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How to make realistic renders using Lumion

You’ve finished your 3D model and imported it into Lumion. Now, it’s time to make it look great. With all of Lumion’s functionality just inviting you to transform your 3D model into a beautiful render, it can be difficult to know where to start. This blog gives you step-by-step hints of what you can do.

Find the best point (or points) of view in your scene

  • Use at least one composition rule when framing and finding a camera angle for your image renders. Just a few of these rules include ‘simplify the scene,’ ‘use leading lines,’ ‘be creative with colors,’ and so on.

  • When making an animation, set the camera height to the human eye level. The camera angle shouldn’t be too wide so as to avoid perspective distortion.

Set up the scene’s lighting

  • Find the best position for the sun so that it draws attention to the parts of the building that you want to highlight. You can use the “Sun Study” effect to accurately simulate the sun location at a particular location, time and date. Other effects such as the “Sun” effect and the “Real Skies” can help you control the environmental lighting in your design.

  • Add interior and mood lighting. Even if the scene you want to show takes place during the daytime, interior and mood lighting can subtly communicate that the building is being used. You can also use volumetric lighting for an extra atmospheric feeling.

Make materials look beautiful with texture and age

  • When rendering, enable “Speedray reflections” and put reflection planes on big, flat surfaces.

  • Tweak the glossiness slider of the floor and ceiling materials. In many cases, making your materials a little more reflective will work better than static, non-reflective surfaces.

  • Sometimes it is better to replace diffuse textures with plain colors (using the top slider in the material editor) and use bumps but without maximal intensity.

  • Consider showing a little age and weathering with the “Weathering” slider, located in Lumion’s material editor.

Adding effects

  • Use the “Color Correction” effect (especially the first slider — Temperature) as it adjusts the color tone of the image and adds dark shadows where necessary.

  • Add a little bit of “Chromatic Aberration” and a very tiny value of the “Fish Eye” effect for a small, optical imperfection.

  • Add “Sky Light” and “Hyperlight” for still images and videos. For the most impact with Sky Light, turn the Sky Light render quality to ultra (which also means “ultra-slow render speeds”).

  • Use the “Sharpness” effect and set the slider to a low value to make the picture look a bit more ‘flat,’ as if were printed on a piece of paper.

  • “Depth-of-Field” (DOF) is really useful for narrow camera angles. Generally, you shouldn’t use this effect if you have wide camera angles.

  • Always add reflections to water and glass planes.

Extra details – every single shot needs them!

  • Furniture is very important for interiors and exteriors. Select and add furniture models from the Lumion object library and fill out some empty spaces. The idea is to make the spaces look “lived-in,” where you show how people might use a building, home, public space, etc.