Help and Documentation

Here is where you can find help and documentation for Desktop Radiance. If you can't find the answers you are looking for, you can try emailing

Discussion List

If you would like to participate in the e-mail based user support list, please join the list.

Future Developments

If you would like to know what's in store for the future, or you would like to participate in the development of Desktop Radiance or you, please visit our future developments page.


If you have discovered a bug, or if you would like to provide suggestions for future enhancements, please see our feedback page.

Overview of Version 2.0Beta (README)

New Features of Version 2.00 BETA

  • Immediately after launching Desktop Radiance, the "Preferences" dialog box is (optionally) displayed to remind you to define the drawing units and scale.
  • The AutoCAD graphic editor interface has been enhanced with the addition of dialog boxes to assist in the selection of graphic entities and analysis components immediately prior to synchronization and Simulation Setup.
  • Wizards are available which allow you to create new, custom furnishings, glazings and luminaires to add to the main library database. Three additional menu items "New Furnishing\205", "New Glazing\205", and "New Luminaire\205" have been added to the AutoCAD graphic editor interface under the Radiance menu that launch their respective wizards.
  • The glazing wizard links with the LBNL Optics5 program for the creation of custom glazing assemblies. The Optics5 program is included with this distribution and can be installed during installation of Desktop Radiance. ==========

Overview of Version 1.02 (README)

New Features of Version 1.02

  • AutoCAD 2000 is now supported along with AutoCAD R14. The installation program allows you to select the target CAD platform in the "Setup Types" dialog box.
  • Windows 2000 is now supported as a target operating system platform.
  • A Material Editor may be used to create new materials that are added directly to the main library database.
  • A reference point and reference grid can now be arbitrarily oriented resulting in "tilted" illuminance calculation points and planes.
  • Help documents for Desktop Radiance are now accessible from the Program Files menu.
  • The New Location dialog box has been revised to provide better ease of use.
  • A drawing may now contain multiple North Arrows for changing building orientation. The North Arrow active for each simulation can be selected from the Advanced Dialog box of the Simulation Setup dialog box.
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Known Problems of Version 1.02

Installation Program

  • Installation of database drivers under Windows 95 OSR1 requires the installation of the Windows 95 Y2K upgrade. The installer currently knows if you are running Windows 95 OSR1, but does not know if you have already installed the Y2K Upgrade.
  • The installation program only allows installation of the program for either AutoCAD R14 or AutoCAD 2000, but not both.
  • In some circumstances, the installation program will prompt twice to reboot your computer.

Graphic Editor

  • Desktop Radiance only supports blocks that contain valid material attachments. Glazings, luminaires, furnishings and sub-blocks inside blocks are not supported.
  • Adjust surface normal does not work with some REGION entities because they do not have a clearly defined surface normal.
  • Support for ACIS solids is limited. Currently, only ACIS solids with exact Radiance equivalents are supported. For example, the ACIS sphere is supported as a Radiance sphere, but the torus is not supported, because Radiance does not have a torus entity. Furthermore, Boolean operations (subtract, add, etc.) on ACIS solids are not yet supported.
  • The Analysis Zone cannot be created if you are in a perspective view. This is a limitation of the AutoCAD "box" command.

Library Manager

  • The Library Managers now remember the previous sort between invocations and between AutoCAD sessions and order and display their contents accordingly.
  • Pressing "Enter" in the Library Manager when text has been entered in the "Find" field causes the find operation to be initiated.

Simulation Manager

  • The stand-alone executable version of Simulation Manager does not show the scenarios for the current project if a simulation has not been previously started using the Desktop Radiance AutoCAD interface.
  • The advanced "queue" features of the Simulation Manager such as the "Start Queue" button are inoperative because these features have not yet been implemented.
  • After closing a drawing and returning the Simulation Manager, all simulations appear as "NOT FINISHED" in the %DONE field, even if some simulations are still processing, or even if all have finished long ago.
  • If two Reference Grids are present in the Drawing file when the simulation of reference grid is started, the error "error in soft grid" occurs upon starting the simulation. Only one reference grid or reference point per drawing is currently supported.
  • Reference grids that are one column or one row wide will cause the error message "Error in sort grid: Grid geometry is not rectangular" when you attempt to start the simulation from the Reference Grid Simulation Setup dialog box.

