Visualizations can be used to convey design to a client, raise money from investors, and help designers make informed decisions. They can be polished for weeks or pushed out in hours. Some visualizations are photorealistic, while others are sketchy and conceptual. Regardless of the purpose, allotted time, or style, all visualizations require an extensive selection and variety of objects to compliment the built environment. Utilizing an object library enables the visualization artist to render a convincing image, clearly convey a design, and deliver within a reasonable timeframe and budget.
Modeling every vase, flower, petal, couch, cushion, pillow, person, car, and tree would drastically increase the hours needed for a visualization. Focus on modeling what you have control over, the architecture. Use an object library to compliment your design with real items designed and modeled by others.
There is no all inclusive stock object library.
A beach resort rendering in Miami will have significantly different entourage needs than an office rendering in Seattle. Plants from different regions of the world will vary greatly. Design styles vary from traditional to contemporary. To even attempt to fill the need for every entourage situation with one library would be impossible. It is critical to develop the skills to find the objects you need. Look to the following resources and beyond to expand your object library to accommodate any scene.
SketchUp offers an infinite number of models on the 3d Warehouse. Beware, these objects are user generated, often not modeled to be lightweight, textured to be realistic, or scaled to be accurate. When searching the 3d Warehouse, keep an eye out for collections built by manufacturers because these are the most trustworthy.
Lumion Pro comes with a whopping 2916 objects, the most important being the Nature collection. This collection is full of trees and plants that literally blow in the breeze and render beautifully without question. Second in line are the Transportation and Character libraries.
FormFonts is an invaluable subscription site for 3d models and textures. All objects are professionally built to be light weight, realistic, and accurate. I use FormFonts models on every project that we work on and promise that they are worth every penny of the subscription fee.
The most difficult category to satisfy is people. Below are some additional free resources for 2D cutout people, ideal for photorealistic still renderings.
Modeling and Texturing
My approach is to model and texture all architecture in SketchUp. Static objects, such as furniture, decorative items, doors, windows, appliances, and equipment are pulled from an object library and inserted in the SketchUp model on corresponding ConDoc layers. The entire model is then sent to Lumion.
Tip: A general rule of thumb, static objects should be inserted in SketchUp, animated objects should be inserted in Lumion.
Place objects in Lumion on specific layers to control visibility and keep the model snappy. Placing 2D people on a layer separate from the 3D people will give you full control over entourage for animations and still images. Reason being, 3d people are ideal for animation while 2d people are ideal for stills.