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Lit Edge Glass

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I was recently asked if I knew of a method to recreate a Lit Edge glass panel using Vectorworks, the user was attempting to get something that looked like this:

RGN.jpg

 

I liked how the end result turned out, so I am sharing the steps here:

 

1) Create the pane of glass. I used a simple rectangle and then extruded it to the desired thickness.

 

2) Using the Extract tool in Face mode, extract all the outer edges of the pane. This will leave us with a group of NURBS surfaces, which I simply added together with Add Solids to get one generic solid. I then scaled this edge geometry by .99, so that it sits just inside the outer boundary of the extruded pane object:

 

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 10.05.06 AM.png

 

3) You will get a better end result if you then fillet or chamfer all of the edges of the pane extrude, as the additional facets will showcase the light effect. I chamfered the edges after I had already extracted the edge geometry but you could probably do it before or after and get similar looks.

 

Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 10.03.55 AM.png

 

3) Create two textures, one for the main pane of glass itself and one for the edge and lettering geometry. The main body should have a glass transparency with a mild glow reflectivity. The edge texture can be duplicated from the main texture to start, but then increase the brightness value of the glow significantly. I believe I used 30% for the main body and 250% for the edge, which can both the found in the attached sample file. The color of both can be left white or tuned to taste however I recommend you use the same or very similar colors for both, having one white and one red gave a weird end result here in testing.

 

4) Apply the dimmer glow texture to the main pane and the brighter edge texture to the edge geometry. I added extruded lettering to my example as well, using the same edge texture for the lettering seemed to yield a good result. You may also want to try adding a blur to the edge texture for a frosted glass look but I left it off to keep rendering times down, as blur is a time-expensive rendering option.

 

5) Render this object in a scene that includes some geometry around it, glow textures don't appear properly if you render them in empty nothingness on their own and only work with Indirect lighting enabled. The Renderworks Style included in the below sample file should work fine.

 

You can see that the glow effect as an object nears a wall or other surface emulates reality somewhat:

 

In blue:
Screen_Shot_2016-11-18_at_11_32.25_AM.png

 

Softer white:

Screen_Shot_2016-11-21_at_10_22.36_AM.png

 

I ran out of time to play with it, but I might also look into reducing the reflectivity to increase the realism of the glass, as well as tweak the brightness settings to get a different glow. I suspect using the Bloom camera effect on this would look pretty spiffy as well. Sample file is attached below with just the sign geometry and test room, hope this helps anyone else looking to recreate a similar effect!

 

Lit_Edge_Test.vwx

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