These Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts apply to the latest version of Lumion (4.0.3).
Please note that scenes and LS4 files saved in 4.0 are NOT backwards compatible with earlier versions.
If you try to load scenes or LS3 files made with an earlier version of Lumion, models may be be missing in Lumion 4.0, i.e. replaced by red questionmarks.NAVIGATION(W) / (Up arrow):
Move camera forward(S) / (Down arrow):
Move camera backward(A) / (Left arrow):
Move camera left(D) / (Right arrow):
Move camera right(Q):
Move camera up(E):
Move camera down(Spacebar) + (W/S/A/D/Q/E):
Very slow camera(Shift) + (W/S/A/D/Q/E):
Fast camera(Shift) + (Spacebar) + (W/S/A/D/Q/E):
Very fast cameraRight mouse button + Move mouse:
Look aroundMiddle mouse button + Move mouse:
Move camera forward(CTRL) + (H):
Reset camera pitch to horizontal viewpoint (O) + Right mouse button:
Orbit camera.Double-click with right mouse button on models:
Instant 'teleport' to the position that was clicked on.MISCELLANEOUS(F1):
Editor quality: 1 Star(F2):
Editor quality: 2 Star(F3):
Editor quality: 3 Star(F4):
Editor quality: 4 Star(F5):
Quick save (Saves a file called QuickSave
View the Lumion terrain at the maximum level of detail.(F9):
If you press F9, all trees and plants in the viewport will be rendered at their best level of detail, so that it's easier to see where you need to add more trees and plants in a scene.Home -> (CTRL) + (F11):
Fullscreen.Home -> (F11):
Maximize window with/without taskbar (press twice to toggle).Sliders:
You can double-click on all sliders in Lumion to manually type in values. Press Shift
while adjusting slider values to fine-tune them (more digits after the decimal point will be displayed).SAVE & LOAD CAMERA VIEWPOINTS(CTRL) + (1) (2) … (9) (0):
Use this function to save up to 10 camera positions.(SHIFT) + (1) (2) … (9) (0):
Load previously saved camera viewpoints. The saved slots are also available as easily accessible thumbnail images in Photo
Lumion always renders movies and image sequences in the background, so that you can check your emails etc while it is rendering.IMPORTANT:
For the background rendering process to work when you render videos or image sequences, you should not switch to another program until the first image is done rendering. Avoid moving/re-sizing/minimizing the Lumion window while it is rendering, and do not click on the Show Desktop
button in the lower right corner of Windows
. This will reset the exposure in Lumion which means that the video has to be rendered from scratch again.IMPORTING & UPDATING MODELSEdit Materials -> (CTRL) + Reload Model and re-apply materials (new file) button:
If the name or location of an exported object file (DAE, FBX etc) has changed, this button allows you to manually select the location/name of the file:Edit Materials -> (ALT) + Reload Model button:
If you import a model that uses over 100mb of texture memory, Lumion will cap the maximum texture resolution at 2048x2048 pixels. However, you can bypass this limit by pressing ALT while you click on the Reload model button. If you apply a Standard
material to your imported model, any texture you load will be loaded at whatever resolution your graphics card is capable of displaying (up to a maximum of 16384x16384 pixels).Import model -> Animation on/off button:
This function lets you import move/rotate/scale animations via FBX/DAE, for example from 3D Studio Max (FBX is the recommended format for animated models).Imported material scale:
If you apply a Standard
material to an object, a Scale
slider value of 0 means that the imported texture coordinates are used. If you set the Scale
slider to 1.0 in Lumion, and the surface is aligned with the world axes, each texture "tile" will cover an area of 1x1m in Lumion. Rectangular textures will be re-scaled so that they are square in Lumion.Load/Save material set function:
You can now save materials in a scene to a file, and automatically apply those materials to another imported model provided that they use the same material names in your 3D modelling application (Edit materials -> Load/Save material set
buttons):SELECTING, COPYING, MOVING AND ALIGNING OBJECTS(CTRL) + Drag with Left mouse button:
Rectangular selection tool for selecting multiple objects.(CTRL) + (SHIFT) + Drag with Left mouse button:
Add new rectangular selection to existing selection.(ALT) + Move selected object(s):
Copy-paste selected object(s) by pressing ALT while dragging one of the selected objects.Place object mode -> (CTRL) + Left-click:
Randomly place 10 copies of the currently active object library model.Place object mode -> (Z) + Left-click:
