If you are creating architectural visualizations through Lumion, the following tutorial can be of great use to you. These tutorials will maximize your output and teach you easy-to-master practical and technical tips.
To discover all that Lumion 11 has to offer, and learn a few tips and tricks along the way, check out the Lumion 11 tutorial with Mike Brightman. You'll get a great overview of what Lumion is all about, perfect if you are new to the experience.
12 Preface Getting Started with Lumion 3D shows you how to start working with Lumion tools to create professional architectural visuals in a friendly and intuitive way. The book guides you through all the initial steps and contains a Quick start tutorial, so you will be able to start using Lumion and render a scene immediately. The rest of the book builds on this knowledge by introducing you to additional tools and using step-by-step explanations to help you to not only start working with Lumion, but also take the first steps in architectural visualization. You will learn how to work with Lumion materials and models, how to compose your scene, and export an image or a video. What this book covers Chapter 1, What is Lumion?, will give a general overview of Lumion, where you will learn why to use Lumion and what final quality we can get with this application. Then, you will start using Lumion with the help of a Quick start tutorial, where you will learn the basics to start creating beautiful architectural visualizations. Chapter 2, Preparing the Scene, will help identify and correct some common mistakes, so you can prevent problems with Lumion. You will learn how to clean and use CAD drawings to start modeling, how to improve realism, and where you can find neat models to use in your scene. Chapter 3, Creating Materials, will help you to learn how to use and tweak more than 500 ready-to-use materials that Lumion has. Finally, you will learn where you can find textures and how to prepare them to be used along with Lumion materials. Chapter 4, Working with Lumion, will answer many of your questions; this is when the fun starts. Your 3D model should be ready to export. How can you do that? Do you need a special plugin? How do you import a model in Lumion? All these questions and more will be answered in this chapter. After importing the model, you start by organizing your scene in Lumion using layers and additional menus.
22 Chapter 1 Lumion's 3D interface Now that we know what we can do with Lumion and the content available, we will take some time to explore Lumion and get our hands dirty. In my opinion and experience, it is much easier to learn something if at the same time we apply what we are learning. So, in the next section we are going to explore the Lumion interface with the menus and different settings. But to do that we will use a small tutorial as a quick start. By doing this, we will explore Lumion and at the same time see how easy it is to produce great results. After this chapter, we'll be able to go on and refine our skills and techniques in the subsequent chapters. We will see that Lumion is easier to learn and more accessible than other software. So go ahead and fire up Lumion and let's have a quick tour before we start working with it. I am going to explain to you what each tab does, to help you see how you can do simple tasks, such as saving and loading a scene, changing the settings, and creating a new scene. Let's start with the first tab that Lumion shows us. A look into the New tab On startup, Lumion goes straight to the New tab. The New tab, as the name indicates, is a good place to start when you want to create a new scene. We can create a new scene based on a few presets or just create an empty scene. We can choose from Night, Sunset, Sunny Day, Flatlands, Island, Lake, Desert, Cold Climate, and an Empty scene. I found these presets as a quick help to cut some time, because in the end everything we get from these presets, we can create in a few minutes. So, there is nothing special about them. When you start Lumion, this will be the first thing you will see: The nine presets you can find on the New tab [ 11 ]
25 What is Lumion? The Import full scene and Export full scene tabs The last two tabs, Import full scene and Export full scene, are pretty self explanatory. They are nothing fancy, but they are really handy. We can export our scenes as a Lumion scene file as.ls3, and later import them again to our library. This is an easy way to export a scene and then work in another workstation with Lumion. Or if we finished a project and we want to save all the files in a DVD, we can export, burn on a DVD, and import them later if needed. Quick start Learning these important aspects is interesting, but reading 100 pages with just "this button does this or that" is boring to death. When I started to learn Maya, I was eager to create something and give wings to my creativity. I am sure that the same thing is happening to you. That's why I choose to explain the Lumion interface and all the commands and buttons to you by using an example, and at the same time allowed you the freedom to apply this knowledge in a model that you want to try. So, now that we already know how to start Lumion, where we can load and save a scene, and change the settings, it is time for action. So, we are going to follow a small tutorial to understand how you can start using Lumion. Then, after we know where everything is (or at least almost everything), the next chapters will help us refine some techniques and key aspects to create a perfect image or video. [ 14 ]
