Hey Ronen, you’re quite right about the closed garden, and I’d say it is also a dead end because you can’t export the model once it’s inside Lumion.
As part of my role I have to constantly test new technology to be implemented inside my office so I’ve used Unity, CryEngine, UE4 and Lumion. I’m pretty vocal regarding the pros and cos of each software and I agree Lumion has been improving a lot, they’ve been adding more realism to their engine…to the point that it’s almost a full circle with offline renderers. For instance, when you apply all of the filters, effects, resolution (1920x1080) and anti-alias the time per frame drops dramatically. I’ve had frames as long as 1 minute and 30 seconds, which is quite funny because my Vray settings for animations vary from 45-120 seconds. Let’s be realistic, yeah Lumion nowadays looks ok but it won’t look better than Vra/Corona, so what’s the point of using it? The skill level, you see, visualisers require technical and artistic skills, and not everyone can create imagery as we do, so it’s very common for architects to try to visualise it themselves but everytime that had happened I’d had to re-render from scratch using either Vray/Corona or UE4.
And when I suggest “hey why don’t you learn UE4? I can teach you” the reply is always the same “UE4 it’s too hard” That infuriates me so much because my company is paying thousands and thousands of dollars just because people refuse to learn something new? Let me remind you guys that UE4 is completely free for our industry since all we produce are images and videos.
There are tons of free resources to get you started and if you really require it there’s Datasmith which allows you to have live link and other useful features.