Place a new object with +/-0 to 50% random scale.Place object mode -> (CTRL) + (Z) + Left-click:
Combined operation of above mentioned Place Object Modes. Randomly place 10 copies of the currently active object library model with +/-0 to 50% random scale.(F12): Drag Model
mode lets you move objects by clicking directly on them and dragging the mouse to move them. In addition, (H)
lets you move objects up and down while (R)
allows you to rotate them.(G):
This function will make objects that you are moving or placing in your scene snap to the Lumion terrain while ignoring all other object types.(F):
The orientation of all objects (apart from Trees/plants) can be made to adapt to the surface angles of other objects. Move object
button -> Press (F) for "Flatten" -> Move the object(s) to make them adapt to the surface angles of other objects. This function only works on surfaces that are facing the sky, i.e. less than 90 degree angles.(SHIFT) + Move selected object(s)
: Press shift while dragging selected objects to move them horizontally with snapping turned off.(SHIFT) + Rotate/Rotate Pitch/Rotate Bank selected object(s)
: Press shift while rotating objects to temporarily turn the 45 degree angle snapping off.(K) + Rotate/Rotate Pitch/Rotate Bank selected object(s)
: Press (K) while rotating objects to make all of the objects face the mouse cursor.(CTRL) + "Same height" command:
The selected objects will be placed at the same height as the object you clicked on. (CTRL)-select objects -> Context menu
-> Click on the icon of the object that has the height you want the other objects to inherit -> Transformation
-> Same height
.(CTRL) + "Space" command:
The selected objects will be placed in a straight line as defined by the object that you clicked on to execute the command and the object that is furthest away from that object. (CTRL)-select objects -> Context menu -> Click on the selection icon of one of the selected objects -> Transformation -> Space)"Align" command:
This command lets you centre selected objects so that their pivot points are at the same position (CTRL-select objects -> Context menu
). If you need to move or manipulate one of the overlapping objects, place the mouse cursor over the small overlapping object selection icons and use the Arrow Up/Down (W/S) keys to toggle between the objects.(L):
To preview shadows from spotlights in Build
Select the spotlights in Build
mode to temporarilly turn on real-time shadows.
To preview shadows from spotlights in Movie/Photo
Go to the Photo
Apply a Global Illumination
effect (New effect
tab -> Global Illumination
Click on Preview spotlight GI and shadows
in the effect panel.4)
If you want to view the shadows in Build
mode, click on the Build with effect
button in the top left corner.
In Light Properties -> Optimize for
, choose what is most important for each light:
- Accuracy: The shadows are updated every frame (Slow!). Every time you add a light with Accuracy turned on, the entire scene has to be rendered once more. Add 10 lights and the scene has to be rendered 10 times more every frame. Each light uses a 2048x2048 pixel shadow texture.
- Memory: The shadow from the light uses a static 128x128 pixel texture which is not updated (Fast, very low memory usage)
- Speed: The shadow from the light uses a static 512x512 pixel texture which is not updated (Fast, moderate memory usage)
To reduce render times, we recommend that distant lights (e.g. street lights) in your scene use either the Memory
or the Speed
option, so that the shadows are not updated every frame. If your graphics card has enough memory, the best option is Speed
You would only ever use Accuracy
for your lights if something that casts shadows is moving near the light (a car driving past a street light for example). Or if the light itself moves/rotates (stage lighting for concerts for example). Or if you need high-resolution shadows in certain areas (typically close-ups of interiors).SHADOW ARTIFACTS (BANDING, FLICKERING, LIGHT LEAKAGE)
Shadows in Lumion are added on top of all surfaces with an offset. The reason an offset is needed is that the shadows will otherwise flicker (or display banding artifacts) when the shadows are very close to surface. If the offset is set too high, furniture (as an example) will appear to hover above the floor. In reality the furniture is not hovering of course, but the offset shadows give the illusion of it.
It's difficult to get the offset right as the optimal offset varies from scene to scene, depending on the sun position and the camera position. For that reason, you have to add the Shadow
effect to your clip and experiment with the Shadow correction
and Shadow Slope
sliders until the artifacts are gone.