Image Analyzer

  • Various image files sometimes will not open for unknown reasons. The image loading routine of winimage needs to be made more robust. It should accept images with no header by figuring out what the possible dimensions of the image could be based on the file size and/or prompt the user to provide the dimensions.

Radiance for Windows Engine

  • A Drawing name with any "space" characters is not compatible with the Radiance for Windows rendering engine. Rename your drawing using underscore "_" or some other character besides spaces.
  • The color of the CIE Cloudy Sky is the same as the color for CIE Clear Sky, namely blue. This will introduce a small error in the absolute accuracy of illuminance calculations relative to the CIE Standard. However, daylight factor measurements will still be accurate. This problem will be resolved in an upcoming release that supports the creation of custom sky types.
  • The interactive rendering program (rview) occasionally introduces spurious artifacts into the images. These appear as spots or blobs of discolored pixels. A solution is being investigated.
  • The interactive rendering program (rview) occasionally leaves the DOS Shell running even after exiting the program. The shell window can be safely closed by right-clicking on its icon from the programs toolbar and selecting "close."
  • The default location for saving a view, image, log file, etc. under windows 98 is the "My Documents" folder instead of the folder where the drawing is found. This behavior is observed when using the "Save as…" command, but not when using the "Save" command or rview.
  • There are various reliability problems with the rview.
  • rview paints "garbage" pixels on the screen after "refining" has finished.
  • The rview program will just stop displaying pixels after a certain period of time. This is also true of using the "focus" command (no un-focus).
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Bug Fixes Since Version 1.0

Installation Program

  • The significant delay experienced after rebooting Windows 98 machines has now been greatly reduced.
  • The problem with Windows 98 machines not booting after installation of Desktop Radiance due to the AUTOEXEC.BAT file containing "@PATH=" statements has been fixed.

Graphic Editor

  • COMPATIBILITY CHANGE: A bug in AutoCAD which caused the program to crash with an "AutoCAD Exception Error" when the "render" command was executed has been fixed. The fix required that the block name of our CAMERA entity to be changed. This means that any cameras or camera paths saved in drawings created with Desktop Radiance 1.0 and earlier are not compatible with Desktop Radiance 1.02. Other attachments such as materials, glazings, luminaires and furnishings are unaffected.
  • A bug which caused various drawings to refuse to start a simulation due to an "Access Violation" error has been fixed.
  • The AutoCAD "Finish" command no longer causes problems with Desktop Radiance. The presence of finish entities in a drawing no longer causes a "CsimulationManager Error" upon starting a simulation.
  • Closed PLINE entities now permit glazing and material attachments and will be rendered as a Radiance n-sided polygon surface entity.
  • A problem with the default or "current" camera has been fixed. The simulation now accurately displays the view as seen in AutoCAD.
  • A problem with the Preprocess.bat file containing multiple references to the <blocks>.rad file has been fixed. Drawings with blocks containing material attachments now work as expected.
  • Using the AutoCAD menubar "move" icon no longer results in the creation simulations that will not render. The graphic editor now filters out empty blocks.
  • The "replace all" feature now correctly updates all of the selected surface entities with the new material or glazing attachment.
  • Dimming of luminaires can now be changed after the luminaire has been placed in the drawing.
  • A bug which caused an Access Violation Error when the "Show Properties…" command is used has been fixed.
  • The North Arrow icon is now scaled properly relative to other Desktop Radiance icons such as cameras, and is scaled according the "drawing scale" in the Preferences… dialog box.
  • The material mapping tool has been fixed such that it no longer creates blank Radiance modifiers.
  • The glazings property "as a light source" can now be changed and will be saved with the drawing. This feature is useful when a scene contains many hundreds of light sources or in situations when you wish to use glass on a surface which is not a window.
  • A bug has been fixed that caused empty blocks to be exported for simulation if the "render" command had been fixed.
  • The graphic editor no longer allows entities which do not have a 3-D equivalent (e.g., lines without thickness) to have materials or glazings attached, and therefore, they are not rendered and will not cause the simulation to crash. If older drawings are used with Desktop Radiance 1.02 and it contains a material or glazing attached to a non-surface entity, the simulation will not successfully start because Radiance will not be able to find a file containing the expected geometry. You may have to use the Radiance-->Tools-->Show All Attached or Detach All command to find the offending non-surface entity. This means that all attachment may have to be re-applied.

