Soft Shadows is a tool in NprTools to create an image from SketchUp with softer shadows from the sun.
This is accomplished by merging images with sun sun set to slsightly different dates and times.
Quick Setup Tab
To get started, select a softness and coarseness below.
Use Medium and Medium for your first trial - it will merge about 25 images.
Sketchy Shadows do not work on the ground plane - you must have a face to cast Sketchy Shadows onto.
Use other tabs for more advanced settings.
Presets The Shadows Tab provides a set of presets for Softness and Width of the shadow images.
- Shadow Softness - None, Coarse, Medium, Smooth or Custom - sets number of iterations.
- Shadow Spread - Narrow, Medium, Wide or Custom - sets days and time to process.
- See: Soft Shadow Presets for examples
Quick Shadow Mode
- Soft Shadows - creates a soft shadow with a solid color.
- Sketchy Shadows - creates a default Sketchy Shadow
- Use Advanced - uses advanced settings from the Shadows or Patterns Tab.
Soft Shadows Tab
Presets - see Quick Setup above.
- Shadows and surfaces in shade - all areas not in direct sun will be treated as shadowed areas.
- Shadows only - only areas which have full shadows when the sun is on will be processed.
- See: Full Shadows below.
- None - all shadows are merged to create the soft shadow image.
- Shadows only - mask to original shadow area
- Will only soften shadows where shadows appear in original image.
- (Otherwise soft shadows will make the overall shadow area larger.)
- Sun Only - soft shadows are only processed in areas originally not in shadow.
- Normal - apply color or pattern to shadows
- Inverse - white patterns to non-shadow areas
- Both - apply color of pattern to all areas
Darkness/Opacity This changes the darkness of the shadows. the shadow pattern will be partially transparent, allowing the colors below it to bleed through.
Wash out base image Makes the base image lighter, before applying the shadow texture.
- Number of iterations for date and time
- If you enter 5, then 25 ( 5 x 5) images will be blended - with 5 different dates and 5 different times.
- Date increment (days) - Number of days separation for each iteration.
- If set to 0, then date iterations will not be used.
- You can set it to a fraction, such as 0.5. This will create fewer date iterations. (You cannot move by 1/2 day, but the iterations with the same date will be skipped)
- Time increment (minutes) - Number of minutes separation for each iteration.
- If set to 0, then time iterations will not be used.
SkethUp Watermark Styles
Use only full shadows
You can specify a Chipboard texture, or you can select an image to use as a texture. The texture image will be applied to the shadows directly, and not applied to the surfaces in your model. This means that the texture will not rotate to match surfaces, and will not get smaller in the distance.
Here is a sample of a Soft Shadow pattern, and a similar Sketchy Shadow material.
Masking to original shadow area
Sometimes when you add a lot of days or time, the soft shadows start to get to wide. You can specify that the soft shadows are restricted to the original shadow shape. This lets you create very soft shadows in large areas by masking the shadows to the original shadow area.
Check Mask to original shadow area to achieve this effect.
Similar to the idea of masking the Soft Shadow effect to the original shadow area, is the ability to mask it to the original area not in shadows. This works best with interior images.
You can use this to make a shadow study showing average shadows for the year
Use with Sketchy Shadows
Soft Shadows can also be used with Sketchy Shadows to soften the Sketchy Shadow patterns.