Can't find any good shadow analysis plugins: (Requesting development)

Hi there! Anyone know of any good shadow analysis plugins or online simulation tools where I can import my 3d model? I’m specifically looking for something that applies a coloured gradient to my model to show the different hours of sun exposure on my buildings. If you don’t know of any options, wondering if anyone could share how they accomplish a detailed sun analysis? I would love the insight. I know there are:

  • Sun hours
  • Shadow analysis 2
  • Dl light
  • Shadedat

I’ve tried all the plugins that would be useful in my case on the extension warehouse and tried searching online for online simulation options. I can’t find anything. The Dl light plugin is the only one I haven’t tried but I don’t need an $800 CAD currency option to just see a gradient of sun exposure on my model. I also don’t want to do this in photo shop. The shadow analysis plugin takes FOREVER to load a render, like 1 hour on very simple gemoetry of a home with just walls, roof, floor etc and no internal parts, just simple geometry. Shadedat doesn’t work properly, sun hours looks terrible and isn’t something I’d use for presentation…

I know there is sefeira but it’s overkill for what I need. It’s hard for me to believe that we are in 2021 and nobody has made a good shadow analyis plugin (gradient style) for designers?.. Please help developers!

I think if someone could make a useable program that was fast it would be pretty awesome… The only plugin I like so far is shadow analysis but it’s just so so slow…


Have you tried this one:

Thank you Mike! I did, that’s the one in my list there “Shadow Analysis 2”. It is a great plugin, it takes forever to load… Not sure atm if it’s worth the waiting time or not, maybe it is. Do you have any thoughts on using that plugin, how it might be useful? Since it takes some time to load, I wonder if it’s only useful for final presenation in layout. I’m wondering if the data would be useful enough to check my sketchup model in each schematic deisgn option I’m providing and once I’ve got the sd version drawn up I could gain valuable insight. Just wondering though if it’s worth waiting a 1 + hour for the analysis where as instead in a much shorter time I could just navigate the model and seeing what areas are lit up using the native shadow tools and time of day slider… Not really sure what to do atm…

Dear Araya, can you tell me more about the problems you have experienced with Shadow Analysis. Maybe the video below will help. Please pay attention to the analysis provision, it is impacting the speed of the analysis singificantly.

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Hey @janiaktomasz . I emailed you about this. Here’s my comments again:

It’s taken over 1 hour to render a conceptual rough house model with only one wall thickness, roof, floor, very simple geometry. (See image at bottom of message)

I think for the price you offer and what your plugin does, that you have the best solar plugin available right now, but I think it’s way too slow. I want to render my model out using 0.2m accuracy when I use your tool and it takes as I mentioned, too long, too long for a simple model, I can’t imagine a complex model…

I shouldn’t have to change my accuracy from 0.2 to higher to achieve higher rendering times to solve the speed problem, because I need high accuracy so the solution to setting from 0.2m for example to 1m is not an option for me. Are there any other solutions?

Could you perhaps provide a summary of tangible reasons why I would want to wait such long times? If I did wait for a long time to render each model, what am I really getting in return? So far I think I can only use your model for presentation in the final layout phase, but I want to use this for analysis as I design. If I have to wait 1 hour or more though, it makes more sense to just watch the shadows over time using the native sketchup slider and not use your tool because I could get faster results using the native tools for analysis.

Wondering if you can provide a summary of some good reasons why I might want to wait for the renders to finish, what value will it give me? I’m willing to wait if you could provide some value to the waiting times.

The workflow we had in mind when developing this plugin was that you would start with a rough model (small level of details) and a rough analysis for example 2m precision. This will work very fast and provide you with a general understanding of the problem, and it should allow you to identify problematic areas.
When you are adding details to your project you can increase the precision of the analysis and start using analysis material to analyze only problematic areas. This way you will get more precise results for your problem areas and keep analysis time low by not analyzing areas you know are fine.
When you come to a conclusion that your design if finished you would make a full detailed analysis of the whole project, it will be slow but now you are done and can take a break while the computer is doing your final rendering.
Please let me know if this workflow sounds sensible for you?

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I think this is awesome! I’ve managed to cut my times down quite a bit actually so thank you for your help! I think this is the best plugin out there for the value and what it offers. I really hope you continue to develop it and increase the rendering speeds somehow, if possible. I think you have a winnder here and I really appreciate your response, it helps me to figure out how I can utilize this as a tool in my design process. In your tools settings, 0.1m is the lowest precision I can choose, pretty awesome, found it quite slow though at that accuracy. If I use 0.4 it works quite well, about 10 minutes or less for a deatailed result, even faster if I decrease the accuracy range by choosing higher distances, 1m, 2m as you say.

I hope this thread helps someone down the road when they too are looking for a sun analysis tool. Cheers