Feature Spotlight: Sky Light, Soft Shadows and Fine Detail Shadows

Nov 21, 2017 | Lumion, Uncategorized


Light and shadow: get them just right, and rendered images and videos “pop” with realistically textured materials and a sense of depth and space. 


Rendering a visually striking, authentic-looking image with a balance of light and shadow used to take hours, even days. With the old lighting and shadow methods, you were almost guaranteed some sweat and tears in pursuit of realism and lighting accuracy.

That was the old days. 

Now, with Lumion 8, you can instantly heighten your image’s sense of environment, realism and depth with the new Sky Light daylight simulator, the Soft Shadows feature and the Fine Detail Shadows feature.


In the two images above, notice how these new technologies enhance textures and detail while expanding the three-dimensional space and feeling of structures.

In this post, you’ll explore these cutting-edge Lumion 8 features and discover how you can best apply them to your renders. 

Sky Light Daylight Simulation

If the Styles button brings the power of Lumion 8 together, then a huge portion of this “power” comes from the innovative new lighting and shadow technologies: the Sky Light effect and the Soft and Fine Shadow features.

Sky Light is a one-touch, advanced daylight simulation effect engineered to immediately heighten your image’s sense of environment, realism and depth. You can find this feature in Lumion’s photo or video mode effects, under the “Light and Shadow” category.

To get a better understanding of how Sky Light reacts with your scene, consider this image with the Sky Light turned off:


Compared to the following image with the Sky Light turned on:


Sky Light softens and disperses the scene’s environmental lighting. It gathers light from several angles across the sky and leverages them to drive realism and enhance shadow shading, depth, colors and textures across the scene.

The above video opens up with the Sky Light feature turned off. Halfway through, we turn the Sky Light on. Watch as foliage and trees become photorealistic, and discover as people, buildings and landscapes suddenly look like they belong where they are.

There is also an option to turn on the Sky Light in your planar reflections, and you can toggle the Sky Light Render Quality from Normal to High (these options are amazing for image quality, but doing this can slow down rendering speeds). 

By toggling the Sky Light brightness and saturation sliders, you can impact the light and shadow color as well as density. 

No Sky Light Brightness vs. Full Sky Light Brightness


No Sky Light Saturation vs. Full Sky Light Saturation


Depth and Realism With Soft and Fine Shadows

The other pillar of the cutting-edge rendering technology found in Lumion 8 is the new Soft and Fine Shadow feature. When used in combination with Sky Light, the results are purely astonishing in their ability to communicate a texturized, three-dimensional depth and space.


Instantly, the shadows become softer, the penumbras grow. Hundreds of fine detail shadows are enriched and a realistic sense of depth permeates the image.

You’ll find the Soft and Fine Shadow options within the Shadow Effect (in the “Light and Shadow” category of Lumion’s photo or video mode).


As you can see, Soft Shadows and Fine Detail Shadows are two separate technologies. Although you may find value in turning both settings on for all of your renders, these features individually target different shadow elements of the scene.


Pointing the spotlight at the Soft Shadow feature, it blurs the edges of shadows to simulate realistic penumbras and highlight different types of shadows, including form shadows and cast shadows.

Additionally, the softness of the shadow is determined by multiple factors, from the height of the object, the length of the shadow and the height of the sun.


The Fine Detail Shadow feature, on the other hand, targets all of those micro shadows you’d find on the edges of leaves and grass. It also targets the halftones on objects and textures.


By using the Sky Light with the Soft and Fine Shadows, you can instantly get the lighting and shadows optimized as you view your unbuilt design looking uncannily like the real thing.

Create beautiful lighting in an instant with Lumion 8

Casting your model in beautiful, realistic light has never been easier with Sky Light and the Soft and Fine Detail Shadows. They are part of the Styles effects, but you can also find them in the Photo or Video mode effects.

Looking to take your rendering experience and output quality to a whole new level? Order or upgrade your license to Lumion 8 at Lumion.com/buy.