Ground Shadows

Getting a solid shadow on the  ground gives a scene a real sense of solidity and place. An important addition to Version 1.1 of Visualizer is the ability to draw shadows on the "ground" -- even if you never explicitly added "ground" geometry to your scene! This matches (and in some ways, improves) SketchUp's own shadowing behavior. Let's take a look at two pictures, first in the regular SketchUp display and then the Visualizer view:

Nice clean shadow on the ground, and all the shadowed volumes within the house are also nicely defined in Visualizer (in SketchUp, they just get a flat color).

Improved Ground-Shadow Placement

If you are used to showing SketchUp's standard shadows on models like this house, you may be familar with a little SketchUp error; an error that Visualizer solves automatically.

SketchUp's shadow always falls on a height of exactly zero -- even if the model extends below. So if the house had been modeled with the interior floor at zero, rather than the base of the slab, you'd get this sort of weird result from SketchUp:

...with a bizarre plane of gray cutting through the model. This can be especially troublesome for engineering models, where the origin is a very good spot to build objects, both above and below the zero plane.

Visualizer still handles this situation! Visualizer simply always draws the shadow neatly below any model. Given the same model,  the ground still has a natural feel:

What If You Don't Want Ground Shadows?

If you're mixing your Visualizer image with other images: say, a background image of a real-world site, you may want to have only the model shown, without any shadow colors projecting past the model's boundaries. Just turn SketchUp's shadows off using the standard SketchUp controls, e.g. the "Shadows" checkmark in the SketchUp "View" menu.


The complete lighting on the model is preserved while ensuring "clean" surrounding space.

Try It Yourself!

We hope this quick post helps whet your appetite for playing with shadows in Visualizer, using both light and dark to show off the volumes of your designs! There will be even more powerful tricks using shadows revealed in a future blog post.

Not using Visualizer yet? Start a free trial today and remember that Visualizer costs just $19.99 -- just once, no hidden charges or subscriptions required. If you already use SketchUp, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot!