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How to Create Billboard People: Lumion 9 – 3D Render Tutorial

How to Create Billboard People: Lumion 9 – 3D Render Tutorial


Welcome to Lumion 9: Tutorial 13, about creating billboard people. Some architects like to add photographic or sketched people to their scenes. This tutorial shows you how to do that. We saw in an earlier tutorial that you can find many 3D objects in Lumion which you can add to your scene, including human figures, both static and animated, for a lively video animation. Lumion also has some categories of 2D human objects, both photographic and silhouette, on flat plains which are always facing the camera, often referred to as Billboard people. You can find them in the Character Library, “People 2D”. As you can see, when you circle around such a billboard, it rotates and always faces you. It also casts a shadow on the ground. Unlike 3D objects, the shadow on the object itself doesn’t change, so in sunlit scenes they can look a bit out of place. Some architects prefer to have human figures in their scenes with a uniform color. They distract the attention less from the actual building design, while still providing some context and size. Any photographic billboard person can be given such a uniform color as well in its object settings, which pop up when you click on the object to select it. Click On/Off and then anywhere in the color picker to set a color. With the vertical slider next to the color panel you can make the color darker or even completely black. The horizontal brightness slider can give it some Bloom. Other types in the Character Library are 3D silhouettes and 2D silhouettes. The 3D silhouettes are 3D human models completely turned black. They can be made semi-transparent and their shadows can be switched on or off. They do not face the camera. The 2D silhouette people are like the photographic billboard people, with the same options for setting the color and brightness. If you want to add other photographic billboard people to your scene, you can do it in several ways. First option is to make or find a suitable photo. As you want to cut out the background from the human, it is easiest to look for photographs with a white or uniformly colored background. Search for “people transparent PNG” or “people white background.” Another term you can use for searching is “cut-out people”. Make sure you select an image which is royalty-free by checking the website where it came from or pay the owner for the use of it. Save the picture and load it in an image editor which has an easy to use facility to cut out a background, like the free tool, Paint.Net. First, let’s isolate one human from the rest using the Rectangle Select tool. Copy and paste in a new image. Now use the Magic Wand tool, set at a low tolerance like, 10 percent, and click anywhere on the white background to select it. Cut away the background. Save the image in PNG format. Unlike JPG, it has the concept of transparency. Now start SketchUp. Import the image. Scale it to the correct dimension of around 1.7 meter. Shift the rectangle to center around the origin point. Rotate the resulting rectangle upwards. Export the object in Collada format. This object can be imported into Lumion like any other object. Another way of getting your hands on cut-out people is searching for “cut-out people” or “2D people” in the SketchUp 3D warehouse. Load, for example, this collection. Now you need to separate one person from the rest. Explode the object. Select one person. Create a component from it. Edit the component. Select one person. Export it in Collada format. Now start Lumion with your new empty scene. Import the Collada files. In the import screen, you can create a new object category, for example “Billboard people”. This will save the imports for future projects in an organized way and allow you to share them with colleagues. After you place the objects in the scene, go to the materials tab and click on the object. Set this material to type “Billboard”. That material type causes the object to always face the viewpoint or camera. Press the “O” key down while moving the mouse with the right mouse button down to circle around it. Now let’s place these imported people in the scene we were working on earlier. You can now select them from the tab “Billboard People”. In the object property box, you can colorize them just like any 2D Person object from the Lumion object library. Here are some examples of different object and render settings, like the realistic style and sunny weather. With a cloud overcast and some extra exposure. With sketch style. With a cloud overcast. Set to black and white. With the billboard people set to white. Or with watercolor style. Instead of using photographs as the basis for the billboard people you can of course also make your own sketches of people, or use other people’s sketches, for example by searching for them on Pinterest. Here are some renders of a set of five sketched people that were added to Lumion in the same way as the photographed people. You can share your self-built library of billboard people with your colleagues. Simply send a project to them which has all the objects in it. Once they open the project, the whole library is available to them for future projects. This concludes Lumion 9: Tutorial 13 about creating billboard people.

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