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Lumion 12 Review and Feature Request

Lumion 12 Has Arrived!  It might be a little light on major features… BUT, it does have a TON of incremental improvements that combined are actually very significant. Improved workflow, organization, and usability has been sprinkled into every corner of this release.  There’s one thing missing though, and it’s a feature I have been wanting for years!

Watch the video below (or keep reading) for my top 6 favorite new features, and a feature request that would make a huge impact on image composition.  (Check out the full Lumion 12 release notes here)

6 Favorite New Features

1. Volumetric Spotlights

The new volumetric spotlights effect is the Lumion eye candy that keeps us coming back for more. It can be found in the Lighting Category in both the photo and animation studios.

  1. Once you add the effect, click the select lights button.
  2. Select some spotlights.
  3. Click the checkbox to save your selection.
  4. Now adjust the Density, Intensity, and Falloff sliders to cast a hazy atmospheric vibe.

2. Kelvin Slider

I used to just haphazardly add a little warmth or color to my lights, but the new slider and presets take the guesswork out of it and make lighting more realistic. You can find it by following these steps…

  1. Using the Select tool, pick a spotlight.
  2. Expand the advanced options.
  3. Select the new Kelvin tab.
  4. Drag the slider, or even better click on a preset.

3. Improved Autumn Colors Effect

The improved Autumn colors effect can be found in the Sky and Weather tab. In previous versions this effect required that you target a specific layer, so all trees had to be on one layer. In Lumion 12, you can target all layers, so now you don’t have to meticulously organize your scene with layers… Although, that’s never a bad idea!

Check out the new presets that run along the top, choose from green, ochre, or red. The other sliders often do more harm than good. A preset combined with “target all layers” is everything you will need moving forward.


4. License Plates

License plates add a dash of realism and give your audience a hint at where your project is located. Choose the global license plates for all cars in your scene by following these steps…

  1. Using the select tool, click on a car.
  2. Then click the “License Plates” button.
  3. Choose a country.
  4. Choose a specific plate.

5. Improved Libraries

Both the Object and Materials libraries have received a face lift and faster navigation.

  • Roll the mouse scroll wheel to quickly browse libraries.
  • Click on a collection to open a bundle of similar objects.
  • When you select an object to place, you’ll see a detailed information card with tags.
  • Click on a tag to quickly track down complimentary objects.

6. Billboard Object

This new billboard object is great for quick 2d cutout people and even trees. If you are looking for some images to load check out our crowdsource 2d cutout character library which has 42 different characters, each with around 35 poses, netting over 1400 clean cutout character images.

  1. Open the Utilities category, there you’ll find the new character billboard object.
  2. Hold the “L” key while placing to scale the figure up to 1.8.
  3. Click to place it.
  4. Switch to the Select Tool (keyboard shortcut is “M”).
  5. Click “Load Texture” and choose a cutout character.

How about 18 free cutout characters?

Feature Request: Move Effect in Photo Studio

I like the new billboard object, but here’s the problem with placing 2D cutout characters… they only look right from one camera angle! If you move the camera, the characters are all jumbled up on top of one another.

You could use some layer trickery, and duplicate models, but what a hassle to set that all up, especially for multiple cameras. What I’d like to do is just add the Move effect in photo mode, so I could rearrange my character’s position for each camera. Unfortunately the move effect is blocked in the photo studio!


Work around this limitation by using the Movie studio to set up still image cameras.  Here’s how…

  1. Capture each desired camera as a 1 second clip on the timeline.
  2. Add the move effect.
  3. Click the edit button.
  4. Rearrange your characters to better fit the scene.
  5. Repeat for each camera.

Now render out the still images as an image sequence…

  1. Click render.
  2. Choose “image sequence”.
  3. Set the Output Quality to 4 Stars, this matches the same quality as Photo Mode.
  4. Choose “keyframes”.
  5. Render at 4k.

One keyframe per second will net one image per clip. Another bonus to rendering stills in the movie studio is that you can batch render 30 images on one timeline vs only 10 at a time in a photo set.

You can use this technique to better arrange any objects for a specific view without affecting placement in build mode, or other cameras…

  • Get a car out of the way.
  • Pull a fine-detail tree into the foreground.
  • Change the focus of lighting

So, why don’t we have the move effect in the photo studio!? Do you agree with me? What are your feature requests!? What are you working around? What do you think of Lumion 12!? Let me know in the comments.