Is Lumion 7 surpassing UE4 for Arch Vis?

First, a recent video of Lumion 7:
More and more I see students and architecture firms using Lumion. It’s just incredibly easy to use. It only takes a day or two to get something decent out of it. And then only a week to get something decently good. However Unreal Engine always had the edge because it’s rendering engine was so much better. Lumion 7 is closing the gap between UE4 and Lumion however. Why outsource arch-viz when it’s so easy to do on Lumion? Although the end result is not on par with arch-viz pros in terms of quality, it’s good enough. Ultra-realism can be compromised for lesser expense to do these things in-house.

In architecture, building context is incredibly important (the surrounding streets, city, environment). The vast majority of UE4 arch-viz are interior apartments. This is because in UE4 it is very cumbersome to model and develop an entire scene. Lumion is capable of building exterior environments very easily. A repository of assets come with Lumion (cars, bus, trees, buildings, animated people etc). Another example is that Lumion 7 is capable of building entire city environments from OpenStreetMaps (

As an architecture student who delved into UE4, I’m starting to worry that I may be wasting my time with UE4. The pros to Lumion are starting to outweigh UE4. The only drawbacks is that Lumion 7 still cannot achieve ultra-realism, and that Lumion 7 is very expensive. If Lumion is improving this fast, I feel by Lumion 8, architecture firms will no longer need UE4.

What do you guys think.

It looks like it’s doing some form of GPU rendering, which means that UE4 would be able to have better real-time performance once your lightmaps are built. The other thing is that you can’t do anything other than rendering with the software. With UE4 you can make an interactive tool and it supports that on mobile platforms. Lumion though looks like is has the advantage in ease of use.

This is one of the few benefits of UE4. Real-time Lumion 7 is bad. The end render output however takes about the same time as UE4 when exporting from sequencer.

And the thing is, rendering is all you need. Interactivity in architectural presentations are still very gimmicky. During client, board, city, or community meetings, it’s awkward trying to teach old rich hags how to use a controller (majority of people keep getting stuck walking into walls). Walking through a space or changing the color of a wall is neat; but in the end it’s just a gimmick. What needs to be conveyed is the concept of the architecture, and the most efficient is a simple fly-through animation.

With Lumion 7.0 you can only render 360 panaroma stills, you cannot render 360 animations with camera movement.

I hope that it will surpass UE.
This way we would at least get an engine which will be optimized for actual games instead of this whole ArchWiz **** which requires quad TitanX’s to create showcase videos.
Seriously, the amount of hours which went into developing features which are being used by less then a single percent of all UE subscribers is a freaking joke, i am ringing the biggest and loudest bells for organizational blindness. And its nice that you are ready for VR, when it kicks off in 2025.

Oh Vulkan performance gains, oh DX12 performance gains, where are thou.

I don’t know of any features added to UE4 that are only useful for Archviz, things like dynamic GI or even improved Lightmass would be useful to all users, stuff like easier interoperability with other programs is something that’s also useful to everyone.

Lumion is 1500$, PRO is 3000$. Unreal is free. Big meh!

I wonder if there is a baking system in Lumion because if it’s all dynamic (as it seems judging by the video) then it doesn’t look better than unreal with movable lights.
I hope that it’s much easier to learn Lumion because I feel it’s the only advantage.

By the way, Mike Fricker, an epic dev, just released a small personal project for ue4. An openstreetmap plugin

So real! It’s very funny to see people try to walk in a game. It’s a pleasure all the time.

Lumion’s quality really seems to me as Unreal without baking. If you decide to go this low quality from the beginning, the workflow is pretty simple, maybe simpler than lumion’s

It has some amount of global illumination for the lighting, but they might be using a method that doesn’t work fast enough for real-time

Yep, Lumion is stupidly expensive. But for a medium sized architecture firm, it’s a worth the investment.

That UE4 OpenStreetMap plugin is game changer…wow, thanks for the share. Any other developer blogs/twitters you mind sharing that should be followed for plugins?

