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  • Orbitae Films

Exploring Luma AI: Recreating 3D Worlds with a Smartphone

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Luma AI, developed by Luma Labs, is a cutting-edge technology that focuses on creating realistic 3D images from both photographs and video with “unmatched photorealism, reflections, and details”, as described in their website.

Luma AI: Our final render, with added elements for ambiance.

This technology aims to revolutionize the future of visual effects and make it accessible to everyone. Luma AI offers an iOS app that allows users to capture products, objects, landscapes and scenes using just an iPhone 11 or newer, without the need for Lidar or any specialized equipment. Luma AI has also introduced an Unreal Engine alpha that features fully volumetric Luma NeRFs running in real-time in UE 5, allowing for incredible cinematic shots and experiences.

So, we definitely had to try it! We recently experimented with this technology to recreate a parking lot using just a video filmed with an iPhone. The results left us nothing short of amazed. Due to our imprecise filming, the software gave a dreamy, otherworldly feel to the final scene, which turned out to be an unexpected yet enchanting outcome for us.

Luma AI: NeRF video output

To further enhance the scene, we incorporated additional elements such as ambient lighting, garbage, chains, and other items to give it a more immersive and realistic feel. Finally, we gave it a Michael Myers-esque vibe, by putting our astronaut character lurking in the dark, because… well why not?

As creators who frequently work with 3D environments, we are already stoked about how Luma AI can positively impact our work processes and projects. The software's ability to transform 2D images into detailed (and potentially surreal) 3D spaces opens up a myriad of possibilities for us to explore. The ease of use and accessibility of the technology make it an invaluable tool for artists, filmmakers and designers alike. The time and resources saved through using Luma AI can be redirected towards perfecting other aspects of a project, making the creative process more efficient and enjoyable.

Although it is already incredible what Luma AI can achieve, it is important to remember that it is still a tool in development. Here are a few of the downsides we found: First, the geometry requires an extensive cleanup process in order to be usable. Additionally, the textures are low-resolution, which results in a blurry effect. If you're looking for a hyper-realistic result, it's not yet production-ready for #VFX applications or visualizations. However, you can still find creative ways to use the outcome!

In our case, we harnessed the ethereal aspect we ended up with to create an atmospheric scene. Needless to say, that we already have some ideas in the works that will make good use of this tool.

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