Your First Simulation

These steps will lead you through your first simulation. We will be running an illuminance test using a simple classroom model. You can download the example Rhino model here. When you open the file, you will see a large building shell, with a single classroom modeled on the first floor. The file also contains several named views.


Step 1: Selecting the project location
The first step is to determine where the project is located using the Location button.

1. Left click on the Location button.
2. Follow the prompt and select the Boston climate file.

Select project location

Step 2: Setting up the sensor nodes

We are conducting a simple illuminance test at workplane height. The sensor nodes will be arrayed horizontally, with their orientation vector pointing up, so in this case we want to select the floor as the drive surface for the nodes.

Nodes will be offset in the direction of the surface normal. To check this, in Rhino, type "Dir" for "Direction", and select the surfaces you will be applying nodes to. This command will allow you to view the normals of the selected surfaces. If any are oriented in the wrong direction, click on them while the command is still active in order to flip the normal. 

1. To start, left-click on the Nodes button.
2. Select one or more planar surfaces which will serve as the base planes for creating the sensor nodes. The surfaces do not have to be parallel and can be in any orientation (horizontal, vertical, etc.), but they must be planar (i.e. no curved surfaces). For this example, select the floor surface, and press Enter. 

Setting up sensor nodes

3. The Rhino Command Line prompt will ask for the distance of sampling nodes off of analysis surfaces. Accept the default (30") by pressing Enter. This will put our sensor nodes 30" off of the floor, roughly at desk height. Enter distance of nodes off of that surface.


4. The Command Line prompt will ask you to enter the approximate square edge length of the grid dimensions. The edge length means the spacing between grid nodes.

Accept the default (15"). This will set the nodes roughly 15" from each other in both directions.

Enter the grid density as a distance between sensor nodes.

Check that the points are on the right side of the surface.
Here the points are inside the space, so all is fine.

Step 3: Setting Materials
Materials are associated with geometry by layer. It is important to note that any geometry on a layer withouta material applied, will not be included in the analysis.

1. Left click on the Materials button. A dialog will pop up which reads all materials from the DIVA materials file.
2. Select the materials as shown below.
3. Click Submit Material Information.

 An example of the materials window.

For more information on materials check out custom materials.

Step 4: Running your first visualization
It is always a good idea to run a visualization first in order to verify that all of the geometry is being properly exported during the analysis.


1. In Rhino, set your viewport to the named view, "view_room".
2. Left click on the Metrics button
3. Select the Daylight Images Tab, then the Visualization Tab
4. Accept all of the other defaults, and click Run Simulation


Daylight images - visualization menu

First, a DOS window will pop up, and after a short period of time, wxfalscolor will launch and display the rendering of the model. Your visualization should look similarly to the following image.


For more information, see visualizations.

Step 5: Running your first metric
We are now ready to run the illuminance test.


1. Left click on the Metrics button
2. Select Daylight Grid Based

3. Select Point-in-Time Illuminance
4. Leave all of the defaults, and click Run Simulation

 Point-in-Time Illuminance menu

5. Another DOS window will pop up, and this time, it may take slightly longer to run.
6. When the simulation is complete the "Load Metrics" dialog box will appear.
Here is where you can select a variety of display options including the upper and lower bounds of the results, whether or not to display peak values or a variant label. You can also choose to change the display colors or node values. Don't worry if you change your mind about the options that you select. You can always change your options by right clicking on the Metrics button and reloading the data.
7. For now, Leave all of the defaults, and click Load Simulation Data.
8. Turn off the ceiling and outside facade layers, set your view to Top and for a sharper display, set your view to Shaded. Zoom out until you can see both the room and the legend.Your results should look something like below.

Congratulations! You have completed an analysis with DIVA.

Step 6: Results and Reports

The legend includes valuable information about the conditions under which the analysis was run, as well as important result statistics. The false-color grids are grouped into "panelgroups". There is one panelgroup per surface selected during the nodes creation step. If you aren't sure which panelgroup is which, in Rhino, use the "SelGroup" command, and enter "panelgroupXX" where "XX" represents the group number you are looking to identify. This will highlight the associated false-color grid.

False-color grid

The upper and lower bounds of the analysis are controlled by your selections in the "Load Metrics" dialog box. If you want to change the bounds, or any other aspect of the results display such as the display colors, whether node values are displayed, or other variants, simply right click on the Metrics button. You can load the analysis that you just performed and select the desired options, or you can load any other tests that were performed using this model.


A. The legend scale and the flase-color grid are both mesh geometries. In the "Options" menu of Rhino, you can change the way meshes, particularly mesh edges are displayed. Reducing the mesh edge thickness to "0" will eliminate the border on the meshes, creating a smoother look.

B. To create consistent reports, use the Layout and Detail commands in Rhino to create page layouts.

Step 7: Reloading Results
For practice, let's try changing the way our results are displayed. To do so, we will "reload" our results and change the display options.


1. Right click on the Metrics button to reload data from previous analysis runs
2. Select "Illuminance Values" from the "Lighting Test" drop down menu

3. Browse to the ".dat" file from the illuminace test we just ran. It will be located in the folder "Gund_111-Results" and will be named, "Gund_111.clsky092109.dat"

4. Change some of the display options in the Load Metrics dialog box
5. Click Load Simulation Data

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