Luminate Studios Focuses on 3D and Virtual Reality

By Jane Whitttington on May 21st, 2016 / Comments

Ben Mitchell and John Allison, co-founders of Luminate Studios in Lansing, have brought to the marketplace an innovative service which can be used to benefit of a variety of clients and customers. This 3D modeling and animation company focuses on providing photo-realistic conceptual representations of architectural projects or prototype designs.

“We work with architects, inventors, video game developers, advertising agencies, construction companies, landscapers, and real estate development companies,” Mitchell said. “Virtual reality is an up-and-coming technology that we can also develop for our clients.”

Virtual reality is a concept that has been much in the news lately although many people are unfamiliar with the term as it is used today. The website describes virtual reality as “an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment.” They go on to say that it can be used for training and education (think of a flight simulator) or simply for its entertainment value in a game or interactive story.

Among the services Luminate Studios can deliver are:

  • Photography
  • Landscape rendering
  • Rapid prototyping using 3D printers and/or 3D scan environments
  • Custom site plans in in 2D or 3D
  • Prototype animation
  • Interactive 3D creations which can be manipulated by the viewer

Mitchell says one of the biggest projects recently completed was the Beacon Soccer Field in Lansing. By creating a 3D image of the completed project they were able to help the organization secure funding and community support. Real estate development is a big market they could tap.

“We work with real estate developers to create renderings of the projects they are building—Luminate can help people see what something will look like before it is actually built,” he said. “We work with the architects and developers to create the end result they want to achieve.”

Mitchell adds, “Another example of the kind of work we do is a kitchen reconstruction model that we created for a customer who was having her kitchen remodeled but was having a hard time visualizing what the completed project would look like. We created the model using the contractor’s plans and gave the customer the ability to make changes and really see what the kitchen would look like when it was done.”

Mitchell’s background includes training in digital animation visual effects in Orlando, at a school situated on back lot of Universal. While not actually affiliated with Universal, students were able to use the facility for training purposes. Originally from the Lansing area, Mitchell went from Orlando to Minneapolis where he worked on a proposed project for the Nick Kids TV network and then spent seven years in Los Angeles working in the TV and video game industries.

Allison received a degree from Michigan State University in journalism. He is especially interested in multi-media and scientific visualization and has worked for MSU as lead animator for a planetarium show and has done various projects connected to the Large Hadron Collidor on the MSU campus. He had his own company, VizKid Design, before partnering two years ago with Mitchell to start Luminate Studios.

Currently, Luminate Studios is housed at NEO (The Center for New Enterprise Opportunity), a business incubator in Lansing.

Luminate Studios has experienced steady growth since its inception. Rapid technological change is par for the course, and both Mitchell and Allison continue to hone their skills and stay up-to-date on the latest technologies.

Mitchell says that entrepreneurs need a willingness to work hard and take risks and have the patience to allow the business to grow. He also says, “Make a commitment to getting better every day.”

For more information on the company and to take a look at what they can create, visit

About the Author

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Grand Rapids. A Michigan native and Michigan State University grad, she enjoys reading, travel, politics and volunteering.