Use Weblights

Photometric weblights represent real-world distribution.

A photometric weblight is a 3D representation of the light intensity distribution of a light source. Photometric weblights can be used to represent anisotropic (non-uniform) light distributions derived from data provided by manufacturers of real-world lights. This gives a far more precise representation of the rendered light than either spot or point lights are capable of.

This directional light distribution information is stored in a photometric data file in the IES format using the IES LM-63-1991 standard file format for photometric data. You can load photometric data files provided by various manufacturers under the Photometric Web panel in the Properties palette for the light. The light icon represents the photometric web you select.

Light that uses a photometric web can be added to a drawing by entering the commands WEBLIGHT and FREEWEB at the Command prompt. A weblight targets an object whereas a freeweb light does not.

To describe the directional distribution of the light emitted by a source, AutoCAD approximates the source by a point light placed at its photometric center. With this approximation, the distribution is characterized as a function of the outgoing direction only. The luminous intensity of the source for a predetermined set of horizontal and vertical angles is provided, and the system can compute the luminous intensity along an arbitrary direction by interpolation.

NoteWeb distribution is used only in rendered images. Weblights are approximated as weblights in the viewport.
NoteThe size of the web glyph is controllable via the pull-down menu Tools > Options > Drafting > Light Glyph Settings. Some web glyphs may appear very small on screen and may need to be adjusted.

Goniometric Diagrams

Photometric data is often depicted using a goniometric diagram.

Goniometric diagram of a web distribution

This type of diagram visually represents how the luminous intensity of a source varies with the vertical angle. However, the horizontal angle is fixed and, unless the distribution is axially symmetric, more than one goniometric diagram may be needed to describe the complete distribution.

Photometric Webs

The photometric web is a three dimensional representation of the light distribution. It extends the goniometric diagram to three dimensions, so that the dependencies of the luminous intensity on both the vertical and horizontal angles can be examined simultaneously. The center of the photometric web represents the center of the light object.

The luminous intensity in any given direction is proportional to the distance between this web and the photometric center, measured along a line leaving the center in the specified direction.

Example of Isotropic distribution

A sphere centered around the origin is a representation of an isotropic distribution. All the points in the diagram are equidistant from the center and therefore light is emitted equally in all directions.

Example of Ellipsoidal distribution

In this example, the points in the negative Z direction are the same distance from the origin as the corresponding points in the positive Z direction, so the same amount of light shines upward and downward. No point has a very large X or Y component, either positive or negative, so less light is cast laterally from the light source.