• Kiran Nair

How to create atmospheric architectural renders using Real Skies

From a bright sunny day to a dark and brooding thunderstorm, Lumion 11 includes intuitive, helpful tools to infuse atmosphere and emotion into your design.



When it comes to communicating your architectural design, atmosphere plays an essential role in igniting emotions and heightening intrigue. It not only conveys a specific time and places for your project, but it can also enhance the feeling your design gives off while telling a stronger, clearer story about its form and function.


Even though your building design stays the same, a small change in the atmospheric conditions around it can dramatically impact how your audiences will feel when they see your project. You might argue that it can even change the building itself in unexpected, intangible ways.


Perhaps it’s the lighting or the time of day. Sometimes it’s the happy blue skies or the eerie layer of fog hovering in the distance. In this blog, we’ll be looking at how different, easy-to-build combinations of photo and movie effects within Lumion can help you convey specific climatic conditions.

Crafting atmosphere for the GFF House


A new build, flat-topped residential home with ornate wood paneling sits at the edge of town, occupying a prime location where the convenience of the city meets the fresh air of the countryside. This is the setting for the “GFF House,” an architectural design created by Lumion user Gui Felix and shared on the Lumion Community.


Modeled in SketchUp, the GFF House features a simple structure to allow for sweeping views of the sky and a more natural-looking backdrop with trees, plants, rocks, and more.


Satisfied with the model, we imported it into Lumion 11 using the real-time rendering plugin, Lumion LiveSync for SketchUp and began crafting the context.



Within the Build Mode in Lumion 11, we provided natural scenery consisting of Canadian Poplar Trees, Maidenhair Trees, and European Olive Trees, all from the fine-detail nature category. We also brought the grass, wood, glass, and stone materials to life with the help of the Materials library, where you can find 1,250 materials that you can customize with displacement, weathering, color, foliage, and more

Rendering a freeing summer day


The first emotion we wanted to elicit with this building was one of openness, like a summer day where you have an endless range of possibilities ahead. Practically, this meant having a clear blue sky with a vibrant, energetic feeling to the plants, the grasses, and the birds.


To build our baseline effects stack, we applied the Realistic Style (in fact, each render in this blog features a variation of the Realistic Style). Bright, crisp colors were also key to this concept, so this meant increasing the Exposure and Sharpen effects and using the Color Correction effect to saturate the blues and greens.



Rendering a cozy thunderstorm


Renders are generally full of positivity. They highlight the best parts of a building design and they inspire clients and the public with notions of possibility. Of what could be. So why would you want to show your design in a brooding, dark thunderstorm?



Aside from their compelling aesthetic, thunderstorms are great for communicating your building interior’s capacity for comfort and coziness. To do this right, however, it’s important to ease off the environmental lighting while ensuring that your interior lighting still gives off that warm, welcoming glow.


Pro tip: make sure to use the Precipitation effect and Lumion 11’s rain streaks effect on your glass surfaces to enhance the realism of the storm.


Rendering a crisp, refreshing morning


In architecture, a house is much more than just the place you wake up in the morning; it’s the springboard to your day and your life, affecting everything from your wellbeing to your productivity as you break out into the world. For this reason, you may want to render your design on a crisp, refreshing morning with soft, easy environmental lighting and a smooth, non-disrupting color selection.



The morning Real Sky was instrumental in the coloration of the sky and the overall mood, though the Color Correction effect combined with Chromatic Aberrations and a reduced sun shadow range (in the Shadow effect) helped balance the color and create consistency throughout the image.



Not familiar with Lumion effects? No problem! Just check out this helpful Lumion 11 overview video with Mike Brightman or head on over to the website to learn more.

Craft your vision of the design with Lumion 11


When showing the real-life or conceptual environment around your design, Lumion reduces the effort needed to craft the atmospheric conditions perfect for the story you want to tell about your building.


Capture the stormy, the sunny, and everything in between, with an enjoyable and satisfying workflow that brings your unique vision to life.

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