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May 19 2017

Want to know how to create a render like this?

The render shown below was created wholly in Lumion 7.3. This blog shows you which effects were combined to create this beautiful image. As a bonus, a couple of other renders have been included too.

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The scene was built in the same way as described in a previous blog; the broad steps being:

  1. Import the basic 3D model (for example a SketchUp or Revit model)
  2. Add objects like trees and people
  3. Add materials from the Lumion library and adjust them
  4. Add lights - spot lights, line lights and area lights
  5. A viewpoint in the Lumion project has been carefully chosen

Having built the basic scene, the key ingredients that need to be added are the effects. The effects ‘stack’ applied in Lumion’s photo mode to create this scene is listed below. The effects were applied in the list order.

  1. 2-Point Perspective: Switch it on.
  2. Sun: It’s an evening scene, so change sun height and tweak other settings.
  3. Shadow: Push up the shadow coloring and brightness sliders and put the omnishadow slider full on.
  4. Global Illumination: Reduce the sun amount and fall-off speed sliders
  5. Reflection: Switch on Speedray reflections. 9 reflection planes have also been added.
  6. Cloud: Adjust cloud sliders until position, amount and form look right
  7. Analog Color Lab: Style slider on 60% and amount slider on 25%
  8. Chromatic Aberrations: Dispersion slider 5%, Affected area slider 100%, no safe shadows.
  9. Volume Clouds: Low amount, high height, softness and brightness. Tweak position.
  10. Color Correction: Move the sliders to emphasise blue shift and reduce red shift.
  11. Noise: Adjust sliders for very low intensity, no color, 100% size.
  12. Vignette: Adjust sliders for a small amount and high softness.
  13. Lens Flare: Always a question of tweaking to get this looking right for each image. Streak details and master brightness are important.
  14. Fog: In this case the fog brightness has been increased, fog density around 40% and fall off around 25%.
  15. Sharpness: Intensity set at close to zero

The action of applying effects in Lumion is simple and tweaking them is easy too. But every image needs some attention to detail and the effects for every image will always need a little tweaking. 

Visualizing how you want to convey your design is often the hard part as it requires artistic attention to detail. Visualize in your mind’s eye the result you are working towards and then practice getting there using the Lumion effects.

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Above: A variation of the same scene. The effects are more or less the same, it’s just a different time of day!

Creating this variation was made easy by copy-pasting the effects stack from the first and tweaking the sliders to get the scene to look a bit different. This technique will save you loads of time. Here are some other images of the same model, shown from different viewpoints in the total Lumion scene, and using different effects settings.

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…. and another one!

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For more information and advice about getting better and faster results, visit the online Lumion Support Center. You can also log in using your license information and access the private forum to get discover how to get more out of Lumion.

May 10 2016

Tip: Blast off your Lumion performance

As an Architect or Designer you know that time is often critical in getting your latest design to the client. Here are a few tips to make your Lumion experience even faster.

1) How fast is your hardware?
You can benchmark your computer in Lumion to check how fast it will perform. The tutorial below shows you how to do the benchmark in Lumion.

2) What if your graphics card score is low?

If your graphics card scores in the orange or red zones, then it may not be powerful enough to get a great performance in Lumion. A high end graphics card is really important and if yours turns out to be in the orange or red zones, then we strongly recommend upgrading. The NVidia Geforce series has the highest price/performance ratio. We put together some tips regarding what Lumion requires in terms of graphics hardware, as well as tips to choose the right hardware for Lumion

If you are sure you have a fast laptop but your benchmark score turns out to be low, make sure that Lumion is using the right graphics card, as sometimes there are two available.

3) Tips to optimize rendering speed
Render times in Lumion are primarily affected by just a few factors. This link explains how to optimize speed in Lumion by using some effects and options with care.

4) Optimizing speed when building your scene
If you’re struggling to fly around Lumion in a smooth and fluid way, you can speed it up by adjusting a few settings. Go to the ‘Settings’ menu by pressing the ‘Settings’ button - shown in the picture below.

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By lowering the editor quality and/or resolution you will increase the speed of the editor, which means that you can more quickly fly around your Lumion scene. Hover the ‘help’ icon at the lower right corner to see what effects in the editor change by lowering the quality. Note that the final rendering speed of your images, movies and 360 panoramas will not be affected by these settings.

