LumenRT Review for SketchUP

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July 13, 2011 |  by  |  Case Study

Being a distributor of software via Polytown has its perks. This is how I found out about E-On Software’s new real-time 3d tool named LumenRT Review for SketchUP. I’ve played with it for some time now and we actually use it the studio for real work, like Villa W in the image above.

So… LumenRT is e-on software’s revolutionary new product for the visualization of architectural projects in real-time 3D with accurately simulated lighting.

Version 1.2 was released today and it is available for Mac & Windows.

Before I get into more detail about LumenRT, I must say a little thing about the “RT” in its name. Most of you will recognize that as an abbreviation of real-time, similar to V-Ray RT for example, but this is not the same thing in this case. the added wording “Review” is important and helps in understanding what LumenRT really is.

So what does LumenRT do?

LumenRT takes your SketchUP model and after a short (or long, depends on you) calculation process outputs what is called a LiveCube that you can explore and see your model rendered in a real-time fashion with sunlight, reflections, refractions and extra cool stuff like great looking water!

Pretty cool if you ask me icon wink LumenRT Review for SketchUP

I’ll be showcasing the use of LumenRT on a design by Gal-Or Fishbain Architects – Villa W. First let me show you some SketchUP based images I usually make for a client presentation… these are used at a very early stage of the design – nothing is carved in stone here, all can be changed again & again.

VILLA W 005 001b thumb LumenRT Review for SketchUP

VILLA W 005 004b thumb LumenRT Review for SketchUP

So after doing some more work on the design, I decided to fire up LumenRT on this house… Below you can see the SketchUP viewport and the grass planes test I setup for this scene.

villa w sketchup viewport thumb LumenRT Review for SketchUP

villa w grass planes thumb LumenRT Review for SketchUP

Pushing the LumenRT icon in the toolbar brings up the simple export settings tab. Here you can choose you background (Neutral White, Bad Weather, Nice Weather or Blue Sky), the base on which your model will be placed on (None, Asphalt, Grass, Sandy or White), The quality level (Draft 1min, Review 15min, Superior 1hr or Extreme).

lumenrt export settings LumenRT Review for SketchUP

And here is the short video of me walking around the resulting LiveCube… Please forgive my poor screen casting capabilities, I promise to get better at this. Many of you asked for videos in my recent survey – so consider this a trial run icon wink LumenRT Review for SketchUP

What I liked most about LumenRT is the fact it was super easy to use, very fast to calculate a workable draft, and actually looked good without me doing any special things with the SketchUP model – Just using it as is.

I used the F5 button to take some pictures, and with a little post, here’s how it looks…

Screenshot 003 thumb LumenRT Review for SketchUP

Screenshot 005 thumb LumenRT Review for SketchUP

Screenshot 000 thumb LumenRT Review for SketchUP

You can get to this point 15min after you decided you have a SketchUP model that is ready for this. Testing the “Superior” quality level of calculation did not show any noticeable improvement over the 15min “Review” level – but this is not tested enough yet and might be related to scene complexity (that is a complex scene might need more time to look as good as this simple villa did in 15min calculation time)

Getting back to the “RT” remark I mentioned before…

LumenRT is different from full-fledged GPU based game like real-time solutions such as Lumion or Twinmotion, and has nothing to do with how V-Ray RT works… it is more restricted.

The fact that there is a calculation process suggests that restriction from the get go. Once calculated you can’t change the sky and sun, that is a fixed thing in the resulted LiveCube. You can’t move elements in the scene, you can only “Review” the scene.

Summery

Although I consider such restriction a major drawback in LumenRT, I think it is a perfect solution for taking your SketchUP model to the next level with ease and speed. I will keep making those images I showed earlier for presentations, but I will also make LumenRT part of the usual workflow as it adds much more to the process and to the communication with the client.

The development team keeps adding features and so new things might be added that will change these restriction and make the application even more powerful at what it does today.

I’ll make sure to keep you posted about the progress of this tool icon wink LumenRT Review for SketchUP

For more information, check out the Interview with yours truly that was published on the LumenRT websiteInterview with Ronen Bekerman

15 comments
sarvaram
sarvaram

Hi Im new in working with SkethUp! Im wondering how you put those realistic trees, flowers and sky at first place before using Lumert! is that photoshoped?

GREICO Modern Homes Dallas
GREICO Modern Homes Dallas

Thank you for the information on LumenRT, downloaded it last night played with it a little with amazing results. I am looking forward to understanding its capabilities. The question I have for you; Where can I get a copy of the grass used in the demo model? It looks great.

bratwurst0
bratwurst0

Wow thats realy cool! Do you know if there is a demo/trial version of this plugin? That would be great (especially as a poor hobbyist :P)

Alain
Alain

How about to export the scenes to Unity 3D to use it on webbrowser ?

Will that be possible ?

Kind regards

Alain

connollydavid
connollydavid

Pretty Cool Ronen, you can even go for a swim! Do you know if there are plans to release it for MAX?

TAvisual
TAvisual

It's a new way for fast project presentation or for project changes ;)

Price is almost good, only 195$. That's always a point of interest.

Farrokh
Farrokh

very useful way of presentation! thanks for sharing your experiments.

ronenbekerman
ronenbekerman moderator

@Alain Not sure, but that is a great idea! I'll suggest this to the dev team.

ronenbekerman
ronenbekerman moderator

@TAvisual The ROI seems very good with this product... but it will not be like that for long - they plan to bump it up to $295 at some point.

(Polytown will sell the DVD version of this product. Little bit of disclosure here)

I think they need to add more features before they do this. Dynamic sun position, Artificial lights and Moving elements to name a few.

Alain
Alain

Great ! :-) This could be very interesting for real estate marketing.

We do alot of websites and visualizations for real estate marketing an customers are often interested in such solutions but the solutions have to be payable and I guess with LumenRT and Unity 3D we could do that for a better price :-)

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