The performance of a Lumion Project will decrease if it is too complex for your hardware and lacks the necessary System Memory and Virtual Memory to handle it smoothly.
Keeping a Project within the parameters to which your hardware can work happens with experience and understanding of the Lumion software requirements, which is key for efficiently building a Scene.
The symptoms of a Project being too complex for your hardware are:
- Uncomfortably low FPS (1-10) even with a powerful graphics card.
- Camera stuttering when navigating the Project.
- Unresponsiveness when clicking.
- Long or unstable render times.
- The screen turns white occasionally and the window displays 'Not responding'.
If your Project is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, we recommend verifying that your PC meets the system requirements for Lumion. And, importantly, that the graphics card is suitable for the level of Complexity of the Project you are working with.
Then, you can optimize the Project and adjust your settings to improve performance.
1. Verify that your PC meets the system requirements
Follow these steps to find out if your hardware is suitable for Lumion and for your Projects.
1.1: Does your PC meet the requirements for Lumion?
Follow the link below and verify if your PC meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for Lumion:
- Lumion website: System Requirements for Lumion 12
- Knowledge Base: What kind of computer does Lumion 12 need?
- Knowledge Base: Which graphics card do you need for Lumion 12?
If you find that your PC doesn't meet at least the minimum system requirements, you'll need to upgrade your hardware in order to run Lumion properly.
If the PC meets the requirements, continue to the step below.
1.2: Is your PC, especially the graphics card, suitable for your Projects?
Review that the graphics card is suitable for your Project's Complexity as in these article:
- Knowledge Base: Which graphics card do you need for Lumion 12?
See the chart in 2.2: Define a level of hardware:
- Knowledge Base: How do you Determine the 'Complexity' of your Projects
1.3: Update your system software
If you have confirmed that your PC is suitable for Lumion and your Projects, make sure that your graphics card driver and Windows version are up to date:
Also, verify that your PC has enough Virtual Memory to handle your Project. We recommend at least 50 GB, and for very complex Projects from 100 GB to 150 GB.
- Knowledge Base: How do you change the amount of Virtual Memory in Windows?
1.4: Regularly Monitor your Project's complexity using the Performance Monitor
It's a good idea to keep an eye on the Performance Monitor to avoid overloading your hardware and creating Projects too complex for your system.
As the Project gets more complex, the FPS and Memory indicators change from white then to orange, then to red for warning.
The orange indicates the moment when you should stop adding things or review the content.
When the FPS reaches red and displays directly on the monitor, then the Project has already reached a situation of slow performance, and you need to immediately review the options below.
2. Optimize your Project
Lumion does not prevent you from continually adding more content to your Project, but your hardware will only have the ability to process all that data up to a certain amount and still maintain good performance. If you keep increasing the Project's load, at some point, you will notice that the content will have an impact on screen redraws and render times.
To increase Lumions' performance in the Editor, you should keep in mind the following elements in your Project.
2.1: The number of and complexity of the Imported Models in your Project.
Imported Models have an impact on performance depending on their 3D Point Count.
The total 3D Point number is displayed in red in the Performance Monitor (top right of the screen in Build Mode), which shows how complex and heavy your Project is:
The higher the complexity of the Imported Models, the higher the 3D Point Count number will be. And the higher the 3D Point Count, the slower the Project can get.
Very complex, or too many Imported Models, for example, some trees or very detailed furniture can have a high 3D Point Count and a considerable impact on performance if they are not optimized before being imported. Lumion will warn you when you have imported a model that is too complex and likely to impact performance.
If you see the FPS counter in red, it means you have added too many and/or complex Imported Models to the Project for your hardware to handle it nicely.
In order to get better performance, you will need to simplify your models. That could include:
- Lowering the tesselation (reducing the number of faces)
- Removing redundant parts of the models that don't increase the render quality. For example, hiding or removing interior details when only an exterior animation is going to be made.
