Visualize at the Speed of Mind - A Lumion Review

Originally published at:

This one was a long time coming. After giving the new Lumion version a good go and now that I completed teaching my first class about it I found time to write this review which will shed light on the good, bad and all else related to Lumion 8.


When you land on the Lumion homepage the first line you’ll read is “Beautiful Renders Within Reach.” I think this line is spot on, but the second line promising to do so without ANY prior training might be a little bit of a stretch. All architects and interior designers get some relevant training these days anyway, and some basic general visualization principals make a big difference in the result you can expect.

The first image you’ll see is that of the Mies Van Der Rohe’s iconic Farnsworth House which connects very nicely later on.

Lumion Homepage

Lumion Homepage promising “Beautiful Renders Within Reach”.

I’ll use a SketchUp analogy that most architects and interior designers will connect to right away.

Lumion is to Rendering like SketchUp is to Architectural Design & Modeling.

I base this on my own experience, but I’m sure the SketchUp part hits a chord for many of you as well. SketchUp allowed me to design architecture at the speed of thought for the first time in 3d space like I used to with pen and paper.

I was thinking it and doing it at the same time.

With the introduction of Lumion 8, photorealism became something you can aim for too. I first explored this by revisiting the MMF House with Lumion 8.3 aiming at crafting both stills and short animation for a project previously rendered with Corona Renderer (I’ve also started that one with the Farnsworth House scene).

MMF House with Lumion - Pool View

I could even go as far as saying it is “push of a button” easy to create realistic renderings due to the new styles features introduced with Lumion 8, but you do need to dive in deeper to be able to do this consistently.

The Review

I’m not aiming to cover all that Lumion 8 has to offer. I’m doing so from my own vantage point, focusing on the pros and cons form a 3d artist’s perspective. And while I’m not looking at this as an architect or an interior designer, there is a lot for you to learn from this as well. Lumion was designed for you after all.

I’ll address the various aspects of Lumion based on projects like the MMF House, CABINS Challenge Concept, KH Pool House and the KK House which I developed for a Lumion course I’m teaching.

Topics Covered in this Review

Covered in this review :

  • What is Lumion and how the GPU is connected.
  • Lumion Licensing.
  • Lumion Interface.
  • Lumion Sunlight & Weather System.
  • Lumion Terrain System.
  • Lumion Materials.
  • Lumion Artifical Lighting.

To be covered later on :

  • Lumion Materials.
  • Lumion Artifical Lighting.
  • Lumion’s Approach to Stills & Animation Production.
  • Lumion and VR.
  • Conclusions and how is Lumion vs other solutions such as :
    • Twinmotion.
    • Unreal Engine.
    • Unity.
    • Blender + EEVEE.
  • Answering Questions from Talk.

Read the full article on the blog...

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Hi all!

I’ve decided to update the original article and added two new sections today :

  • Lumion Materials
  • Lumion Artificial Lighting

I aim to add all else for a Monday update!

Cheers :wink:


Hey, Ronen.

Very good review, I love your content.

My question is, can you also talk about time in photo realistic still rendering. For example could be a comparison of the same scene with V-Ray, Corona Renderer or FStormRender perhaps. Or Maxwell Render and Octane.

I know it is not so fair but maybe we have a proximity idea.

And also know how far is Lumion from the competition.

Hi Ronen! Great review of Lumion engine.
I guess my question would be more for a how-to part than a review, but I`d like to see more about working with greenery, comparing to usual 3dsmax\forestpack\scatter workflow.

Indeed… this is more of a how-to or making-of style article which I already have in the works and will share info in the The KK House - Diving into Lumion Talk thread.

It will be a not so fair comparison. V-Ray vs Corona makes more sense, but in any case, I’ve already did this kind of thing by revisiting the MMF House project we did at The Craft with Corona Renderer. I remade it (kind of) with Lumion. You can read about it here…

Comparing production times will not be fair too since the original work with Corona was with a client in the loop and took weeks. The Lumion remake took two work days tops and no client in the loop :slight_smile:

I hope this helps.

Noticed in a viewport screen capture or actual render? There is some LOD going on based on distance, but I did not notice that yet in renders :wink:

I’ll keep a closer eye on this though as I keep testing… I don’t know of a setting that will control this.

Can you share some screen shots here?

Anyone here uses Blender with EEVEE or Enscape? if so - let’s talk :slight_smile:

I understand the problem now… I’ll try to replicate it.

Hi Ronen, thanks for the Lumion review. I have been using it and love it. I have a question regarding loading times after getting out of material editing mode. After I add some materials and press that check button lumion takes a good while making changes and then I can keep working again. After sometime working on lumion those multiple loading times get in the way a bit. Do you have the same situation there on your tests?

My machine is a good one, the only drawback is my video card which is a GTX 750ti with only 2GB of ram (I’ll upgrade soon).


The most I wait is a few seconds… I think it could be your GPU card that is the main reason. 2GB RAM becomes a bottle neck fast.

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Awesome review, it seems that Lumion has grown a lot and its render quality is getting level with its resources pallete, one of his strongest points in my opinion. I´m testing Eevee here now and then, mainly using Cycles at the moment. It would be great if Blender would have the foliage rendering capabilities that Lumion or Unreal Engine have and it seems like it´ll be not the case with Eevee as things are going for now. As usual I guess, each one having pros and cons.

Taking KK House into UE4 to learn the ropes… allowing me to better compare it with Lumion.


Using the Datasmith exporter for SketchUp sure helps, but the process takes a long time which makes design revisions seem like a tedious thing. Once in UE4, nothing is straightforward for me “out of the box” so the learning curve is steeper and I need to figure out how steep after a watch some videos about this :wink:

SAVING the UE4 scene TAKES FOREVER!!! Why is that?

I’ll keep you posted.

With Lumion 9 out now! I started to test some new features like 3d Fur and 3d Grass… Stay tuned for more as a plan to update the review or add an article just about the new stuff.