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Light Bulb

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Hello Team,


Does anyone have any tips for lightbulbs and rendering them ? I am trying to achieve the glass bulb effect shown in the attachment, my previous attempts just look like globes or spheres, any tips gratefully received 





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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

If you're going to get THAT close, regular glass reflectivity and transparency for the bulb, with a glow texture applied to the separate filament geometry inside. No backlit effect on the bulb glass if you want it to remain transparent as it is in this image.

In the Indirect Lighting options for the glass texture, make sure to enable Portals so that it properly calculates light passing through the bulb surface.

Indirect Lighting will need to be enabled in your renderworks mode in order to see the glow texture properly.

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I just took this on last week, but in Cinema 4D with Corona renderer, not Vectorworks.


Make sure you are working with real world scale.

Make sure your glass envelope has the correct thickness.

So much of this is in the lighting - it's all about the lighting!  There are what looks like three soft boxes lighting your example - warm light from the left and right and a cool top light.  You can see it in the reflections.

Probably need to get the glow on the filament working well in post via aftereffects or photoshop.  I used a luminous texture in Corona with Bloom and Glare effects turned on in the camera.


Attaching my attempt.  Good luck - it would be a tricky thing to get right in renderworks. Edison Bulb model by Fabiovalle3D via Turbosquid.



Edited by EAlexander
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Hi Guys,


Thanks so much for all your posts and tips, this has really helped me, Some of the tip produces great results but render time is huge, I'm still tinkering to find a happy balance....... My project has 22 hanging light bulbs so render time is important, hopefully i'll be able to post my final result here soon,


Thanks once again 


Dave :)


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If you are doing that many, clearly the lamps are going to be fairly small and if render times are important, then I would use an image prop. I've done this a few times and it works. It's not nearly as elegant as some of the above suggestions but you can get the point across. Perhaps a little post work to tart it up. 


These are trade-offs, but that is what I would suggest. 

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20 hours ago, Kevin McAllister said:

This is where "Lens Effects" in C4D could be used. They're sort of like image props for lights.

(I'm sort of surprised this hasn't been wish listed. It would be useful for many visualization needs in VW.)


OMG!! I'm ready for that in VW NOW!

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Wanted to see how close I could get to that render from scratch in a blank doc in 20 minutes, the answer was this, lol:

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 5.17.21 PM.png
But i'll take it all the way through tomorrow most likely and add the filament, glow, cabling and a real environment as opposed to this quick studio-ish background reflectivity and share the image and file I end up with.

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

Yup this is raw VW, an eyeballed sweep for the body of the socket off of your image, i didn't try to trace or anything just slapped the shape together. A few extrudes and tapers added for the knob and knurled collar of the socket, the knurling i got with a quick displacement mapped texture, i COULD have done it with Surface Array for more precision but that would have taken me much longer. Then a render style with a studio light background and a refractive glass transparency and glass reflectivity for the bulb.

Attaching the WIP (Don't judge my madness too harshly!) but I absolutely botched the bulb shape with a misplaced Deform of a shell object. I'll redo that part from scratch, Im sure I can match the bulb shape perfectly including the little nub at the end with some more effort. For the filament i plan to use a NURBS curve derived from some duplicated 3D loci to get that 3D zigzag pattern, then a super thin extrude along those curves to get the filament and we'll see how the light from making that glow plays against the shelled glass bulb, which is the part i'm really interested to try.

For the cable, probably a new Cloth shader type on top of an extrude along path/helix spiral combo.


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A great challenge and here's my attempt! Didn't take long to model but honesty you could take all week tweaking the rendering. I spent about 90 minutes on this not including rendering time. The final render at 300dpi on a sheet layer takes 10 mins.

Somehow Jim's is livelier.. 





Globe challenge.png

Edited by Peter Neufeld
Couldn't help myself post a better image. Rendering does that to you.
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
On 10/5/2017 at 3:00 AM, Peter Neufeld said:

Somehow Jim's is livelier.. 


That might just be my addition of a Glow effect via the Renderworks Camera. It makes the reflections shining off the glass and the glow of the filament "pop" a little bit more. In scenes with white surfaces, polished surfaces, or anywhere light glints off a reflective surface it seems to add quite a bit of character without adding a lot of render time. You're looks a little more authentic/period than mine however, I like it!

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