54 Chapter 2 The Chamfer menu If you are looking for help in modeling using 3ds Max or Maya, have a look at the videos available at org/tutorials/show/7979/tipoftheweek-3d-buildingmodeling-part-1. There are also a few scripts that can help while modeling for architectural visualization. The following is a list of useful plugins for SketchUp: JointPushPull: This helps to perform a push or pull operation on a curved surface RoundCorners: This is used to bevel edges SubdivideAndSmooth: This helps in the subdivision of the surface for modeling SketchyFFD: This is a freeform deformation matrix for your model that makes it malleable FreeScale: This is an improvement of SketchUp's native Scale function OSCoolean: This helps to create Booleans Shapes: This is a useful tool for creating complex geometrical shapes Weld: This helps find gaps in a line that are not visible and automatically welds the broken points [ 43 ]
70 Chapter 3 Do you want to create your own seamless textures? Have a look at the tutorials that you can find on CGTextures.com. A few that I recommend are as follows: Photoshop Match Color Photoshop tricks and tips Tiling complex patterns Recoloring wood textures After creating a seamless or tiled texture, we can create an alpha channel to add more detail. This alpha channel is used as a reflection mask in Lumion, blocking areas where we don't want the light to reflect, as you can see in the following screenshot: Can you see the lines in the texture? [ 59 ]
75 Working with Lumion What is COLLADA? COLLADA is an XML namespace and database schema used to create a bridge between the different 3D tools, making an easy sharing of 3D geometry, shaders, and effects possible. In plain English, it allows you to move 3D files between SketchUp, 3ds Max, Maya, Revit, and Lumion. However, nothing stops you from using other file formats such as the following: Autodesk RealDWG - *.dxf Autodesk RealDWG - *.dwg FBX file - *.fbx Max file - *.max 3ds file - *.3ds Obj file -.obj The reason behind using COLLADA is that it is a better option compared to the file formats we previously mentioned. As I said, there is nothing that's going to stop you from using those file formats, but they are less reliable and do not always include all the data we want. To get the best results with a low possibility of error, COLLADA is the right choice. COLLADA is not available in all the applications, and in some cases, such as when we are using an older version of 3ds Max or Maya, we need to install a COLLADA plugin called OpenCOLLADA. Download OpenCOLLADA at com/p/opencollada/downloads/list. The Lumion team has done a good job of creating a COLLADA plugin called COLLADA exporter for Revit. The downside of this plugin is that it doesn't work with the Revit LT version, and the only versions available are Revit 2012 and Download COLLADA exporter at com/lumion-exporter-for-autodesk-revit. There are some workarounds when using other applications such as ArchiCAD. According to the Lumion team, if you are using this software, the best solution is to export your model as a SketchUp file. SketchUp will be used as an intermediary between ArchiCAD and Lumion. [ 64 ]
118 Chapter 7 The sky alpha map What we did with the material ID, we can do with the sky alpha map. If you want to change the sky, you can get one from CGTextures, drag the image to the PSD file, and using the color range, select the white area and create a mask as we did before. To get some skies, use the link, to go to the CGTextures website and then select Skies Partial. The importance of adjustment layers After using the blend modes, we can duplicate the group and merge everything in one layer and call it Passes. Then, we create another group called CC or Color Correction. In this group, we start using adjustment layers. To use them, go to the Layer menu, select New Adjustment Layer to start adding some adjustments such as Curves, Hue/Saturation, and Color Balance. There are two big reasons to use adjustment layers. Firstly, the way adjustment layers work is that you make the changes on a transparent layer without actually touching anything; so, they are non-destructive. Secondly, we can even go back and edit these adjustment layers; we can also stack these layers and they accumulate and finally we can use layer masks to isolate the adjustment in a particular area. Color correction is a complex subject and we can hardly explain how to do it in-depth, mostly because every image is different, and what we use in one image doesn't necessarily suit another. I recommend that you read some Making of article, where you can see how other artists color corrected their images. You can find some really good articles by visiting the following links: tutorials/making-of/ making-of [ 107 ] 2b1af7f3a8