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Entity Shadow Controls

Visualizer works hard to emulate natural light -- which is usually exactly what you need to make a great photo.

Yet sometimes, as any studio photographer might tell you, natural light needs a little artistic help. That's why for >Visualizer Version 1.1, we've added support for SketchUp's Entity-level shadowing controls: both shadow-cast and shadow-receiving controls work in the expected ways.

If you already know what we mean by "per-entity shadow control," you already know most everything you need to know! If not, let us explain with a few quick pictures, rather than merely sending you to SketchUp's own manual page (which is great, but: we have pictures!).

Let's start with a super-simple model: Sophie and a few of her favorite blocks. We have ground shadows shown, too.

Here's the view in both the regular SketchUp display and Visualizer. Nothing surprising:

Now let's select that purple block next to Sophie, and then call up "Entity Info" from the SketchUp "Window" menu.

See the two checkboxes for shadow control, labeled "Cast Shadows" and "Receive Shadows"?

Let's turn off "Cast Shadows" for the purple block...

Just like that, the purple block's shadow is removed from the scene, in both Visualizer and SketchUp alike!

Likewise, let's select the long blue block on the ground, look at its "Entity Info," and turn off "Receives Shadows":

Now the blue block is still casting a shadow on the ground... but the shadows from the other blocks and Sophie? Gone!

What's this good for?

A common use for this effect is to add surfaces containing special textures like logos or backgrounds from site-specific windows. In the picture below, we'll add a rectangle textured with a photo of a sunrise, then turn off both cast and receive shadows so that the toy trucks in the foreground still get direct sunlight:

The background sunset here is created using a non-shadowing textured rectangle

If the textured rectangle casts shadows, the trucks have no direct shadows of their own

While not for every scene, you can use the shadow controls to add complex backgrounds and window details, extra scale markers, full-color annotations and studio logos, get extra light into tough-to-see parts of your model, cover-up awkward holes, and more.