I had the opportunity to download LumenRT from Bentley Systems recently and try it out. It did not take long for me to create compelling visualizations in 3D. The software is a step up from first generation software that has been commonly used in desktop applications. In this case, LumenRT CONNECT Edition operates from your desktop through the Cloud.
What Is LumenRT?
It is a visualization software that adds highly realistic scenery, landscape, objects, materials and plants or trees to 3D environments. If you design in MicroStation, Revit, SketchUp or GeoDesign – then LumenRT can take your designs and spring them to photo-realistic life. Bentley Systems says it can,
- animate infrastructure models with elements in motion such as simulated traffic using vehicles of all types, moving people, wind-swept plants, breeze-animated and seasonal trees, rolling clouds, rippling water and much more,
- easily generate attention-grabbing, cinematic-quality images and videos,
- share interactive, immersive 3D presentations with any stakeholder using Bentley LumenRT LiveCubes,
- Create Bentley LumenRT scenes directly from inside MicroStation, including V8i SELECTseries and CONNECT Edition, Autodesk Revit, Esri CityEngine, Graphisoft ArchiCAD, Trimble Sketchup and also import from many leading 3D exchange formats
Key Point In Using
Many visualization software are complex and have steep learning curves. We’ve previously worked with many of them and reviewed them, finding this true. Bentley Systems said that LumenRT is easy-to-use. I found this to be true. Within 15 minutes I was able to open two demos and move within them and add realistic trees from the library, a Ferrari from the library, change from metallic to concrete surfaces, adjust sunlight and lamp types, add a swimming area with waves and colors and many other features. Later I adjusted camera angles, created a motion animation and included animation features such as moving vehicles and people who move. All of this ease is designed to take the hard work of visualization out of the design – visualization process, adding automation and simplicity into the workflow.
Why Is This Software Useful?
Generally, many design oriented users work with software that is highly oriented to creating 3D objects – lines, points and polygons. Being able to adjust, orient, alter and manipulate surfaces is key, whether one works in designing buildings, plant utilities, railways, transmission lines or almost any other thing.
In Bentley Systems case, the company is a leader in 3D design software for infrastructure life-cycle. It has domain knowledge and software strength that supports over half of the worlds largest infrastructure projects – and thousands of smaller ones too.
While designers (engineers and scientists – and public) are highly oriented to design specific tasks, it is not always the case that they can visualize – effectively – what they create. This phenomenon has tremendous negative impact on designers because, whether they are involved in competitions, working with others or simply communicating their design projects, poor visualization can cast a wide dark response. This is critical for companies using design modeling and simulation capabilities. Visual impact matters – a lot – for real world reasons.
In Bentley Systems case, all of this infrastructure goodness comes in the form of Reality Modeling – and LumenRT exists in a constellation of lidar based technology like Pointools, mapping tools like Bentley Map, or imaging such as Bentley Descartes.
Infrastructure is built on a common foundation or platform that includes several industry sectors. Modeling, design, simulation, construction and operations all use and apply 3D. This is why 3D matters – they share common geometry in (x, y, z) axis. Beyond that lies materials and attributes. For LumenRT users though, this means however you design in 3D and apply others software for infrastructure design, the outcomes and produced content can be expressed in LumenRT. There is a high level of interoperability between LumenRT and others products.
So What Has Changed?
For years designers were content with design-only tools. Many of them saw visualization as a pretty picture – alone. All of the products mentioned above put real-world designs, based on survey or geo-referenced locations, into the visualization work flow. LumenRT show not be thought of as an add-on. Why? Because the visualizations are high-resolution, real-world in orientation, and drawn from common design databases using in building processes and design projects.
Ultimately, through the LumenRT CONNECT Edition, whole libraries of objects, surfaces and content could be delivered through the Cloud. Similarly, because other industry tools also have CONNECT Edition’s, analytical tools, for example, could be linked directly to a LumenRT work flow. Think of designers having a short route into visualization, or even energy efficiency people working with a visual context.
While the tendency is to speak about visualization in terms of communication alone, soon we will see visualization in a design context, visualization in an analytical context or visualization in an artificial intelligence context as each of these enters the infrastructure life-cycle more deeply.
We are very much at the early stages of tying design to visualization in a more meaningful manner, LumenRT is at the forefront of this advancement.