To reduce the complexity of your Imported Models and increase the FPS, follow this guide:
Important note: To save memory, Lumion creates instances of the same Imported Model, so importing a model and placing it multiple times in Lumion is much more efficient and less resource-demanding than importing a file that has that same model repeated within it.
So for example, you would get much better performance if you import a single model of a tree and place it 100 times in Lumion:
Than if you imported a single model that contains 100 of those trees.
Notice how both scenes have the exact same 3D Point Count but the latter consumes more memory and has a much lower FPS.
This is because, when you place a model several times from the Imported Model Library, it is only referencing a single model for each duplication. However, when several objects are imported in the same model file, each of those duplicated components needs to be converted to raw mesh models for Lumion, consuming more hardware resources.
2.2: The number of Library Objects in your Project.
Adding an excessive number of Library Objects to your Project will also increase the 3D Point Count and will slow down Lumion. In particular, the following Objects have a high impact on performance and should be placed with care:
Adding many Lights to your Project will increase memory usage and decrease performance. In particular, Spotlights and Omnilights increase the 3D Point Count significantly due to the shadows that need to be rendered.
If your Project is becoming slow due to the number of Spotlights and Omnilights consider lowering the shadow setting (Lamp Properties):
Or in areas whose illumination is not essential for the quality of the rendering, try to resort to Area Lights and Light Fills. Those light Objects are faster to render due to the fact that they do not cast shadows and, in consequence, there's considerably less pressure on the graphics card to render a higher 3D Point Count.
The Fine-detail Nature models are much richer than the standard nature models and other trees you can find in Lumion. For this reason, they are much heavier and can slow down performance if used excessively. We recommend using the Fine-detail Nature models sparingly, and only when you can notice the high quality of the plants in the camera view.
2.3: The quality and type of your Materials
Higher-resolution textures can provide more quality in certain cases, but require much more data to be processed per render frame resulting in a direct impact on performance.
Super-high resolution images (8-16K) require even much more data. So when the graphics card passes all the extra data back to the system for display it takes longer for the system (CPU and motherboard) to process.
Also, the amount of memory of the graphics card (the fastest form of memory), is finite - limited. If free or unused graphics card memory is not enough to accommodate textures, then the graphics card has to off-load some data to make room. Doing so slows the performance of the system, and ultimately your Project.
For example, a texture with a resolution of 4096x4096 has four times more pixels than one with a 2048x2048 resolution, which means it will have a proportionally higher impact on performance.
The maximum texture resolution supported in Lumion is 16,384x16,384 pixels, being the maximum supported on graphics cards. Some satellite map images are either 16,384x16,384 or higher. In these cases, Lumion will re-scale down all oversized textures to the maximum supported.
- For a balance in quality versus performance, you will usually find that 2048x2048 or 4096x4096 is more than enough.
- Close camera views of surfaces requiring the highest possible quality when rendering could be 4096x4096. Use sparingly.
- Or, in extreme cases higher than 4096x4096. For example, you might need to go up to 8192x8192 or 16,384x16,384 for large terrain areas when using satellite maps.
- The above guide is always depending on what memory your graphics card has.
- The number of and the resolution of your Video Textures also affect performance considerably.
- The CPU is usually only capable of processing at the most 5 videos at the same time.
Lumion (V11+) now pauses all Video Textures unless you are in Build Mode or playing a Clip. This will help with the Projects performance. However, there are still big impacts from having too many playing at the same time.
- We recommend using lower resolution textures if your PC is struggling to handle your Project.
3D Grass Material:
The 3D Grass Material consumes a high amount of memory. You should take this into consideration before assigning it to very large surfaces. If you feel the performance was affected after adding this Material, consider reducing the area for it or using Landscape Grass instead. See:
- Knowledge Base: How do you make grass render faster?
Adding lots of Foliage on many large surfaces can have an impact on screen redraws (FPS) and render times the same as for the 3D Grass Material. We recommend using this Material sparingly - that is, as small an area as is possible.
2.4: Demanding Effects in Photo, Movie, and Panorama modes.