Lumion is amazing for people who aren’t tech savvy or have a good budget but are always pressed for time/deadlines. Like mentioned above, the realtime component of Lumion is not what makes it shine. It’s the incredible ease of use and the streamlined import pipeline with a good deal of arch-viz modeling packages. Lumion can import entire multi-zillion poly scenes in one go no prob. Rendering movies is -on average- a bit slower than UE4 due to Lumion’ (very good) AA. Lumion can not bake lightmaps. Lumion’ GI is very old and quite bad. Overall comparing Lumion to UE4 is apples and oranges. You could build Lumion with UE4 but not the other way around :slight_smile:

Hey guys!

This thread caught my attention- I’m working on a 360 video with a healthy budget, and am in need of hiring an Unreal animator who can take assets/projects created in Lumion over to Unreal- from Unreal, we need to render full 360 videos with piloted camera movement… If anyone on this thread has experience in doing this, and experience in 360 video rendering from Unreal, please PM me! Even simply talking logistics would be super helpful. Thanks in advance!

(A little background- I composite 360 videos for NYTimes, and we’ve done a few projects with 3D rendered out of Cinema 4D in equirectangular projection. This project is an architectural fundraising video looking to a give a 360 view of various locations in park being built. This seems to be a good opportunity to use Unreal instead of Cinema 4D… Anywho, please message me if anyone here has experience in doing so, and/or can point me to a good forum for hiring Unreal animators!)


You never tried to do an archviz demo in Unreal, didn’t you?

The pro’s for anything don’t outweigh the fact that UE4 enables indies, and large studios.
The business model is simple.
Free to use, and 5%. It’s less than sales tax. For any developer that can do math. That’s simple, and easy terms.
Lumion can look pretty. The screenshots are pretty. Sketchup can import topology maps from google earth. So that isnt Lumion.
Pixar released it’s universal scene software. It’s extremely impressive, and free, but only for rendering. It isn’t a game engine, or animation software. Guy renders 80,000 meshes, and 52 million polys in nil. Along with all animations.
It’s only built for red hat enterprise Linux. So you have load centOS, and then install usd from github. It’s all free.

You’re better off posting in the recruitment section of the forum:

Realism is not there.

I work in a firm that luckily has its own graphic division. Which is the portion i work under.

Some of the issues we have encountered and the decisions what most firms i know have gone to Lumion is time and money. Its becoming extreme difficult to find students or interns who know 3D rendering as good as they did say 3 years ago. Out of all the portfolios we see per day, id say 5% know sufficient Vray, Photoshop, indesign, etc… Alot of this loss in graphic representation can be faulted to Revit, and most schools teaching it as a design software.

One of my friends who works at the big “G” firm, said they where discussing switching to lumion because it easier to use, provides enough “realism”, and some VR capabilities right out of the box without any need for special trainining. Mostly because alot of firms wont hire say a specialist in UE4 for graphics and renderings, they will usually pick the best in house that can do it.

Also you usually dont have around 4 weeks, 4 months, to do a rendering for client. Often well in my particular firm, our deadlines are about 3-8 days complete renders. 1 week if we have multiple views, and about 1.5 weeks for After Effects animations.

I agree UE4 has amazing graphics, but it steep learning curve ultimately will be it downfall in architecture. Unless they smooth out a process and increase pipeline workflow.

Agreed. Until UE4 can replace the traditional pipeline, the downsides still outweigh the benefits. Lightmass speed and memory requirements (have you tried using 4096 resolution lightmaps? 96gb ram is evidently not enough) and lack of additional pass outputs (lighting direct & indirect, material id’s, reflection & refraction) are among the downsides.

That is something that Epic is looking to improve–one thing is getting your scenes to UE4 quickly so they are working on a plugin for 3ds Max that can send over a full scene and convert your materials. You can sign up for the beta here:

The other biggest challenge is the lighting, making lightmap UV’s is a big hassle for archviz and you still have to build the lighting so you likely have to get it to render overnight though when it’s done you can do animations very quick and that’s a better option than waiting days for a single shot to render with Vray.
You may want to look into Nvidia VXGI which is a fully dynamic GI system, it’s not going to give as good of results as baked lighting, but it’s very quick and can give acceptable results for some cases. It requires building the source code to do that however:

ChaosGroup, the developers of VRay are also working on a solution for lightmapping.