Displaying a Structure's Shadow in Floor Plan View in Home Designer Pro

Reference Number: KB-00489
Last Modified: July 16, 2015

The information in this article applies to:

Home Designer Professional cover


How can I show where the shadows fall in floor plan view?


By placing a Sun Angle line, you can create a shadow to be displayed by a building both on floor plan and in rendered views. The length and angle of the shadow can be made to simulate how a real shadow might be cast by specifying the location, date, and time in the Sun Angle's specifications.

A Sun Angle arrow is a marker that displays in floor plan view and indicates the angle of the sun at a specific time and location on the Earth. Multiple Sun Angles can be created in floor plan view, each with different specifications.

Sun Angles are parallel light sources. Their location and direction are defined per plan. Place a North Pointer  to accurately define the Sun's location relative to the model.

To create a Sun Angle and display a shadow in plan view

  1. Since Sun Angles can only be created on either the Foundation or 1st Floor, be sure that you are on one of these floors in plan view.

  2. Select CAD> Lines> Sun Angle  and click in the drawing area where you want the Sun Angle to be displayed.

  3. In the Sun Angle Specification dialog that appears, specify the Sun Angle's information.

    the Earth Data panel:

  • Specify the Latitude and Longitude of the location where the building is or will be built.

  • Specify the DateTime, and Time Zone to set the appropriate location of the sun in the sky.

  • Specify the Length of Plan Symbol to change the size of the Sun Angle arrow on the plan.

  • Check Show Date on Sun Angle to display the date and time next to the Sun Angle arrow. This is checked by default.

  • Check Auto Rebuild Terrain to rebuild the terrain automatically whenever you create a sun shadow. This is checked by default.

  • Click Make Shadow or Delete Shadow to generate or remove the shadow from the plan view.

  • Click OK to close the Sun Angle Specification dialog.

  • If no Terrain Perimeter has been created, shadows fall on an imaginary plane at height of 0", the default height for the first floor. 

    If a Terrain Perimeter exists, shadows are modified to indicate where the real shadow would fall on the actual terrain.

    Multiple Sun Angles can be placed in the same plan.  This allows the simultaneous display of shadows cast at different times in floor plan view, however only one will display in camera views.

    You can specify different line colors and/or fill styles for shadows cast by multiple Sun Angles in the Sun Angle Specification dialog.

When rendering an exterior view, the program looks for any Sun Angles that are turned on in order to determine lighting and shadow generation; a Sun Angle's light data and shadow can be toggled in the Sun Angle Specification dialog. If a Sun Angle does not exist, the program uses the Default Sun.

To control whether to use the Default Sun, or a specific Sun Angle,  3D> Lighting> Toggle Sunlight  controls the display of either the Default Sun or the current Sun Angle as a source of light.

Once a sun angle has been created, shadows can be displayed.

To display shadows created by a Sun Angle in camera views

  1. Navigate to Edit> PreferencesOn the Render panel check Show Shadows under Preview Options and/or Final View Options

    Note: Preview Options affect how standard views will render, while Final View Options will only affect the rendered views when a Final View is toggled from the 3D> Camera View Options menu.

  2. Click OK.

If shadows are not being displayed, select the appropriate Sun Angle, click the Open Object edit button, and on the Lighting Data panel of the Sun Angle Specification dialog, make sure that Casts Shadows is checked.