LightTools Illumination Design Software

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Feature Details

LightTools delivers true design capabilities, accurate analyses, and high-powered product visualization features that will help you get illumination systems to market faster. Explore LightTools’ key features in more detail to find out how it can meet your specific illumination design needs.

Rapid Model Creation with LightTools

LightTools’ robust design features help you quickly and efficiently create and modify your illumination system design, from initial concept phases to subsequent engineering iterations and refinements.

Key design features

  • Sophisticated solid modeling with full optical accuracy
  • State-of-the-art ray tracing speed, with full user control of accuracy and resolution requirements
  • Create a light source from any geometric model, for unlimited flexibility to create custom sources
  • Application-specific utilities to help you quickly build a complete model
  • Extensive source and materials libraries, including LEDs and BSDF measurements
  • Robust data exchange support for mechanical CAD data
  • Interactive, dynamic link with SOLIDWORKS
  • Multiple immersion for modeling the embedded phosphor in an encapsulated LED
  • Fully optimizable skinned solids for creating efficient LED couplers, solar concentrators, and other complex optical surfaces
  • User-defined materials to model phosphor-based white LEDs
  • Textures – 2D, 3D, and user defined – with flexibility to vary the shape, size, and spacing of texture elements
  • Calculate the color rendering index (CRI) on any receiver – ideal for LED and luminaire design
  • Intensity data collection that enables data exchange with other lighting design software through the IES and LDT data formats
  • Point-and-shoot ray tracing for real-time, immediate feedback on your system’s light behavior during design iterations

Reach the Best Design Solution Faster with LightTools Optimization

LightTools is the first illumination design and analysis software to deliver a fully integrated system optimization tool. The LightTools optimization module improves the performance of virtually any type of illumination system, and gives designers tremendous flexibility to choose from hundreds of system parameters to designate as variables in order to achieve specified luminance, illuminance or output intensity distribution goals.

Key optimization features

  • Full integration with LightTools 3D solid modeling ensures that the optimizer delivers practical, realistic solutions that yield the best possible system performance, in a fraction of the time it would take to accomplish manually
  • Augmenting the capabilities of the LightTools optimizer is the parametric controls feature. Used in conjunction with the optimizer or in earlier stages of system design, this feature improves parameter management efficiency; by enabling the properties of various system elements to be associated, parametric controls permit global changes on a model to be accomplished by varying a single parameter.
  • Backlight Pattern Optimization for automatic design of backlight extraction patterns for LCDs, cell phone key pads, and automotive instrument clusters
  • Parameter Sensitivity analysis for selecting the best set of variables prior to system optimization
  • Support for optimization of optical elements, parts, and assemblies dynamically linked from SOLIDWORKS

Productivity & Customization

LightTools offers many time-saving solutions to help you focus more on designing your system, and less on setup tasks.

Key productivity features

  • Over 2,500 glass materials, 1,800 catalog lenses, 40 surface finishes, and 30 plastic materials
  • Over 390 sources for automotive and LED applications
  • Display Enhancement Films (DEFs), including Brightness Enhancing Films (BEFs), reflective polarizer BEFs, and turning films
  • More than 90 pre-built systems for automotive, backlight, digital projector, imaging, LED, light pipe, general lighting, and stray light applications
  • Example models that demonstrate key LightTools features, including using the COM/API for sharing data with other applications, modeling sources, and defining surface properties, receivers, geometry, and materials
  • “Wizard-like” utilities to assist in creating, analyzing, and modifying designs at a higher level
  • Utilities to model solar collection systems
  • A COM interface to LightTools commands and data access. This interface can be applied to extending LightTools capabilities using Excel VBA, Visual Basic, MATLAB, Mathematica, or other COM-enabled clients. A supplied library of over 150 high-level functions allows rapid development of solutions.

Choice of Modules

LightTools has multiple modules that can be licensed in various configurations to best match your needs. The Core Module is a prerequisite for all other modules, which include the Illumination Module, Optimization Module, and Image Path Module. LightTools also provides optional file translators to and from three standard CAD formats: STEP, IGES, and SAT. Direct CATIA data exchange, Advanced Physics, and SOLIDWORKS Link Module is also available.

Ease of Use

LightTools’ interactive user interface is easy to learn and includes many features to boost your productivity as you create and modify illumination system elements.

Key user interface features

  • Easy placement, movement, rotation, and manipulation of system components
  • Grouping techniques to apply changes to multiple components at one time
  • Layering of components or sub-systems for flexibility to organize and edit data in complex systems
  • Customizable workspace arrangement
  • Multiple design views
  • Navigation windows for easy access to system components and properties
  • Grid and “snap-to” features for easy positioning of components
  • Windows-standard functions like point-and-click, copy-and-paste, moving and resizing of windows
  • Comprehensive help on features, accessible directly inside the program

Illumination Analysis that Delivers Accuracy & Results

LightTools accurately calculates all the photometric and radiometric quantities needed to perform a complete illumination analysis.

Key illumination analysis features

  • Angular and spatial luminance analysis
  • Interactive graphical output, including true color output
  • Custom charting solutions
  • Simulations of real-world conditions, including surface effects like polarization, scatter, reflection, refraction, and the performance of thin film coatings. Material effects such as dispersion, volumetric absorption, volume scattering, and color filtering can also be included.
  • Fast and robust forward and backward Monte Carlo ray tracing
  • Sobol sampling, the most sophisticated and accurate method for random ray generation
  • Accelerated ray tracing option that increase ray trace speed by 4x to 60x or more
  • Visual design communication and evaluation with a fully featured, high-speed photorealistic rendering tool. Delivers the fastest photorealistic rendering capability for modeling lit appearance
  • Multi-CPU support to speed complex photometric analyses and system optimization

The Full Spectrum of Color Analysis

With LightTools, you get accurate, fast predictions of your illumination system’s color performance. Tailored to meet diverse application demands, these robust design and analysis capabilities will help you achieve any color performance goal, from uniformity to quality to saturation.

Key color definition features

  • Full-spectral sources and chromaticity calculations based on real colors using CIE coordinates
  • Spectral-dependent materials, reflectors, and diffusers
  • Color ray data, wavelength or tri-stimulus based
  • Fully dispersive ray tracing
  • Wavelength-dependent bulk absorption, reflectance, and transmittance

Key color analysis features

  • Color meshes and points
  • True-color plots
  • Backward ray tracing for efficient, highly targeted illuminance, intensity, and spatial and angular luminance calculations
  • Smart output smoothing, which uses a unique algorithm to reduce statistical noise and provide rapid, accurate results
  • Spectral power distribution and CRI
  • Photorealistic rendering
  • Individual or combined CRI calculations on any receiver

LightTools Quality & Reliability

ORA, now part of Synopsys, was founded in 1963 as an engineering services company, serving the optical design needs of customers in aerospace and other demanding industries. Now, more than fifty years later, engineering continues to be an important part of our business, helping our clients, but also helping to make sure LightTools remains the most capable and best-tested illumination design software available.
Our team is large enough to devote resources to all aspects of software development, from planning to algorithm development to implementation. This includes the all-important discipline of testing to assure quality. We know that our customers count on us for correct results to critical problems, and LightTools has an excellent reputation for accuracy in the many critical optical calculations it performs. To maintain this quality, we perform extensive, multilevel testing.

Key quality processes

  • Test cases developed in parallel with code
  • Automatic test-case checking during development
  • In-house testing by technical staff, including use by optical engineering staff
  • Beta test periods at selected customer sites