Adding many Effects will slow down performance in the Preview window, so make sure to turn off or avoid adding any Effects that are not making any difference in the view to save available memory while working.
The following Effects, in particular, are very demanding:
The Reflection Effect
The number of Reflection Planes you use will have a direct impact on performance, given that Lumion has to render the whole Scene again for each plane you add.
If you've assigned Reflection Planes to your model in the Reflection Effect, try setting the Preview to None, so that the Planar Reflections are not calculated until you start rendering a Photo or Clip.
These settings only affect the quality (and performance) whilst in Preview.
Rendering to a Photo or Movie is still done at full settings, so consider minimizing the number of Reflection Planes.
See the article below for more information and suggestions regarding Planar Reflections in Lumion:
- Knowledge Base: How do Planar Reflections work?
The Global Illumination Effect
If you're using a Global Illumination Effect, make sure that the Preview Spotlight GI and shadows setting is turned off:
If this setting is On then all shadows are rendered at once and it will drastically reduce Preview performance. If you need to preview shadows, hold F8.
- Knowledge Base: Is there a list of all the keyboard shortcuts in Lumion 12?
Note that the number of Spotlights you have selected will also affect performance since all shadows will be displayed at the same time for that number of Spotlights.
Tip: In Movie Mode, consider using Effects in the Entire Movie instead of in each individual Clip (unless needed), as it is far easier to enable/disable them all at once for the whole movie. Apart from making it a lot easier and quicker to edit Effects once only.
3. Adjust Quality Settings
If you need to boost the framerate in Lumion, please follow these instructions:
In Lumion 11 and newer:
- Set Use proxies to On or Auto to temporarily replace models with wireframe boxes when the framerate is low:
Warning: using Proxies can allow you to add more to your Project without possibly noticing the impact on FPS. That could have the adverse effect of further allowing you to overload the Project and render performance.
In all versions of Lumion:
- Make the Lumion window smaller and/or reduce the resolution of your monitor (the fewer pixels it needs to render, the higher the framerate is).
- Or, set the Editor Resolution to a lower percentage than 100% on the Settings screen.
- Set the Editor Quality to a lower star quality on the Settings screen.
- Turn off Enable high-quality trees on the Settings screen.
In Lumion 9 and older only:
- Also turn off Enable high-quality terrain on the Settings screen.
4. Output render performance
All the Imported Models, Objects, Effects, and render settings have an impact on the time required to render the output (Photos, Movie, or Panorama). See this article for suggestions on how to improve this:
- Knowledge Base: How can you reduce rendering times?
5. Extra Tips:
- Another way of reducing the 3D Point Count and increase performance while you work is to hide Objects in Layers. You can then add the Layer Visibility Effect in Photo/Movie/Panorama Modes and turn on the Layer before rendering.
- Knowledge Base: How do Layers work?
- Knowledge Base: How do Layers work?
- If you are working on a detailed Project which has both interior and exterior scenes and your hardware is having trouble keeping up with it, consider creating a different file for each: one for interior renders and one for exterior renders. There are many options for breaking down a complex Project into smaller parts.
- When creating Projects of buildings with identical floors or serial houses, consider only adding interior detail to a single floor/house if the interiors of the rest are not going to be visible in any view.
- Consider using less complex models or use Lumion optimized Library Objects for interiors that are only seen for external views as occupying the space.
Note: These suggestions are not meant to decrease the quality of your work, rather they aim to optimize things for a minimum necessary effort that offers the maximum yield.
The information above focuses on getting the best out of Lumion with your existing hardware. However, if you have demanding, detailed, and especially highly complex Projects then you might also need to consider some changes in hardware. That may involve changing the System Memory (RAM), or changing the graphics card through to changing the whole PC.
If you are experiencing a slow performance within Lumion, don't hesitate to reach out to us and send us your PC information and Project file so we can take a close look and help you out.
- Lumion Blog: How to optimize your 3D model for faster Lumion performance
- Lumion Blog: Lumion Hardware 101: Minimum and recommended requirements for faster 3D rendering performance (2021 Update)