For any lighting designers or architects that have to work with lighting design and want to do some visualization for your clients might I suggest the powerful yet low cost combination of Google Sketchup Pro and Kerkythea Rendering System. Google Sketchup is a terrific program (I use it extensively myself both professionally and outside my company and I spec’d it for my company) to rapidly and quite intuitively make 3D models of almost anything and is particularly well suited for architecture. It’s own rendering capabilities lean towards the “hand-drawn sketch” look hence the name but when you combine it with Kerkythea which is a fabulous and quite powerful rendering system, the results can be truly amazing. Better yet, to anyone interested, this combination of software is highly functional, easy to use, and quite a bit cheaper than the bigger name packages out there since Sketchup is only $495.00 (single license) and Kerkythea is totally free! There is a free version of Sketchup for those who want to try it out first.
If your interested, check out this thread about using Sketchup and Kerkythea for Architectural Lighting Analysis from the Kerkythea forum.
Here is a sample image from the above mentioned thread that shows what Sketchup and kerkythea can do and quickly too!
Fly over to my LED Development Blog to checkout a couple of non-architectural lighting related Sketchup and Kerkythea renderings I did.