The Shadow correction
slider controls the offset directly whereas the Shadow Slope
slider is used to prevent light leakage through models.UPDATE SUN, SKY, LIGHTING, CLOUDS AND REFLECTIONS(U):
If you press the U
key, the sun, sky, lighting, clouds and 360 degree reflection texture will be updated. This is often necessary if you switch between Build/Movie/Photo
mode and the sun is in different positions. If you keep the U
key pressed in Photo/Movie
mode, the Cloud
effect will be rendered in (almost) final render quality. This is useful if you want to see what the clouds will look like while adjusting the cloud sliders. Bear in mind that the Volume Clouds
effect has to be rendered in 3 star quality to see what these clouds will look like in final render quality.GLOBAL ILLUMINATION
render images/videos with the Global Illumination
effect in 3 star quality. If you render it in 1 or 2 star quality, the lighting will appear to flicker and you will only see a pixelated preview of the global illumination lighting on your renderings.VOLUME CLOUDS
render images/videos with the Volume Clouds
effect in 3 star quality. If you render it in 1 or 2 star quality, you will only see a pixelated preview on your renderings, and the clouds will appear to move and change shape as the camera moves.REFLECTIONS IN LUMION
There are 2 types of reflections in Lumion:1) Planar reflections (New effect -> World -> Reflection):
effect allows you to specify up to 10 reflection planes in your scene. Any model surface which is co-planar with a specified reflection plane in your scene will have accurate reflections. This is ideal for mirrors, marble floors etc. The effect includes a Threshold
slider which allows you to adjust the distance at which nearly-co-planar surfaces will be included in the reflection plane. The tradeoff is accuracy but it's usually not noticeable. Please note that if you have some nearly co-planar surfaces that you want to assign a single reflection plane to, you need to assign the plane to the surface which is closest to the camera so to speak.
Please note that the following objects and materials are not reflected due to technical limitations:
- Native Lumion water planes.
- Waterfall, Water
- Special effects: Fountains
Every time you add 1 reflection plane, Lumion has to mirror all models & render the entire scene once more. For that reason, try to use as few reflection planes as possible:2) Projected reflections:
Projected reflections in Lumion rely on a single 360 degree panoramic reflection texture which is projected onto any reflective materials that are not using planar reflections. The projected reflection method is only an approximation and will never provide as realistic reflections as the planar reflection effect above. In Lumion 4.x, add the Lights -> Utilities -> Reflection control
object to your scene to specify the position where the 360 degree panoramic reflection texture should be rendered at.
If you do not add this object to your scene it will be placed a few hundred meters above the terrain. If you are rendering interiors, the best position for the Reflection Control
object is often near the camera position. Bear in mind that you can also animate this object with the Move/Advanced Move
effects in the Movie
section.HOW TO PREVENT SURFACES FROM FLICKERING/DISAPPEARING
If you notice that surfaces flicker or disappear when moving the camera, add a Standard
material to the surface that you want to be on top. Then adjust the Depth Offset
slider in that material but avoid extreme Depth Offset
values - you should only adjust it a little bit, until the flickering stops (The best method is of course to make sure that your surfaces are offset a bit in your 3D modelling application, so that the flickering is less likely to occur in the first place).OBJECT COLOURSObjects -> Edit properties -> Object Color
allows you to change the colours of many of the Transport
models, e.g. furniture and vehicles. Note that you can also copy-paste a colour from outside Lumion to any color selection window in Lumion. Simply press CTRL + C to copy a highlighted hexadecimal colour in text format, eg, "ff0000" (red), and press CTRL + V to paste this colour onto the solid bar on the right side of the color selection window.TERRAINS IN LUMION
The editable part of the terrain in Lumion occupies a 2048x2048m square. Beyond this, you will not be able to change the height or paint the landscape. When you load a heightmap texture it will stretch to the full extent of the 2048x2048m square, but will 'fade out' to 0m along the edges to blend with the endless terrain outside the editable area.
If you load a standard JPG file, 100% black equates to a terrain height of 0m and 100% white is equal to a terrain height of 200m. In other words, each greyscale step (from 0 to 255) is equal to 0.78125m.
As for the height scale of imported heightmap textures, the RGB values normally range from 0 to 1.0, but if you create a 32-bit image in Photoshop (Image -> Mode -> 32-bits per channel), you can boost the whiteness (and the terrain height range) by up to x20. In other words:
RGB 0 to 1.0 in Photoshop = 0m to 200m in Lumion
RGB 0 to 2.0 in Photoshop = 0m to 400m in Lumion
RGB 0 to 3.0 in Photoshop = 0m to 600m in Lumion
Once you've created your heightmap, you'll need to save it as a 32-bit DDS heightmap in "32f" format using Nvidia's DDS plugin for Photoshop:http://developer.nvidia.com/nvidia-texture-tools-adobe-photoshopTIP:
You can also import your own terrain as a DAE/FBX object and apply a Landscape
material to it. This allows you paint on it just like the "native" terrain in Lumion:MATERIAL SLIDERS
Try to experiment with each material slider to find out what the various values do.Reflection/Clip/Bright:
An important slider is the Reflection/Clip/Bright
slider in Lumion 4.x (Reflection or Clip
slider in Lumion 2.5). This slider allows you to specify whether an alpha channel in your diffuse texture is used as a reflection mask (= Reflection), alpha clip mask (= Clip
) or as an emmissive mask (= Bright
Material size. Set this to 0 if you want to use imported texture coordinates instead of automatically applied texture coordinates.Reflection colorize
: Tint reflections with overall material colour.Reflection Falloff:
Reflection amount vs viewing angle.Brightness:
Material darkness vs brightness.Glossiness:
Reflection blurriness vs sharpness.Bump:
Material roughness (provided that you use a blue/purple normalmap
Reflection amount. Can be combined with a specular/reflection mask in the alpha channel of the Diffuse
Black& white versus colour.Emissiveness:
Material glow.MOVIE SECTION TIPSEntire Movie versus Clips:
You can apply a Movie
effect to a single clip or to the 'Entire Movie
' is selected by clicking on the large button in the lower left corner of the screen in Movie
mode. If a new Movie
effect is applied while 'Entire Movie' is selected, this effect will affect all clips in your movie.