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Shortcut tip: When editing your scene, it is also possible to change the editor quality without going to the settings menu. With function key F1-F5 you can change the editor quality, where F1 is low quality with the highest speed and F5 is the highest quality with the lowest speed. 

October 13 2016

The best hardware for Lumion

More and more architects are systematically using 3D visualization as an integral part of their design workflow. Successful projects and great visualization go hand in hand. Architects and designers have turned to Lumion for their visualization solution because of its simplicity, quality and speed. In order to get the most out of this cutting edge software technology, there are some choices to make in relation to hardware. This article aims to shed light on choosing the right hardware for a great Lumion experience.

What does a great Lumion experience feel like?

As an architect you should expect your software to be fast and reliable. Loading and updating 3D models should be simple and speedy. You should be able to click your scene into shape with effortless ease and without being hindered in your thought process. As waiting time is a crucial factor in creating a smooth and efficient workflow, you will also not want to wait too long for your production to render.

This kind of software experience will not only speed up production, it will also make visualizations easy and fun to create. Choosing the right hardware is essential for creating this experience.

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Above: NVidia Titan X Graphics Card

Unleashing the power of the Graphics Card

A Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is a combination of many processors on a graphics card. These processors carry out all calculations necessary to display images on your computer screen. The development of Lumion has been enabled by the continued development over recent years of the GPU. Lumion works together with the graphics card to produce compelling scenes, which unfold in real time on your screen. This same GPU power is harnessed in producing the final rendered images, movies and panoramas, with the result that render time is very short.

Upgrade your Graphics Card

One of the most significant developments early in 2016 was the launch of the latest range of NVidia cards. Great news for Lumion users because the new cards are way faster than the best cards previously available and should have the knock-on effect of making other excellent cards available at even lower prices than before.

For example, the ‘passmark’ website shows that the standard price of a GeForce 980Ti card is now just $429. This is a card with really excellent performance, available now at a very reasonable price. Even the fastest card out there (the new Nvidia Titan X) is a relatively modest $1200. Ok it isn’t cheap but CAD-dedicated cards like the Quadro series often retail for above $4000!

The best value-for-money graphics cards can be found on the passmark website. Any card above a passmark score of 2000 can run Lumion but 8000 points or more would be best. Basically, the more points the better as this makes complicated scenes run smoother and render times come down.

The table below gives the view of the Lumion team on the best graphics cards out there at the moment for laptops and desktops, based on price/performance ratio.

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Above: Selection of the best value-for-money graphics cards

*USD price in the table above is the published passmark price, rounded off

If you want to upgrade your desktop graphics card but don’t know how, then check out this blog.

New Computer?

You can choose to upgrade your graphics card but maybe you prefer an off-the-shelf computer?

It’s important to bear in mind that a desktop will have a better performance than a laptop for any given price.

As a rule of thumb, computers designed for playing high-end games are also ideal for using Lumion. They also tend to be better value for money than high-end architectural computers, which are often not optimised for using real-time visualization programs like Lumion.

Here are some suggestions from the Lumion team based on the best price/performance ratios for some of the machines we use in the Lumion office.

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Above: Example of value-for-money computers which run Lumion very well

The prices in the table above are indicative based on the Lumion team’s experience but it’s definitely worth shopping around to see what deals you can find in your part of the world. The list is also far from comprehensive and there are many capable computers on the market with a great price/performance ratio.

If you have a bit more cash available and are looking for a custom-built ultimate computer which combines CAD capability with the ability to run Lumion, then Boxx computers has come up with some options specifically for Lumion users.

Technology has really moved on in the past year and better performance is now available at an improved price. For example, last year it simply was not possible to get a Geforce GTX 1060 card in a laptop which weighs just 1.8kg and costs less than $2500… amazing price/performance ratio, which can only be good news for Lumion users.

One final thought

Lumion is like a racing car. It’s fun, fast and powerful. But without a race-track, you can’t use it to best effect. A great graphics cards is the race-track that Lumion needs. The better the race-track, the faster Lumion can go, the more fun you have and the speedier and more seamless your workflow. Luckily, Lumion is a lot easier to drive than a racing car!

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