Bringing 3D Visualizations to Life in Lumion

There is life within every design. In the way that the leaves of a tree move with the wind, the energy of a busy public building with its never-ending flow of interesting and unique people, or the feeling of a cozy evening indoors while heavy rain batters the windows. 

Lumion places architectural design into a nuanced context of living, from vegetation to texture, and from lighting to people. It can take a technical-looking design and transport it into a moment in time with flaws, chaos, and unpredictability. A reality that is vivid, energetic, and full of emotion. 

Capturing life in architectural renders 

Spaces, much like people, are vivacious. The feeling of lived-in space can take a boring image, and transform it into a compelling rendering.

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Courtesy of Lumion

Fortunately, there isn’t only one way to go about showing life in renderings. By including finely-detailed nature objects (beautifully textured trees, plants, shrubs, and more), animated characters, and birds in the sky, designers can start to show how the world of the living will encounter and interact with their design ideas. When it comes to working with clients, designers can begin to reveal aspects of their personalities and lifestyles. This might include an expensive vehicle in the driveway, immaculate landscaping, a luxury swimming pool overlooking the ocean, artwork on the walls, or designer furniture, to name a few.

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Courtesy of Lumion

There are endless ways to capture life in a rendering, whether they are static images, animations, or 360 panoramas. With the many intuitive tools, features, and effects available in Lumion 11.3, the unique definition of life and what it means to each design can be expressed quickly and easily.

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Winter cabin, designed by Vårdal Arkitekter AS and rendered in Lumion 11 by Bartosz Orliński.

How to breathe life into rendering 

Lumion guides the designer through the process of expressing a detailed vision of their design in its future (or imagined) location. There are four primary ways to breathe life in renderings with Lumion:

1. Vegetation

Vegetation is one of the fastest and most effective ways to infuse life into a design. Start with the vast, biodiverse collection in Lumion’s built-in library of high-quality nature and finely-detailed nature objects. Within this category, designers can choose from conifers and palms to grasses, flowers, and more.

To select a specific tree or plant, simply using the search tool to type in the common name of the tree or plant - such as Mediterranean Pine or Kingsville Boxwood - will locate almost any imaginable species. This can be especially helpful in rendering the vegetation to reflect a real-life location. With tools such as Mass Placement, Cluster Placement, and Paint Placement, it’s easy to achieve an incredibly lifelike representation of a biodiverse landscape. 

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Houses in the hills, model provided by Beehive & King Crab.

It is important to use the fine-detail nature objects where they’ll have the most impact, such as near the camera where the texture of the bark or the leaf venation can be seen clearly. 

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Courtesy of Lumion

2. Materials and texture

Texture has the unique ability to transform a 3D rendering from a digital representation into a concrete impression. With the help of displacement mapping and Lumion’s built-in library of over 1,250 customizable materials, designers can present a beautiful representation of a building's materials. This level of detail can help the viewer vividly imagine the coarseness of the plaster walls, the clap of heels on tile floors, or the feeling of blades of grass tickling their bare feet.

Lumion has 229 built-in displacement maps, indicated by a “D” within the thumbnail of the material. These materials can be toggled simply by using the displacement slider. Designers can also import their own displacement maps for any material choice, whether a Lumion material or an imported one.

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Chair on wooden floor, rendered in Lumion 11 by 3D Fernandes.

3. Setting and atmosphere

Architecture often has the power to elicit an emotional reaction. For this reason, it might be easy to recall the weather on a day spent visiting a significant building. Perhaps it had just finished raining on a night at the Eiffel Tower, with a distinct feeling of romance in the air, or maybe the sunset on a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin was unexpectedly radiant.

Atmosphere is the easiest way to connect with viewers in a very powerful, and meaningful way. With the wide range of effects in Lumion’s Photo and Movie Modes, there is an extensive library of intuitive tools perfect for creating a strong atmosphere.

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Parisian street, rendered in Lumion 11 by 3D Fernandes.

By using one of the Styles, or any combination of Real Skies, Sky Light, Hyperlight, Color Correction, and Exposure, designers can give their rendering project the basic foundation of a beautiful render. With this foundation in place, atmospheric tools such as Precipitation - which guides you as you create a richly detailed rain or snowstorm - can take things a step further. The precipitation phase can determine whether the storm is arriving or leaving. For the final touches, designers can add a little Fog in the distance to heighten the moody feeling, and turn up the rain streaks sliders to capture the soothing feeling of raindrops racing down the glass.

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Backyard design, rendered in Lumion by Stephan Pavlov.

4. Lighting

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House in the woods (evening light), model provided by Diego Tapia.

In design, lighting is fundamental. The dancing interplay of shadows and light elicits particular feelings about a space. 

With a simplicity that is as natural as sketching on a piece of paper, Lumion 11.3 guides designers to express mood, life, and uniqueness in the spaces they design. Diffuse light throughout the bedroom of an interior project, casting vivid shadows of the furniture on the walls and ceiling. Expose the beauty, atmosphere, or chaotic nuances of how real-life would unfold in the home.

Bring your designs to life with Lumion 11.3

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Courtesy of Lumion

From the photorealistic to the more artistic, a vivid rendering is the most powerful way to immediately connect with viewers. It provides a familiar platform for designers, design teams, and clients to visualize a design and the relationship it has with its surroundings. Lumion breathes life into rendering, from the process to the results, by making the entire process simple, direct, and relevant to the architectural craft. Try Lumion with your next rendering project, by downloading the free, 14-day trial version.

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Cite: "Bringing 3D Visualizations to Life in Lumion" 07 Apr 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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