07 – Lumion: It’s Kind of Awesome

CAD users have come a long way in modeling and rendering in 3D from the wire frame models of decades past to real-time rendering in video game engine type software. Sure, Lumion was created with architects in mind, but that doesn’t stop civil engineers and designers from using it for incredible 3D visualizations.

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Lumion: It’s Kind of Awesome

What it is?

  • Architectural rendering software by Act 3D
  • Essentially a game engine to do real time and photo-realistic rendering
  • Includes basic animation abilities including several that are automatic
  • Contains a large library of 3d objects including trees, vehicles and city furniture
  • Huge texture library will makes it easy to make any object look nice very quickly
  • Terrain, grass and water tools give a high level of realism 

Why should I care?

  • Lumion allows you to import Sketchup, FBX and other model types into the virtual world
  • With the help of Sketchup, 3ds Max or even InfraWorks you can get civil engineering design from AutoCAD or Microstation into  a realistic world
  • Real time navigation and full rendering tools make clients happy
  • The results, if done right, will put your visualizations on another level
  • Easy enough to learn without tutorials 

What else should I know?

  • Lumion isn’t a modeling application but rather a virtual world to assemble models created with other software programs
  • The full version costs around $4k with an intermediate version around $2.5k. A free version is available for personal use and if you don’t mind watermarks
  • It was designed for architects but has huge potential for civil projects if you are willing to try new things

Download the free trial version of Lumion here

Here is a cool YouTube video showing how quickly you can visualize in Lumion:

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