How Do You Set Shadow Time in SketchUp?

Setting the shadow time in SketchUp is a useful feature that allows you to control the lighting conditions of your 3D models. Whether you want to simulate a specific time of day or create dramatic effects, adjusting the shadow time can greatly enhance the realism of your designs. In this tutorial, we will explore the steps to set the shadow time in SketchUp.

Step 1: Opening the Shadows Window

To begin, launch SketchUp and open your desired model. Next, go to the “Window” menu and select “Shadows” from the dropdown list. This will open the Shadows window, where you can manipulate various shadow settings.

Step 2: Enabling Shadows

Before we dive into setting the specific time for shadows, make sure that shadows are enabled in your model. In the Shadows window, check the box next to “Display Shadows.” This will activate shadow casting and allow you to see changes in real-time as you adjust settings.

Step 3: Adjusting Shadow Time

Now comes the exciting part – adjusting the shadow time! In SketchUp, you can set any desired time of day for your model. To do this, locate the “Time” section within the Shadows window.

Option 1: Manual Input

One way to set a specific shadow time is by manually entering it into the input box. Click on the hour digits and type in a two-digit number ranging from 00 to 23 for hours (24-hour format). Then, click on the minutes digits and type in a two-digit number ranging from 00 to 59 for minutes.

For example, if you want your model’s shadows to represent 5:30 PM, enter “17” as hours and “30” as minutes.

Option 2: Slider Control

If you prefer a more visual approach, SketchUp also provides a slider control to adjust the shadow time. Simply click and drag the slider left or right to change the time. This method allows for quick experimentation and real-time visualization of shadows at different times of the day.

Step 4: Customizing Shadow Settings

In addition to setting the shadow time, SketchUp offers other options to further customize your shadows. Below the time controls, you will find settings for “Dark,” “Light,” and “Light + Shadows.” These sliders allow you to control the intensity of shadows in your model.

  • Dark: Move this slider to the left to darken your model’s shadows.
  • Light: Move this slider to the right to lighten your model’s shadows.
  • Light + Shadows: Adjusting this slider simultaneously affects both lightness and darkness in your model’s shadows.

Feel free to experiment with these settings until you achieve the desired shadow effect for your project.

Step 5: Applying Real-World Dates

Apart from manually inputting a specific time, SketchUp also allows you to apply real-world dates for accurate lighting simulation. To enable this feature, click on “Date & Time” in the Shadows window.

  • Date: Select a specific date from the calendar dropdown menu.
  • Timezone: Choose your local timezone or any other desired timezone.

With real-world dates applied, SketchUp will automatically calculate and adjust shadows based on geographical location and local time.


You have successfully learned how to set shadow time in SketchUp! By manipulating shadow settings, you can achieve realistic lighting conditions in your 3D models. Whether it’s a bright sunny day or a moody evening scene, SketchUp provides the tools to bring your creations to life.

Remember to experiment with different settings and explore the possibilities of shadows in SketchUp. Happy designing!