Okay I'm finishing the first commercial project this week running with Lumion. I think this is the right time for taking some time and give feedback about the feeling of Lumion in production with a certain goal, restrictions and time limits. I did the first part of a city reconstruction measuring 1,5 x 1,7 kilometers featuring water, city, lots of trees and buildings. The amount of detail has to be high because the project will also be presented from ground level. So I guess this is wide spectrum to test a tool.
First of all I really like the workflow to do the scene completly in 3dsmax and just export it in a whole. The ability to use non power oftwo textures and large sizes and formats is a big plus for me too. I use to work a lot in game-dev too so the workflow is a bit different there and much more modular in those game editors.
The performance on my GTX480 never dropped below 30fps with all objects and details in it and Lumion is responsive everytime. Only if I Alt+Tab back to 3dsmax and go back the camera gets rotated in Lumion about estimated 760° but it's easy to reorient myself.
Applying materials is fast and easy too. In most cases I don't have problems because the materials get applies after export correct and only small rework is needed.
So working with Lumion was secure and without even one crash since I opened it the first time.
Finally I also like to use the Lumion models. At first I thought they were worse but I got used too. Okay vegetation is still to fantasy like but it's okay.
But there is always room to improve.
A) The first thing which jumps to me is object selection. I don't want to be to negative about the UI and understand the arguments of delivering a intuitive UI with all features right on spot but just place 20 trees, bushes and gras near each other and try to select one of specific item and you will see what I mean. The mouse wanders from one to tree to each other and never selects what it should. I have to rotate the camera, zoom in or just try and error to get the object I want. This is taking a good amount of time which I never experienced in other tools.
I think a nice solution would be something like to only just display the small icons of a object which where the mouse is pointing on. Not all the underlaying objects too. Or maybe some scene brwoser like in 3d applications. I use "Outliner" in 3dsmax. It's a free script but this is the way I think scene managing should be done with.
B) Second thing are the terrain presets. It may be nice to have lots of snowy mountains or desert but most time I don't have jobs from the alps or even visualize an oasis.
I would like to be able to select my terrain textures for myself which is the optional thing or get more presets which are making sense.
Like in my current project a city set: Tar, green gras, some fine gravel and a forth texture. This would cover up the most parts of a city project. I think less presets for the specific and most needs of your clients would make more sense.
C) Enterable value are the third thing I would like especially for rotation and scale of vegetation. At the moment it's very random. Maybe this could be included in a nice way into the scene browser I mentioned. The scene browser could be expanded with small values for rotation/scale and the color for a car. A bit like the light explorer in 3dsmax. You can set all point light values there. Very helpful.
D) The x64 version. With a large project I always have the bad feeling of running out of ram and beeing out of business with my project. Because I would have no idea what to do if the proejct uses more then 3,5GB.
E) The last thing is a Lod/Billboard support for own vegetation or models. In small projects it's no problem to import even an onyx tree (which i don't want to do) but for bigger ones I have guess it's not the best interms of performance and usability.
So to sum it up I'm very pleased with Lumion and my partners too. We bought two licenses for now which a third coming up for one of our clients so he communicate stuff too. I also know there is a long wish-list with more or less usefull demands and noone even knows which requests will make in into Lumion next but I thought writing from my experience and giving nice feedback for the great work is worth too.