Lumen in UE5: Let there be light!

Paulo Souza
Lumen is Unreal Engine 5’s new dynamic Global Illumination and reflections system, targeted at next-generation consoles. It is the result of years of work from the team at Epic to bring real-time Global Illumination and reflections to Unreal Engine.

We believe that the next-generation of games and simulations will need advanced lighting, such as time of day or lighting that reacts to world changes. The CGI industry has been pursuing a definitive solution for real-time Global Illumination and reflections for decades, which is why real-time GI has been called the “holy grail” of computer graphics.
Lumen uses a fully dynamic indirect lighting pipeline, which means that the scene geometry, material, and light properties can change at any time. Because of that, Lumen greatly improves artists' workflow. Not only does this mean lighting updates instantly, but it also removes the wait for build times to get to final lighting quality. In addition to that, Lumen-lit scenes need no reflection cubemaps, since Lumen fully replaces other methods and is able to render geometrically precise reflections.

In this video, Paulo Souza, Epic Games Evangelist for Latin America and Brazil, takes you through all of Lumen’s features and provides a high-level overview of how it works. He will also show tips on how to improve lighting and reflection quality, along with some of the best practices to make your Unreal Engine 5 scenes shine.

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    If you’re an existing Unreal Engine user, you can get UE5 Early Access and the Valley of the Ancient sample project from the Epic Games Launcher. If you’re new to Unreal Engine, we suggest getting to know UE 4.26 as a first step.