Visualizer’s quick natural lighting comes from using SketchUp’s built-in time-of-day and geolocation features. Having the time controls always available right in the SketchUp toolbar really makes lighting fast and fun!
Setting up the time control (and Visualizer) in your toolbar is very simple, whether on Windows or Macintosh. In the picture below, we’ve added both the Visualizer and Shadow toolbars to the basic “Getting Started” toolbar for SketchUp Make in Windows.
You can easily set this up by opening SketchUp’s menus to “View->Toolbars…” and clicking the appropriate checkboxes. The individual toolbars can be on their own rows or all in a row, as shown here -- just drag them around as you like via the little row-of-dots along the toolbar left edges.
It’s also possible to customize a specific toolbar, as shown at right in SketchUp 2014 on Macintosh. In the Mac’s SketchUp menu, open “View->Customizer Toolbar…” and select tools from the big list. On a default setup, you’ll find the shadow controls right at the top, and the Visualizer button right at the bottom. Adding both to any toolbar, as shown, will ensure you have Visualizer just a mouse click away at any point in your work process.
Once the sliders are always handy we think you'll be surprised how useful it is to be able to toss the lighting around on your model whenever you like -- even if you've turned off SketchUp's own shadows for the sake of performance, Visualizer always presents you with a natural, shadowed view, complete with color and bounce-light effects, making it great not only for quick sketching but also instant understanding of daylight effects when doing basic building massing and daylight autonomy studies -- even in a busy, interactive session.
Here's an extra little-known tip about these toolbar sliders for calendar and hour: if you've touched them and you have a mouse with a middle-button scroll wheel, scrolling will affect the precise settings for a specific day or time of day -- just in case you really need to align for the spring equinox in central England, or 9AM on June 25th in Chicago.