Library Manager

  • Performing a "Find" no longer results in multiple selected items, and the selected item is correctly attached to the drawing in all cases.
  • The reflectance values of the RAL type materials as shown in the Material Library have been corrected.
  • The mounting height for several recessed luminaires has been fixed.
  • The default luminaire orientation has been changed by 90 degrees to facilitate the use of manufacturers' IES Candlepower data.
  • A bug which caused an Access Violation Error when the library browser was cancelled has been fixed.

Simulation Manager

  • The DOS Shell window is now minimized (instead of invisible) during processing and no longer pauses after the simulation is complete.
  • The Reference Grid calculation type of "batch to image" is now fixed.
  • A bug in the Reference Grid calculation which caused the error "scanline illegal length error" has been fixed.
  • The accuracy of reference grid and reference point calculations has been improved by changing the default number of ambient bounces to one no less than one.
  • Cancelling the creation of a scenario no longer creates an empty (hidden) scenario.
  • Custom views appended to a scenario's .RIF file (using the interactive rendering program), now work both with duplicated scenarios as well as new scenarios exported from AutoCAD. A patch can be found on the Desktop Radiance download site.
  • It is now possible to start multiple scenarios from the Simulation Manager to run simultaneously. This is recommended only if you have a multi-processor computer.
  • The displayed time in Simulation Manager no longer reads as 12 AM when Noon was selected in the Simulation Setup dialog box.

Radiance Rendering Engine

  • Various missing Radiance support files have been added to the Radiance "lib" directory.
  • The interactive rendering program (rview) no longer exits if the "cancel" button is pressed in the "Save file as…" dialog box after exiting the program.
  • The intermediate sky type now uses "gensky +i" instead of "gensky -i +s"
  • The sky color for the CIE Clear Sky type has been normalized to 1.0, and the default turbidity has been set at 2.0 to match the CIE standard.

Image Analyzer

  • A bug in the winimage.exe program which caused the error "missing or bad registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE …" has been fixed. This problem occurred with the initial version 1.0 release when Desktop Radiance has been installed as an non-privileged user.


  • The online documentation has been updated and expanded to reflect the current features of the software.
  • Broken links to the online help documents have been fixed. You can open the help system directly by double-clicking on the file "Dradhelp.hlp" in the "Help" folder where Desktop Radiance is installed.
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Overview of Version 1.0 (README)

New features of Version 1.0

  • The Radiance binaries have been re-compiled under Visual C++ and therefore, the Cygnus Unix emulation shell is no longer required and is no longer supported.
  • Graphical User interfaces for the interactive rendering program (rview) has been written.  Therefore, the X-Win32 X-Windows emulation program is no longer required and X11 display of images is no longer supported. Rview will automatically adjust the exposure of the simulation to the average value after level "8 refining".
  • Simulation Setup now supports selection of illuminance and luminance computations.   The BETA versions incorrectly computed luminance when illuminance was specified.   It is important that the user keep in mind which quantity was simulated to appropriately label images to be analyzed with the falsecolor and isolux contour features of the Image Analyzer.
  • The Radiance-->Analysis-->Define Reference Point and Define Reference Grid, have been implemented. Workplane grids and Reference points must be parallel to the World Coordinate X-Y plane. Grids and Points can be simulated in illuminance mode.
  • The generic luminaires included with Desktop Radiance based on the IES standard luminaire types have been completely re-worked and standardized. Energy efficient alternatives for each of these types have been created and are available for comparison.
  • The structure of the Radiance menu has changed slightly. The "Show Properties..." command has been moved to the "Tools" section and removed from the individual library section. The command is still limited to selecting a single entity. To select an entity which is "behind" another due to coincident edges or surfaces, you will need to move the other surface out of the way so that it is selectable.
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Known problems of Version 1.0

