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Monday, May 8, 2017

From Revit to Lumion - The Ultimate Review (Revisited)

Example of a House and Site  Modeled in Revit and Rendered in Lumion

This is one of those posts that has been in my "draft" queue for quite some time now.  Finally, it is complete!  

There have been two new releases and lots of great updates to Lumion since my last post in 2015.  The review I posted in 2015 is still relevant in describing the great benefits of using Lumion (so be sure to check it out). But now, let's talk about what has happened to Lumion over the last 2 years...

Example of Revit, Lumion, and Photoshop

I wrote my previous review about Lumion Pro 5.3 ... Now, I am using Lumion Pro 7.3...  And my word, there have been some great improvements. I thought the most valuable way to tell you all about it is to cherry-pick my favorite new features and improvements.  For the entire list of new features, click here...

Another Example of a Revit Model rendered in Lumion

My Favorite Improvements and New Features


With each new release of Lumion (6 and 7), Act 3D has been adding some fantastic features to the material editor.  


The addition of PureGlass in Lumion 6 (and improvements to it in Lumion 7) make "photo-realistic" glass as easy as moving a slider or two.  Remember my post about tweaking Revit glass to make it a bit more "realistic"?   Well, PureGlass in Lumion 6 and 7 allows you to do exactly what I am explaining in that post (from 4 years ago)...  

Adding some "relief" can have a dramatic effect on your renderings:

Comparing the original glass material with "pureGlass" in Lumion 7...

Here is a good video explaining how to use PureGlass...


Similar to PureGlass, the addition of "weathering" effects to your materials (with the touch of a slider) adds a ton of realism and interest without a ton of work.  To me, that's what Lumion is all about...  Getting the best possible images and videos with the least amount of "extra" work.

An example of the "weathering" feature (on the wood and concrete materials):

Adding a hint of "weathering" can help materials pop and add realism.

Click here to view a tutorial about how to use the weathering effects...

OpenStreetMap (Beta):

Although this is still in beta, I am using it all the time.  OpenStreetMap allows users to locate their buildings on a map, then import that map data, and Lumion will extrude masses that represent the surrounding city (along with roads and major landscape elements).  When used properly, this has saved me countless hours of modeling masses for site context.

Here is an example of an image I made using "OpenStreetMap" for the background buildings:

Note the white buildings in the foreground and background.  Those were all created in one-click using Lumion's "OpenStreetMap" (Beta).

Lighting Updates:

Since my post in 2015, I have used Lumion as my number one rendering tool (with the exception of Enscape ;) ).  If I am being honest, the one area I always had trouble getting the "real" feeling I wanted out of Lumion was with interior renderings. 

Act 3D has made great strides to improving this.  In Lumion 6 and 7, they added a bunch of great new "lighting" tools.  This includes enhanced area lights (to light an entire space evenly), and "light strips".  For those who are familiar with adding "V-Ray lights" within V-Ray, strip lights are no different.  Simply add the light objects where needed and adjust their brightness, hue, etc...  The results have been impressive:

Revit to Lumion Interior Lighting Example
Revit to Lumion Interior....

Revit to Lumion Interior Lighting Example


LiveSync is extremely new.  Similar to Autodesk LIVE or Enscape, it allows your Lumion models to real-time sync with your Revit model (and changes happen real-time).

I have not used it as much as I thought I would.  At this point, I think I am doing much less model modification by the time I get my Revit models into Lumion.  If I do modify the models, its a simple export and refresh in Lumion.

Either way, I have tested the LiveSync feature and it works extremely well... 

Other Cool New Features:

There are also a bunch of neat new features that help with sharing your Lumion files and presenting them.  For example, the "My Lumion" cloud features.  For more information on MyLumion, click here...


Wishlist Items:

In addition to telling you about my favorite new features I thought I would revisit my "What Could be Changed" list from 2015.  In 2015, I listed 3 "cons".  The first was "Rendering Image Options".  This actually was changed a bit over the years.  Although you are still limited to bitmap files at larger image sizes, you can export to Jpeg at "Poster" size... Which is nice.

Other than that, my first "Wishlist" item has not changed since 2015...

More than 20 layers... Please!

Yup, you are still limited to 20 visibility layers.  Please, creators of Lumion, if you are reading this, please update the "layers" structure and add more than 20!!!!

Batch Exporting Views:

With the launch of "LiveSync", Act 3D released a new "Lumion Exporter" plugin for Revit. The exporter has always worked great for me without any issues.  That being said, I would love to have the option of batch exporting Revit views.  We find ourselves creating multiple 3D views for different things that need to be exported to Lumion.  

For example, the site, foundations, structure, and final building may want to be brought into Lumion as individual models.  Therefore, we set up 3D views with visibility settings for each.  Right now, we have to open each view and export them one at a time.  A simple batch exporter would be HUGE.

Copy in Place:

This wishlist item may not even be necessary if the maximum layer threshold was increased beyond 20.  Essentially, when you copy an object (or series of objects) you have to use the move tool and hold "alt" to make a copy.  Therefore, it is almost impossible to copy and paste objects in the exact same location.

VR Support:

Lumion is a real-time rendering and visualization tool.  To me, it is a "no brainer" to have even the "build mode" be view-able through VR goggles.  Unfortunately, at this moment in time there is very limited Oculus Rift or HTC Vive support with Lumion.