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Project Breakdown: Residential Backyard from Lumion 10.5

What makes a beautiful render? In this blog post, we’ll pick apart the Lumion 10.5 backyard design and learn a few tips about building the setting, creating a style and mood, and more!

Most architectural renderings begin with a vision, a visualization in your mind of how you’d like your design to look and feel.

When going from your imagination to a rendered result, Lumion eases the entire render-creation process, helping you capture the entirety of your vision and show your CAD designs in their most beautiful light.

For some architects, this means importing your model, quickly planting a few trees and other objects around the building exterior, and rendering a beautiful image or short video. For others, it means infusing every nook and cranny of the project with emotion and atmosphere, crafting expansive landscapes surrounding the design or filling out interiors down to the smallest detail — a book on the nightstand next to the bed, an abandoned coffee cup on the kitchen table.

No matter how you want to show your design, Lumion gives you complete control over the entire render-making experience. In this blog post, we’ll be looking under the hood of one of our recent projects, the ‘Residential Backyard’ made in Lumion 10.5 Pro.

By exploring this rendering project, you can discover a few tips and tricks about building a setting, customizing materials, and using effects to capture a style and mood. After going through this project breakdown and applying a few techniques to your own workflows, you should find you’re able to render just a little faster, with a slightly nicer result.


Importing the Residential Backyard

Every Lumion project begins with a 3D model in your preferred CAD modeling software. For this project breakdown, Lumion artist Gui Felix kindly shared one of the custom-made residential home designs that he modeled in SketchUp, showing a modern design for the backyard enthusiast.

Before preparing the backyard renderings, however, we asked ourselves, “What mood would we look to communicate? Dark, rainy, and brooding? Sunny summer daze?” In the end, we decided to re-create the feeling of summer in the late afternoon, just before the sunset turns the sky red.

As we imagined the final scene, we started asking questions, “What time of the day is it? What’s the weather like?”

After importing the model into Lumion, we were able to fly through the scene and start experiencing some of the features of the design. We reviewed all the surfaces of the model and checked for errors, and we made sure all the materials were assigned correctly.

Because we used SketchUp as our CAD modeling software, we were able to turn on the LiveSync for SketchUp plugin and create a real-time connection to the model in Lumion. Therefore, if we made any changes to the model in SketchUp, we could instantly view them in Lumion.

With LiveSync for SketchUp, we can modify the model in SketchUp and instantly view the changes in Lumion.

After exploring the model in detail, and making adjustments when needed, the next step was to add materials and models from the Lumion content library to make the design feel like a real-life building in a lifelike setting.


Creating a lifelike setting with models and materials from the content library

Our goal for this project was to create an attractive backyard setting using the new models that were added in the Lumion 10.5 release. In the seating area, for example, we added a few cushions and a barrel with a coffee cup to heighten a cozy, inviting feeling. We also had this idea of making the back wall look as natural-looking as possible, so we added a few ivy root models to the surface of the wall.

Moving from the seating area to the outdoor kitchen, we also wanted the viewer to pass by a small grill and a few plants, telling a story of backyard barbecues and a family enjoying their meals together.

Throughout the kitchen, we also added potted plants, wicker baskets, and wall lanterns, which heightened the warm and welcoming mood with a luxurious twist.

By using hotkeys when placing objects, we were able to easily scale and rotate them for quick precision. To scale an object while placing it, simply hold down the “L” hotkey. If you would like to rotate the object while placing it, hold down the “R” hotkey. You can also use the “H” hotkey to control the height of the object placement, and you can instantly add an object to the project’s terrain with the “G” hotkey.

For the materials, we wanted to express a mix of nature and human-made materials, specifically grass, concrete, pebbles, and water. You can see this mix of materials on the project’s water feature.

Here, we used the following combination of materials from the content library:

  • Wild Grass

  • Concrete

  • Tropical water

  • Ground gravel

Along the back wall of the backyard, we also added ‘foliage’ to the material by adjusting the material’s settings. You can see how we gave the back wall an attractive leafy covering in the video below, or check out this short tutorial on adding ‘fo