Lights with built in beam selection - Possible?


Doing some research for a possible contract.

I’m a Pro user and have a landscape light that a client wants modeled. The complication is that the light has 6 light beam settings. The client would like the model to already have these settings inherent in the model so they can export the model into another software they use. Within that software, they want to add the light and then build scenes where they can cycle through the beam selections for their customer and in real time see the lighting changes.

I have done a bit of searching and it appears this is not realistic for sketchup pro, if at all. I was thinking I could model the beam cones via a transparent material, but that really doesn’t transfer to actual light in a true 3D model that will render.

Has anyone ever heard of a solution like this?

I think you are right that this isn’t realistic in SketchUp alone. It’s the sort of thing that would need to be handled in a rendering application. Depending on the rendering application, it might be possible to set up “lights” in SketchUp that have different settings that the rendering application would read. For example, with a rendering program called Kerkythea, different light components could be added to the model and those can be set up with different properties. Then when setting up to render the images, you would choose the appropriate light. As far as showing the client the difference between settings, you would just switch from one image to the next.

what export options does the other software have for light components?

if you can import one and analyse it, you could then emulate it’s structure…

they are often quite simple with an accompanying ‘list’ of values…


DaveR: I was thinking of offering that scenario to them…one light model imported and 6 beam structures saved into a library in the render engine that they just apply to the light model to demonstrate the affects on the space.

john_drive…: will actually be “importing” in the other software. The client manufactures the light and they have distributors that use the software to show their customers how the lights look in the “real” world. The client wants to have these 3D models of their lights that have the beam options inherent in the model so that the distributor doesn’t have to know the values of for each beam option and create those…yada, yada, yada. A serious attempt to simplify the process for the distributors.

Does that make more sense now? Does your solution still apply?

You could do this with Unreal Engine. Ive used it with much success showing headlamp variants in work (beam strength, angle, type, bulb variations etc etc). it’s all dynamic too so no waiting around for it to render.

Since you have SketchUp Pro you can download the Unreal Studio Datasmith exporter for Unreal Engine 4, its free.

It may look daunting but if you knuckle down you can probably have a workflow for lighting in a few days if you go through the beginner tutorials. It can certainly do what you want anyway.

Good luck and if you decide to look into it let me know I have a list of tutorials I can send to you.

Edit: 1:23 for the magic!!

liamk887: Thanks for all that info! My main question would be if I can get an export from Unreal Engine 4 that can integrate with this other software and still maintain the light beam options. Does it allow that?

If it can, client may go for it.

I don’t know, you haven’t stated what that other software is? However if it’s generic it most likely will. Unreal has exporters for most large Render engines such as Vray etc.

Structure Studio’s VIP3 - its a landscape design/production software.

No idea sorry, that looks like a very bespoke tool for making pools. But good luck!

Thanks! appreciate all the info. Ill come back in and post if I find a good solution.

Hey liam…does the Datasmith plugin work on macOSX?

No it does not sorry