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June 18 2018

Drone-to-3D workflow for architectural visualizations

Architects and designers often need to know how a design will be incorporated into its real-life location, while clients and “non-architects” turn to photorealistic visuals (images, videos and more) for a deeper, more visceral understanding of the project and the architect’s intentions.

Story by Pjotr van Schothorst, Lumion (


Nesselande Project with context made from this drone-to-3D workflow.

While working in Lumion, features such as OpenStreetMap (OSM) and satellite ground planes can provide some context for your design. They are suitable options for quickly building urban or rural environments relevant to your project’s location, but they’re also limited. 

For instance, OSM only provides rough building shapes, rendered white, and the satellite maps are flat, often outdated, and the resolution is too low for client visualization.


NYC skyline with context provided by OpenStreetMap, rendered in Lumion 8.3.

This all got me thinking — there has to be a better way to improve fast context-building without having to sacrifice photorealism. I investigated several options, starting with Google Maps and Google Earth SDKs, but these services do not allow their data to be used outside the scope of Google Maps and Google Earth, such as for architectural visualization.  

One solution is to create a 3D model of the environment using a series of photographs taken by a drone. This technique is sometimes used at construction sites to monitor progress, but it is not yet widely used for architecture design and visualization.

To test its viability, we used a drone-to-3D workflow for several real-life design projects. From our experiences, we derived a workflow simple enough to be used by architects (and not only 3D specialists). Using a modern drone and the software RealityCapture, it is now possible to capture an area of 300x300m and create a textured 3D model of sufficient quality for presenting a realistic background for your Lumion visualization.

Oh, and you can do all of this in one day. 

June 5 2018

Lumion 8.5 is available now! Discover what’s new with LiveSync for ArchiCAD

Accelerated workflows. Live synchronizations. For Revit, SketchUp, and now, ArchiCAD.


With the new LiveSync for ArchiCAD, you can immediately set up a real-time visualization of your ArchiCAD model in Lumion. 

Change the model’s shape and you’ll see these changes instantly taking place in Lumion’s dynamic, true-to-life environments. Sync materials and camera views, and enjoy the convenience of an interactive ArchiCAD-Lumion workflow that lets you feel the space as you design.

May 31 2018

Explore how this 3D interior animation render was made

Making videos in Lumion can be challenging. In this post, we’ll open up the hood and see what’s beneath this 3D animation of a Scandinavian living room.

Interiors are one of the most personal forms of architecture, and for good reason too. These are the spaces where people spend most of their time, and it makes sense that the design of the interior is reflective of the character and lifestyle of the inhabitant. 

When preparing to meet with a client over a 3D interior design, architects and designers can use animations to capture the space’s personality in a very intimate, dynamic manner. 

May 15 2018

The Power of Lumion for Small Landscape Architecture and Design Firms

Owner of DuChene Design Solutions, landscape designer and entrepreneur Patrick DuChene describes how he uses Lumion’s fast 3D rendering to captivate audiences and thrill clients with compelling visualizations.

DuChene Design Solutions created this powerful, animated tour of what’s possible when rendering a small backyard space.

About a year ago, Patrick DuChene was attending the NALP National Collegiate Landscape Competition when he was asked to help prepare a 3D model and renders for a presentation.

And he had less than 12 hours to do everything.

April 24 2018

Photo-matching, drones and more!

See how Feature Graphics, an architectural visualization and schematic design firm based in Seattle, quickly photo-matches Lumion renders with scenes from around the city.


Aerial photo-match of the Center Steps Apartments. Photograph taken with a drone and matched with a Lumion render of the apartment building. Credit: Feature Graphics.

In architectural 3D rendering, context can be king.

Sure, clients want to see the building before it’s built, but some clients also want to see the building in the context of its immediate neighborhood. Others want to know what the real view from the building is like.