LightTools Enewsletter

April 2021

From Optical Properties to Task Aliases: Customize LightTools for You!

Last month, we presented a LightTools Tech Talk called “Customizing LightTools: Efficient Ways to Apply Custom Model Settings” that explained how to use a script file as an alias for a longer set of commands. Since customization is on our mind, we would like to highlight a couple of ways to customize your interactions with LightTools, from simple to advanced. In this tip, you'll learn how to: 

  • Edit your LightTools environment to match your preferred settings for optical properties, materials, receivers, sources, and more.
  • Change settings and specify frequently used inputs in an efficient manner by creating alias commands of one or more tasks.

Default Settings

For a LightTools model, there are many preferences and default settings available for you to customize to your interests and workflows. 

First, under the Edit Menu > Preferences window are preferences to control settings like: 

  • New receiver and source units (i.e. radiometric vs. photometric units)

  • New source spectrums 

  • Radius mode vs. curvature mode

  • Materials of new objects 

  • Relative Ray Power Threshold

  • And more! 

These general preferences and default settings are saved with the model. If you’d like LightTools to remember the settings for new models in the future, you can save them by selecting General Preferences and choose “Save General and Defaults”. Next time you open a new model, your preferences will be remembered.

The Optical Properties Manager also has a collection of “Default Properties”. The Default Properties are used for any new object added to the model that has surface properties. For instance, if you add a block into your model, it has six refractive surfaces. When defined, these surfaces will have an optical property matching the default Refractive Surfaces optical property.

You could edit the default Refractive Surface optical property, for example, to have a Fresnel Split and enable Probabilistic Ray Split. When you make this change, the block that you add will automatically be assigned an optical property matching the settings of the Default Refractive Surface optical property.

To have a collection of Default Properties persist for new LightTools models, open the Optical Properties Manager, then right click on Default Properties. Then click Save Default Optical Properties.

Defining your own commands to quickly toggle LightTools settings or enter strings

If you have been using LightTools a while, you may notice that there are settings or controls that you toggle frequently, or a sequence of steps that you enter repeatedly. In these situations, you could consider creating a custom script file to act as an alias for a longer command or a sequence of commands. In this section, we’ll describe how you can define this alias as a LightTools script.

For example, many operations require a vertex point, followed by a z-axis direction and y-axis direction. One such operation is when you add a ray data source into your model. To define the object starting at the global origin, pointing along the global z-axis, with a y-axis aligned with the global y-axis, you would enter: 

If you find yourself entering this string repeatedly, you could create a script file called GOZY.ltc (for “global origin, ZY”) with the string of points in it. Then, whenever you enter “GOZY” into the LightTools command prompt, it will be an alias for “XYZ 0,0,0 XYZ 0,0,1 XYZ 0,1,0”. Now, when prompted, you could enter the following shorter string instead: 

There are many other scenarios where you could use these customized scripts to be a shortcut for common operations. This example, and many more, was recently discussed in the “Customizing LightTools: Efficient Ways to Apply Custom Model Settings” Tech Talk, which is available to watch on-demand in the Tech Talk section of the Customer Support Portal

Introducing Optical Scattering Measurements and Equipment

New Products and Services for Custom Scattering Measurements

Do you need custom scattering measurements for your next project? Our in-house laboratory is light- and temperature-controlled to provide an optimal measurement environment. Our optical experts provide SmartStart measurement services, and then you can import results to your material, media, and surfaces libraries to expedite future projects. Our optical experts provide the following SmartStart Measurement Services:

  • 2D and 3D BSDF (front and back) measurements
  • High-resolution BSDF
  • Spectral BSDF
  • Total Internal Reflectivity (TIR) measurements
  • Total Integrated Scatter (TIS) measurements
  • UV, Visible, and IR wavelengths (from 280 nm to 10.6 microns)


Do you prefer to conduct your own measurements? Take a look at our scattering measurement equipment. 

LightTools Training

Attend our training sessions to enhance your knowledge and understanding of the product to get the most out of your LightTools experience.


LightTools Discovery Training
May 4, 2021
9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. CEST

Advanced LightTools Training: Optimization and Tolerancing

May 11–12, 2021
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. CEST

Selected Topics in LightTools

May 17–19 and 24–26, 2021
9:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. PDT

Introduction to LightTools Training

June 14–17, 2021
9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. CEST

Upcoming Tech Talks

Join us for these upcoming LightTools Tech Talks. Attendance is free but registration is required.


Speeding Up Your Simulation in LightTools
April 22, 2021; 10:00–11:00 a.m. CEST

Using Ray Files in LightTools
May 20, 2021; 10:00–11:00 a.m. PDT
May 27, 2021; 10:00–11:00 a.m. CEST

Synopsys Scattering Measurement Solutions: From Hardware to Simulation in LightTools
June 17, 2021; 10:00–11:00 a.m. PDT
June 24, 2021; 10:00–11:00 a.m. CEST

Watch Tech Talk Recordings on The Customer Support Portal

Recordings of past CODE V, LightTools, and LucidShape Tech Talks, along with other product trainings and presentations, are available to watch on our Customer Support Portal. Watch now

Customer Support Portal

Current customers can access LightTools resources and content at any time on our  Customer Support Portal ( Access training materials, user group presentations, new user orientation, sample system and application files, FAQs, macro downloads, Tech Talk recordings, and more. 

If you haven’t already registered for access to the Customer Support Portal, consider registering for an account today! 

Once your account is activated, an e-mail will be sent to you to confirm your login information.

Student Optical Design Competition

Students are invited to enter our annual Robert S. Hilbert Memorial Optical Design Competition, which recognizes excellence in optical design projects completed by students. Awards totaling $10,000 will be granted. Enter your project today!

To enter, complete the entry form and send us your optical design class assignment or thesis work completed during the 2020-2021 academic year using any of our software tools:

  • CODE V
  • LightTools
  • LucidShape Products
  • Photonic Solutions

Entries are due June 15, 2021.

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