How You Can Get Inspired with Lumion 12.3

Let’s dive into “The Regency Project” by Adam Ingram to learn more about how they harnessed the beauty of lighting to make your designs feel alive.

Lighting plays a vital role when visualizing your designs in a clear, engaging manner. It helps viewers, such as your clients, experience architecture before it’s built. It helps them understand your design and why it matters.

In the ‘Regency Project’, a collaboration with the talented visualization artist Adam Ingram (Ark Visuals), founder of The Lumion Collective (@TheLumionCollective), you’ll discover Adam’s unique approach to creating a render and telling a story about the design using the new features in Lumion 12.3.

You’ll also explore how the surrounding environment — the weather, lighting, and other elements — all work together to give a distinctive feel to buildings and spaces, immersing you into the world of the design. Adam will take you through the project, explaining a few tips and tricks that you can easily incorporate into your own creative process.

There’s an opportunity to learn from every project, like how you can bring your project to the next level with more detail and textures. Looking at “The Regency Project”, you’ll learn how to use light to tell a better design story, revealing emotion through your design. You’ll learn how to, as Adam called it, “paint with light”.

Grounding the design in an environment that feels alive

According to Adam, “The task of an architectural visualizer is to personify a subject that fundamentally has no emotion.” To achieve this (giving emotion to digital, inanimate visualizations), Adam employs a three-stage approach, making sure that the design’s story is always driving the project forward.

First, we start with the building.

Regency Model - CAD

The Regency Project includes a building that Adam modeled, which draws inspiration from multiple of unique design styles, mood boards and real-world buildings. Understanding the design is vital at this stage. Once Adam has imported the model into Lumion, the first step was to explore every angle of the model. He viewed it from different perspectives to uncover striking compositions that will show the building in its best light.

By exploring the model in Lumion, Adam was able to find a few interesting angles and compositions early on, which he could then use to tell a story and authentically capture the emotion of the building.

Regency Building - Detail 1

The next step in his process was a little more conceptual. By imagining how the building’s occupants will live in and experience the space, he was able to add a little character to the building.

By texturing the building with Lumion materials and adding exterior objects and other furnishings from the Lumion content library, Adam could start developing a personality that will be evident in the final renders and animation.

Courtyard - Top view

The last step was to build the environment around the design. This is the final link between architect and client, visualizer, and viewers. According to Adam, it’s what grounds the design to a context that is easy to understand. Whether it’s the rustling of trees, the hustle of the city or the nature of any setting, these elements help to personify the building, adding to how it’s perceived and completing the design story.

Building, personality, and environment. These were the three key steppingstones to prepare The Regency for the next step- bring it to life with light.

Directing light onto the details and textures of the design

At its core, The Regency Project was a conceptual demonstration to highlight the impact of lighting in architectural visualizations. Once again, storytelling is at the heart of the creative process.

With storytelling at the heart of the process, Adam used lighting to tell a cohesive story about this project. Adam built the entire scene around lighting, focusing on how they can accentuate the personality of the building.

He called it ‘painting with light’. When rendering in Lumion, it’s a useful term to consider when setting up the entire lighting arrangement throughout your scene.  

When you first begin your scene without lighting, you might feel unsure on where to start. Fortunately, Adam has a method to overcome this with a technique he called ‘Zones’.

Regency Building - Detail 2

You can read a comprehensive blog post about creating lighting zones here. Simply put, creating lighting zones lets you approach your project’s lighting small areas at a time. To set up these zones, Adam considered two angles:

    1. Practicality: what are the technical lights needed to illuminate the building and its environment realistically?
    2. Aesthetic: How can we harness the power of lighting to give personality to spaces?

For example, one of the main zones in The Regency Project was the main entryway and its windows. This area required a lot of practical lighting, such as the interior and ceiling lights to help viewers see better in low-light settings.

Adam leveraged Lumion’s diverse lighting options, including spotlights, omni lights and area lights to set this up.

Regency Building - Detail 3

The next lighting zone was made with ‘guide lights’. These guide the viewer’s eyes to specific design elements. For instance, the shot with the bollard lights serve to guide viewers along the footpath.

Garden guide lights

You can also find these ‘guide lights’ in the garden. On top of the previously mentioned lighting objects, Adam added several spotlights and omni lights to guide viewers’ eyes to another important side of lighting-shadows.

As Adam explained, “It’s easy to over-light a scene. When lighting an architectural scene, it can be easy to forget that shadows aren’t a bad thing. As visualizers, we want to show as much of the space as we can, and this sometimes translates to illuminating as much as we can. By balancing light and shadow, however, it’s possible to show how your building materials actually play with the light.”

The final, and most enjoyable zone to work on, according to Adam, was the ‘hero lights’. These lights are generally impactful, adding more to the aesthetic of the building and the emotion it should convey.

“They turn the building into the spectacle that we see in the final shot,” Adam described, “creating dramatic effects that set the design elements apart.” You can easily see this hero lighting in action with the feature lighting leaking through the design’s vertical fins.

Adam recommends taking a mixed approach to lighting, combining logic with style as you use the various Lumion light objects to fill your scene with practical lights, guide lights and hero lights.

Telling a captivating story through animation

The scene is set. With the hero of the story, the building, now illuminated beautifully. Adam’s final step in producing the Regency Project was to add Lumion effects and render the animation.

Fortunately, achieving that ‘blue hour’ feeling took only a few moments in Lumion. “A big challenge was making sure that the scene wasn’t too dark,” said Adam. “One trick I use is the ‘squint test.’ It’s pretty easy. If you squint and can’t see the main shapes of the building, then the scene is too dark.”

Regency Building - Detail 4

Along with features such as Real Skies and Styles, the Color Correction effect was critical in these final steps. Especially when testing and modifying individual lights, the Color Correction effect helped Adam to adjust the intensity of each light and highlight its impact on the building materials.

“Pushing the Color Correction sliders around is the best way to learn about this effect,” Adam explained. “It’s just a matter of experimenting with the effect’s gamma correction and high and low limit sliders, which influence the way that light behaves in the scene.”

When putting together the animation, Adam made sure that each composition shows an entirely unique aspect of the building. Because of the role of lighting in this project, he also wanted to ensure that each shot reveals the influential presence of light on the building and its environment.

 “This way,” according to Adam, “we can tell the story about the Regency through its sequential illumination, revealing the building one piece at a time before the dramatic outro.”

Be inspired by everything you can render

Adam’s approach to rendering is ever evolving, but one fundamental element rings true in all his work: believability over realism.

As Adam put it, “It’s our job to embody the emotions that we identify with as humans and apply them to an inherently inhuman subject – architecture. It’s viewing imagery and recognizing all the small details that link up with our own memories. These experiences allow us to relate and empathize with a space on more than a surface level.”

Regency - full view

The Regency Project is truly a masterwork in light, materials, detail, environment, animation; the list could go on and on.

We hope you enjoy the Regency video. If you would like to see how Lumion’s lighting features and effects can breathe life into your own designs, download the free, 14-day trial for businesses here.

Many thanks to Adam Ingram. Check out more of his works, and continually improve your rendering skills, on The Lumion Collective website.

Tricia Lim

Tricia Lim

Digital Marketing Specialist