graphically confirm:

 

1) Whether there is sufficient lighting throughout the year to require use of inside lights only on overcast days and in a few rooms. 

2) That direct sunlight penetrating through the windows in the summertime is minimized.

3) Where the most ideal locations would be to place thermal mass.

 

I would also like to be able to watch the year go by and pinpoint the windows that would most benefit from additional UV/Sun protection or high solar gain coatings in order to maximize window dollars spent. 

 

Basically, I want to simulate natural lighting, both direct and indirect as accurately as possible with different combinations of overhang, window size, and room layouts. 

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Pascalli:

 

Thanks for the clarification.  I think Chief's sun tools will allow you to show where the sun will be landing anywhere inside any model with windows (facing east/south/west) providing you've plugged in the correct latitude and longitude for each project.  You'll have a lot more fun getting the building science stuff right than seeing where the sun's rays are showing.  I recently read an interesting article about thermal mass and storing thermal energy via windows etc.  If my memory serves me correctly, the author of the article eluded to the fact that it is difficult to control the rates at which energy is release from a thermal mass ... etc. etc.  I think I saw it on the Green Building Advisor blog but it may have been somewhere else.  Good luck with your sun studies.

 

Lew ... your off the hook!!!

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Note of caution however to the op. All building is constructed within a site specific context with external factors to the building itself, that includes site slope, fencing, pergolas awnings, trees, courtyard walls, adjoining buildings or structures etc, that will affect the amount of sunlight. whether that be direct, indirect or shading. Im not so sure how accurate chief is with regards to depicting the affect that those external factors may have.

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sun studies are not about "WOW"

they are concerned with where the sunlight will reach and where shadows will be cast

 

based on factors like overhangs, roof pitch, placement and size of windows etc

 

Chief seems to struggle in these areas - thus my suggestion to try Sketchup

for those quick "what-if" scenarios

 

 

Lew

 

Lew,

 

What do you mean when you say that "Chief seems to struggle in these areas".

I would have thought the opposite - Chief seems to excel in these areas.

I have used Chief's sun tools on many occasions (both 2D and 3D, still and animated) to demonstrate shadows to authorities and clients.

How many sun studies have you actually done to base your comments on?

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Glenn:

 

I have followed every post on this forum since 2004

and I see sun study questions and light thru window questions etc - all the time

 

I see various users post various suggestions and "work-arounds" to control the settings etc

usually with frustrating results

 

I haven't touched a sun study since 2008 and only did a minor one at that

 

I did take two Sketchup classes back in '07 and '08 (both teachers were horrible)

but did watch and play with the sun studies in Sketchup and they seemed much more

user-friendly back then - the movie/anim tool was really easy to use

 

over the many versions since then I haven't seen or  heard of any "improvements" in Chief

 

hence my suggestion to checkout Sketchup's free videos on doing sun studies

 

if Chief can do this then why do I keep seeing queries and frustration with Chief's tools ???

 

you are a "master" chiefer - maybe the "ordinary" chiefers can't get your results ???

 

see the OP's original post in this thread

 

Lew

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Geez, the sun studies don't need 'work arounds'. 

 

Put in the correct data, longatude, latitude, time etc. and you'll get the correct results. I've been using chief since V4 and the sun areas of the programme have improved considerably over the versions.

 

Learn how to use the sun studies before criticizing. 

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Geez, the sun studies don't need 'work arounds'. 

 

Put in the correct data, longatude, latitude, time etc. and you'll get the correct results. I've been using chief since V4 and the sun areas of the programme have improved considerably over the versions.

 

Learn how to use the sun studies before criticizing.

Len, did you change your moniker?

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Hey Pascalli,
 
Turn on Photon Mapping (and Caustics if you want) a lot of people don't like to use these as it takes longer to raytrace, but I use it in all my daytime Interior images as this is what It does.... It calculates where all the reflective light hits objects and bounces it around the room.  The compute Caustics can also be turned on as this is good for light coming through glass, however it's not essential in this case.
 
Here's the exact same image with Photon Mapping/Compute Caustics ticked.  All the images had the same Sun Light attributes (day,time,angle) to try and keep it as fair as possible.... Also note I only did three passes on all the raytraces as I'm pushed for time but obviously the longer you leave it the better the results.
 
Check out the difference below...

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post-1119-0-74524300-1404308267_thumb.jpg

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Thanks Cheryl.... I think?  ;) I feel like I'm giving all my secrets away, but it feels nice to actually help someone on here for the 1st time, I just wish I could do it more often! 

 

Here's some more images, different camera angle but all the same settings as previous post (just to prove it wasn't luck)

 

p.s This was also done on my computer and not on my laptop so it was much quicker (10 passes with photon mapping & caustics on under 6mins 800 x 300ish res)

 

 

 

 

Phil 

post-1119-0-28603200-1404340074_thumb.jpg

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