App Review : Lumion

App Review : Lumion

An in-depth look into this must have software.

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We are very happy to introduce a new segment to you, our readers. We are debuting a technology review section where we will be looking at technological advancements across the construction field.

For our first piece we will be reviewing one of the game changers in the architectural visualization field. Architectural Visualization is the process and methods by which any designer effectively communicates their idea to a client through images. It takes the client beyond a 2D plan or sketch and lets them actually see what the finished structure would look. Visualization gives the client a complete feel of the project. The end product is what is commonly referred to as renders.

In the 20th century this was majorly done using hand drawn perspectives or paintings. Scaled down models were done. Then came the advent of the 21st century and computers took over. Software platforms let the designer take the actual model and produce a 2D image of the structure or landscape. These softwares reduced the workload but were still tedious, painstakingly complex with their user interfaces (UI) and dialog boxes not forgetting the hundreds of boxes one had to check for just one setting. One had to get a manual or even watch YouTube tutorials to be able to use some of these platforms. Finally almost all designing firms had to outsource resources and people in case you had a client that requested a flythrough of the project. It would take close to two or three weeks to get a 2 minute video. Did I mention leaving your computers on the entire night to process a batch of less than ten images?

If you have been through any of the above then a software called Lumion will change your life. Have you had sleepless nights rendering five images? Have you had to wait more than a week to get a thirty seconds flythrough? Do you have to consult YouTube tutorials in order to know which box to check to get the proper lighting? Are you leaving your computer on throughout the night to render your images? Say goodbye to all that and say hello to Lumion.

Lumion is your one stop shop for all your visualization needs. Lumion takes the client and designer right into the project and gives a virtual feel of the project. It is a product of a Dutch company, Act-3D B.V. Lumion gives your renders a new lease of life. With Lumion the client gets your idea and message instantly.

Let’s start with why if you’re into visualization Lumion should be your best friend. YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF. Unlike all the other platforms Lumion does not require you to have any prior training or tutorials. It’s so simple. You wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to learn how to operate the software.But if you really want tutorials they are available on their website at lumion3d.com/tutorials.html

 

TIME SAVING. Say goodbye to overnight rendering. Say goodbye to week long waits for videos. Unlike all other platforms, Lumion takes an average of 16 seconds to produce a 1280×720 pixel high quality photo. To get a render of the same size from most of the other notable rendering platforms it would take you not less than 10 minutes. Doing a batch of 10 images would take you 1 hour 40 minutes. On Lumion it would take you 2 minutes 40 seconds.

HIGH QUALTY IMAGES. For this I’ll just let the images on this article do the talking.

QUICK FLYTHROUGHS. This is probably my favorite. It takes approximately three hours to produce a high quality flythrough. No more days and days of waiting. In a single day you can present a fly through to a client, get their remarks, work out the revisions, redo the flythrough and send it to the client.

SIMPLISTIC USER INTERFACE.  There are no dialog boxes, no boxes to be checked. The Lumion UI is the definition of simplicity. All it has are 5 buttons that pretty much do everything you need it to. No scary bunch of boxes to check to make settings.

THE LIGHTING. All I can I say about the lighting is once you’ve used it, you’ll never look back.

LANDSCAPING MODELLING. Another personal favorite. Have you ever needed to create a lake? River? Mountain? Range of hills? A crater in the ground? Create a rolling plain? How frustrated were you at not being able to visualize your idea and if you were finally able to do it, how painstakingly slow and annoying was it? Worry not though, Lumion is the perfect earth modelling tool for any landscape project that you might be working on.

POST PRODUCTION EFFECTS. Most designers do touch ups of their images using a second platform. With Lumion you no longer have to use another software for images effects, Lumion has its own in-app images editing abilities that save you time.

At this point you’re probably wondering, Can I model and render in Lumion all at once. Sadly enough, the answer to this is no. You can’t have your cake and it eat. The silver lining to our predicament is that Lumion works seamlessly with a host of designing softwares such as and not limited to TRIMBLE SKETCHUP, AUTODESK REVIT, GRAPHISOFT ARCHICAD, BENTELY MICROSTATION, NEMETSCHECK ALLPLAN, NEMETSCHECK VECTOR WORKS, RHINOCEROS and 3D STUDIO MAX. All these softwares have a plug-in that allows cross work between themselves and Lumion. You can move your model easily from the building platform to the rendering one. Most of the softwares actually come with an in built plug-in. Users of GRAPHISOFT ARCHICAD however have to download the plug-in from the Lumion website. So whichever software you use to model, you can use Lumion to do the renders or flythrough. Another feature that makes me enjoy using Lumion and one that should help you cross-over to Lumion is the ability to make changes in your building model and update the Lumion model without undoing anything that you might have done while on Lumion. Take for example you’re doing a children’s hospital. You can go back to your building model change a window or swing and update the Lumion model. Maybe you’d altered the wall paint for the rooms in Lumion. Once you update the Lumion model using to reflect the new window or swing, all the change in paint colors will remain as you had edited. How cool is that?

At this point you’re probably wondering if there is a downside to working with Lumion seeing as I’ve been pointing out merit after merit of Lumion. Well there are only two reasons that I’ve found that would keep anyone away from Lumion. One is the fact that you can’t actually model structures within Lumion. The best you can come to modelling structures is using the template scenes that come pre-installed. The second reason you will probably keep off Lumion is the machine specifications required to run Lumion. If you have a graphics card is smaller than 2GB please avoid Lumion, you’ll end up with ‘The Blue screen of death’ immediately you try to run it. The basic specifications for running Lumion are:

  • A graphics card with a minimum 2000 pass mark with minimum 2GB memory. You can rate your graphics card at lumion3d.com.
  • A screen resolution of minimum 1600×1080 pixels.
  • A system memory of 8GB with as high a MHz value as possible.
  • 20GB of Hard disk space.

The 2GB graphics card will only allow you to produce very simple images. For higher resolution images you need an 8000 pass mark card. You can benchmark your graphics card HERE or HERE.

More information on this product can be found at lumion3d.com

All that being said i give this software 8 out of 10. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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