Hi, what I want to share is not a tool, but a simple method to create high poly luminous objects (lamps, bulbs, lanterns...) using very few emitting faces, to reduce your render time.
In the image below, the two lanterns contain only 46 emitting faces, and the bulbs themselves are not emitting light.
The trick is simple : The bulbs can be low poly or high poly with subsurf. This has no importance !
Currently, for what i have seen and if I am not wrong, light can't pass through glass materials, but I have noticed a very useful thing : Diffuse materials with opacity set to zero still emit light ! This allows to get transparent and even totally unvisible objects to emit light !
In the example below, there are two kinds of emitters : inside each bulbs there is a small cube with diffuse emitting material. This light doesn't propagate beyond the bulb enveloppe, but the bulb itself is luminous.
- The bulbs are made of a specular material with high IOR.
- The external glass of the lanterns is made of diffuse emitting material with an opacity of 0.005 and a power of 5.
I kept a low value of opacity but without setting it to zero, in order to make the glass surface slightly visible. The power emitting value of the glass is 5 in the image below.
On the second image the emitting glass of the lantern has a power of 20.
I hope that you will find this little trick useful !