How Do You Add a Sun Angle in SketchUp?

Adding a sun angle in SketchUp can greatly enhance the realism of your 3D models. By adjusting the position of the sun, you can accurately simulate how light and shadows will interact with your design. In this tutorial, we will explore how to add a sun angle in SketchUp and create stunning visual effects.

Step 1: Enabling Shadows

To begin, you need to make sure that shadows are enabled in your SketchUp workspace. Go to the “View” menu and select “Shadows” from the dropdown list. This will activate the shadow feature and allow you to manipulate the sun angle.

Step 2: Adjusting Sun Position

Once shadows are enabled, you will notice a small sun icon in your toolbar. Click on this icon to open the “Shadow Settings” window. Here, you can control various parameters related to shadows and sunlight.

To adjust the sun position, click and drag the time slider or manually enter a specific date and time using the provided input fields. As you change these settings, SketchUp will dynamically update the lighting conditions in your model.

Using Geolocation

If you want to accurately simulate sunlight based on your location on Earth, you can utilize SketchUp’s geolocation feature. In the “Shadow Settings” window, click on the “Geolocation” button. Enter your address or coordinates to automatically set your location.

Step 3: Observing Shadows

Now that you have adjusted the sun position, it’s time to observe how shadows are cast on your model. To do this effectively, it is recommended to switch to a top view or an isometric view where all elements of your design are clearly visible.

The shadows cast by objects in your model will now accurately reflect the position of the virtual sun. This can give you a better understanding of how natural light interacts with your design and help you make informed decisions during the modeling process.

Step 4: Fine-tuning Sun Angle

If you are not satisfied with the initial sun angle, you can further fine-tune it to achieve the desired lighting effects. In the “Shadow Settings” window, experiment with different dates and times to observe how shadows change accordingly.

Additionally, SketchUp allows you to control the intensity of shadows using the “Darkness” slider. Adjusting this slider will make shadows darker or lighter, depending on your preference.

Using Shadow Settings for Rendering

It’s important to note that adjusting sun angle and shadows in SketchUp is not only useful for visualization purposes but also beneficial if you plan to export your model for rendering in another software. By setting up accurate lighting conditions in SketchUp, you can achieve more realistic and visually stunning renders.


Adding a sun angle in SketchUp is a simple yet powerful technique that can greatly enhance the realism of your 3D models. By carefully manipulating the position of the sun and observing how shadows interact with your design, you can create stunning visual effects that bring your models to life.

Remember to enable shadows, adjust the sun position using either manual input or geolocation, observe and fine-tune shadows, and consider these settings when rendering your model in other software. With these techniques at your disposal, you have all the tools necessary to create captivating architectural visualizations and immersive designs.