Chapter 11. Adding Shadows and Placing Your Model in Google Earth

As mentioned earlier, some challenges come with using a two-dimensional tool (your computer screen) to build and display three-dimensional models. This chapter focuses on a great, easy-to-use tool that makes it easier to meet the challenge and makes your models look great—shadows. You may not think about it in your day-to-day life, but shadows provide a ton of visual information about distance, position, and depth. You instinctively process that information to cope with your three-dimensional environment. By adding shadows to your SketchUp models, you communicate valuable messages to your audience in a way that they instinctively understand. And of course those shadows make your models look oh-so-much cooler.

The good news is that SketchUp shadows are easy to add. You don’t need to pull out a No. 2 pencil and laboriously add shading at just the right angles to your model. You don’t even have to add and position light sources in your 3-D modeling window (as you do with other 3-D graphics programs). In SketchUp, adding shadows to your model is almost as easy as flicking a light switch.

Flicking the Light Switch

SketchUp has a single light source: the sun. It’s either on or it’s off. This simplifies using light and shadows, but you may be surprised about the level of control you have over the results. You can control the angle of shadows (Changing Shadow Angles), and you can control the strength of the shadows (Controlling ...

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