The exception to this rule is if you have also applied the same Movie
effect to one of your clips. In this case, the Movie
effect in the clip will override the Movie
effect that is applied to 'Entire Movie
'.Double-clicking on a clip thumbnail:
This allows you to edit the clip without having to click on the Edit clip
button in the top-left corner.Create Movie Effect keyframes:
The small circular button to the right of the effect sliders allows you to set keyframes:Build with effects:
This button in Photo/Movie
mode allows you to preview effects in Build
mode:Save Movie (or Create movie from clip) -> Images tab -> Frame range -> Custom -> Shots:
This allows you to render each camera keyframe in a clip or in the entire movie as still images.USING LAYERSAbout Layers: Layers
are useful for organising large projects. The Layer
buttons in Build
mode allow you to show or hide models. You can also animate the visibility of Layers in your clips with the Show Layer
and Hide Layer
effects.FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONSWHERE ARE MY LUMION SCENES AND IMPORTED MODELS SAVED?
Your Lumion scenes and imported models are saved in these folders:
- Documents/Lumion 4/Scenes: All scenes saved in Lumion 4 (2 files per scene)
- Documents/Lumion 4/Library: Models imported in Lumion 4 (up to 4 files per model)
The Documents/Lumion 4/
folder is on the C: drive by default.
If you would like to move the Documents/Lumion 4/
folder to a different location, please follow these instructions on the Microsoft
As with any other important data on your harddrive, we recommend regular backups of the Documents/Lumion 4/
folder.HOW DO I LOAD A LUMION SCENE ON ANOTHER PC?
If you need to load a Lumion scene on another PC, you need to copy the Documents/Lumion 4/
folder to that PC. Remember to restart Lumion after copying the folders.
Alternatively, if you have Lumion Pro
, you can also export the scene as an LS4 file which includes imported models. This makes it easier to move scenes between PCs.HOW DO I LOAD A LUMION 3 SCENE IN LUMION 4?
If you need to load a Lumion 3 scene in Lumion 4, you need to copy the Scenes
folders in Documents/Lumion 3/
folder to Documents/Lumion 4/
. Remember to restart Lumion after copying the folders.
Alternatively, if you have Lumion Pro
, you can also export a Lumion 3 scene as an LS3 file which includes imported models. The LS3 file can then be imported in Lumion 4.WARNING:
Lumion is not backwards compatible, so if you save a scene or an imported model in Lumion 4
you can't load them in Lumion 1, 2 and 3
If you notice a red questionmark in one of your scenes, it means that the files for that model are missing in the Documents/Lumion 4/Library
folder. It is currently not possible to display the file name of missing models.
Here's how to delete questionmarks in your scene:1) Lights & Special objects category -> Context menu -> Selection -> Select all similar
2) Trash object -> Click on one of the questionmarks to delete themHOW DO I LOCK MODELS SO THAT THEY DON'T MOVE WHEN I MODIFY THE TERRAIN?
Select models -> Context menu -> Transformation -> Lock Position -> OnHOW DO I MAKE MY OWN THUMBNAILS FOR MY MODELS?
CTRL-select the object and make sure that its thumbnail is displayed in the lower left corner. Move the camera until you're happy with the way the model appears on the screen, and press and hold CTRL. Then left-click on the thumbnail to update it.HOW DO I IMPORT ANIMATIONS?
It is possible to import move/rotate/scale animations from some 3rd party modelling 3D applications, e.g. 3DS Max and Maya. The frame rate has to be set to 25 frames per second and the preferred export format is FBX file. Collada format (DAE) also works but the interpolation between keyframes will be linear.
It is not possible to import vertex animations, morph animations or bone animations in Lumion.HOW DO I ORGANISE MY IMPORTED MODELS IN FOLDERS?
You can create a maximum of 14 custom folders in the Documents/Lumion 4/Library
folder. The folders and any model files that you have moved to the custom folders will appear in the Imported Model
browser after restarting Lumion: