An architectural drafting tradition since the beginning of the École des Beaux-Arts is to cast shadows in elevation and section (if not plan as well) at 45° from upper left to lower right regardless of where the sun actually would be. It helps to give depth to 2D drawings, and, in fact, is scalable information about the third dimension (out of the paper); If an object projects 3 feet out from a surface, the shadow will fall 3 feet over and 3 feet down.
I’m aware TIG wrote a plugin and there are possibly other ways to mess with your model to achieve the results, but I settled on a simple method that doesn’t mess up my original model (either geolocation or other settings), and doesn’t need anything but native tools.
First off, what I do build’s on what I showed in this post about turning the entire building into a component, and then re-orienting it for different views: Don’t move the sun to it, move it to the sun. In order to leave my original model unscathed, I’ve created an empty template file with the sun set as best as possible to 45°. An open cube helps to demonstrate.
In my original model, I create a component from the building, and save out the component as a separate file to then import into the Shadow Space template document. (You can also just copy and paste)
Once there, either spread out the different orientations and make a scene to center on each, or, probably the better method, put each orientation on layers and use scenes to control layers and don’t even move the camera. This works well both with and without Layout as the scenes then import into Layout nicely.
Spaced out example:
Layout example - 4 elevations and a section in thumbnails:
This example file with a simplified temple is set for Boulder, CO:
Shadow space w Temple|2017.skp (567.2 KB)
P.S. I was almost going to present this at 3D Basecamp during the Hot Seat session, but the session ran long, and I chickened out and let it go. I’ve been meaning to put it here ever since, but @hank’s post on making shadows on the ceiling finally prompted me to do so. The example file even has shadows on the ceiling plan.