SOLIDWORKS Visualize 2020 supports IES Light Profiles

Article by Shawn McEachern updated March 2, 2020


The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has defined a file format which describes a light’s distribution from a light source using real world measured data. These IES Photometric files, or IES Profiles, are a lighting industry standard method of diagramming the brightness and falloff of light as it exists a particular real world light fixture. It enables them to account for reflective surfaces in the light fixture, the shape of the light bulb, and any lensing effects that happens.

Light examples

Lighting Profile Examples

This type of photometric lighting is primarily used in fields such as media and entertainment, architecture and manufacturing. Anywhere that accurate lighting visualization is critical.

Architectural rendering with IES Light Profiles

Architectural rendering with Light Profiles

Using IES Light Profiles

Before you begin, download IES light profiles from lighting manufacturers such as Philips, Sylvania and Lithonia.

  1. Search the internet using a string such as “ies light profiles download” to find sources.
  2. Download the files and copy them to the Lights folder in your SOLIDWORKS Visualize Content folder.

The default location for the content folder is system_dir\Users\your_name\SOLIDWORKS Visualize Content year\SOLIDWORKS Visualize Content.

To use IES light profiles:

  1. In the Palette, on the Scenes tab, click Add > New Light.
  2. Select an option: Pick Target, Pick Position, or Match Current Camera.

If you select Pick Target or Pick Position, pick a point in the viewport.

  1. For Type, select IES Profile.
  2. Under IES Profile, click browse button and navigate to your IES profiles folder, and select a file.
  3. Set options in the Palette.
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Shawn McEachern

Shawn McEachern is a SOLIDWORKS Application Expert based in our Oakville, ON., Canada Head Office