  • Entities which do not have a 3-D equivalent (e.g., lines without thickness) are not rendered.  If a material or glazing is attached to a non-surface entity, the simulation will not successfully start because Radiance will not be able to find a file containing the expected geometry.  You may have to use the Radiance -->Tool-->Show All Attached or Detach All command to find the offending non-surface entity.  This means that all attachment may have to be re-applied.
  • Support for ACIS solids is limited.   Currently, only ACIS solids with exact Radiance equivalents are supported.   For example, the ACIS sphere is supported as a Radiance sphere, but the torus is not supported, because Radiance does not have a torus entity.  Furthermore, Boolean operations (subtract, add, etc.) on ACIS solids are not yet supported.
  • Some materials with patterns included in the database such as "wood floor" are not appropriately scaled for the units of the drawing.
  • The Analysis Zone cannot be created if you are in a perspective view.
  • The interactive rendering program (rview) occasionally introduces spurious artifacts into the images.  These appear as spots or blobs of discolored pixels.
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Bug fixes since Beta-3

  • Old projects from BETA-1, BETA-2 and BETA-3 will not work with Version 1.0. Be sure to delete or rename any old project directories before starting any new simulations.
  • Various problems with opening saved projects have been fixed.
  • Running the stand-alone Simulation Manager while AutoCAD is running is not supported. In this situation, Windows95/98 machines will sometimes report an error about "The application performed an illegal operation...the application will be leaked". This error can be safely ignored.
  • The stand-alone Simulation Manager will not work unless a project directory has previously been created. A project directory is established the first time a simulation is initiated from inside the Desktop Radiance AutoCAD application.
  • The Radiance-->Analysis-->Define Sensor, Define Grid, and Define Animation Path tools have been prototyped and are part of the AutoCAD interface, but these entities are not supported yet for simulations.
  • Support for "BLOCKS" has been improved and now supports may thousands of surfaces with material and/or glazing attachments. The AutoCAD Edit-->Copy and Edit--> Paste command now works. Furnishing, Luminaires and any AutoCAD sub-blocks are not supported.
  • The synchronize feature has been largely re-written and is now much faster and robust. Large drawings with many tens of thousands of surfaces should synchronize in less than 2 minutes on a Pentium 2, 300 MHz machine.
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New Features and fixes since BETA-1

  • The Radiance-->Luminaire-->Aim Luminaire command can be used to display the orientation of a luminaire. To change the orientation, use the standard AutoCAD "rotate" command in combination with appropriate alignment of the user coordinate system.
  • The Radiance-->Tools-->Adjust surface normal tool can be used to swap the direction of the surface normal of most planar surfaces. This is sometimes necessary for glazings so that the pre-calculation will be performed appropriately. The surface normal of glazings should face into the room or area of interest.
  • Individual glazing surfaces can be excluded from the glazing pre-calculation by de-selecting the "as light source" item in the Glazing Properties dialog box. The entire glazing pre-calculation process can be disabled from the "Advanced" dialog box in Camera Simulation Setup.
  • The Radiance-->Tools-->Detach All command can be used to detach Desktop Radiance attachments to all selected drawing entities.
  • The project directory can now be located on any hard disk attached to your computer (network drives must be "mapped" to a drive letter.) A browse button is provided when the default location for the project fails to be recognized.
  • Many features of the Camera Simulation Setup, Advanced dialog box have been fixed and enhanced. The exposure settings have been moved from the "Rendering" tab to the "Analysis Tab."
  • The Simulation Manager can now appropriately preserve the geometric setup from prior scenarios, and it can be used as a stand-alone application, which can be run from outside of AutoCAD.
  • Scenaria which are no longer desired can be deleted.
  • Third party X Window display drivers (such as Xceed, M/IX, X-WinPro, WebTermX, etc.) are now supported. If the included X-Win32 program is not installed, the interactive rendering will pause with a dialog box allowing you time to start the third party X Window driver program. To be compatible, the network and X Window drivers must support the “loopback” network display address of “”. Display of interactive renderings on remote hosts is not supported.
  • The Image Analyzer (winimage) has been improved. Batch renderings can be viewed and the image exposure can be adjusted. The image can also be adjusted for eye sensitivity.
  • Images can be converted to "False color" to display quantitative information. Images can be saved as .GIF, .TIF, .BMP, and EPS.
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