Solar North - Scene/Model

Hi All,
I have been using Solar North (SN) for a long time. The issue has always been that it is locked into the scene (once saved), but not the model. An I missing something here? If you’re working in a model (Geo-positioned or not) the model’s orientation and therefore the position of north will not change and should not be scene dependant.

Do you set the north before of after creating any scene? If you do it before it should be the same for all the scenes you create after that.

Thanks for the reply; I have a template that I use with pre-defined scenes. The north angle is set as a default. If I change the angle and save the model (without updating the scene) the angle reverts back to the default. If I update the scene, it only saves the angle in that scene.

This is wrong in that, no matter what the scene the model will always have the same orientation. It would be like adding a window to a wall in one scene and it not being there in any other.

Not really, the solar north isn’t like modifying the model, it behaves like shadows, you can have different shadow settings on every scene, if you have a template with scenes you’ll have to set the north and update on every scene if you want it to be consistent, if you create a new scene beside the default ones you have you won´t have to set the north again cause the new scene will be created from a scene where the north is already placed as you want.

Like style setting, tag visibility setting and other scene properties, the Soalr North settings are per scene thing. If you want to change any of the scene properties to match in a scenes, update all of the scenes. Update the Shadow settings for all of the scenes in one step.

If I remember right, scenes that are part of an animation keep the same solar north setting. The option to have different shadow orientations per scene is useful for instance for creating traditional standard 45 degree shadows for elevations.

Thanks one and all; Yes, I understand the options of creating various shadows on a model and we’re primarily discussing buildings here. But north is always north, otherwise we may as well stop using GPS to find our ways home. That said, it would be a natural step to have a “lock all scenes” option to lock north in so as not to have to change a template every time (that’s why we have templates after all).

Or, alternatively, have a plugin that forces north to the entire model and resulting scenes.

By default North is in the direction of the solid green axis. That’s north when you geolocate your model using Add Location. You really shouldn’t need to be setting north manually.

So, I guess the work-around or correct way to model (if north is imperative) is to orient the model to the green axis (ie north) before starting anything.

Shouldn’t be considered a work around. It’s not like north is normally in some random direction. If you were going to use the Add Location feature the terrain and location images are going to come in oriented so north is along the default solid gree axis. You can change the orientation of the model axes if you want without affecting north. Maybe that would be your better and easier choice.

Thanks DaveR. Yes, work-around was a poor choice of words. I rarely Geo-locate the model as Google Earth’s terrain is too inaccurate for micro work like single dwelling, etc.

It isn’t Google Earth’s terrain but no matter. You might as well use what already exists instead of working harder to set something that doesn’t need to be set in the first place.

When I do a building, my work flow is to have two models: The building is created in one model file for just the building, and I use solar north if I need accurate shadow (typically for interiors only). The axis orientation is whatever makes sense for the form of the building. The building is made into a component and saved out as a separate component file. The site model is another file using the green axis for north or else geolocated, and the building component is inserted from disk. When changes are made to the building, it’s resaved and the component in the site model updated from disk like a reference file.

Bottom line: I DO use solar north for the building file, and I DON"T use solar north for the site model.


What I do when I need to have the north placed on the right direction, is set it before anything I do, that way when I create a scene it will keep the solar north information, and the same for all the scenes I create, but if you have a template with default scenes you should change the north on every scene and then update the scenes, it can be cumbersome but it’s the only way to get the right angle of the sun on every scene you have. It could be easier to delete the scenes set the north and create the scenes again.

1 Like

Hi RTCool & francisquitof, All great advice. Yes, I generally use the RTCool method in larger and more complex projects. It’s all about how you organise your work-flow. Thanks for all the comments.

1 Like

I am probably wrong, but you could probably set up a North with GeoLocation - and name it TRUE NORTH, which you can save in a scene, and then use SolarNorth to set up many different Norths. I sometimes use shadows to enhance the geometry rather than demonstrate real shadows.

I always unclick “unable scene transition” to begin with (VIEW>ANIMATION), so all different NORTH can be saved on different SCENES. I set up the scenes and shadows manually and if I want to change the shadow to match another scene, I just refresh the shadow settings following the SHADOW SCENE I want to match.

I can’t seem to get it to behave as you describe. Is that a 2023 thing? (I’m on 2022) When I change north, it’s the same for all scenes.

1 Like

I’m not sure about drawing off-axis to work with Solar North; this brought me undone way back when and has taken many a prisoner.

It is a workflow thing, as changing the model axis mid-draw or in a template with existing geometry can also yield results that can be devastating. In most instances, I change the solar north and then create the scenes; this way, “copy-paste in place” works, and I can use pre-drawn vignettes in templates if required.

I understand the complaint, but I do not see Solar north changing when scenes change. The only thing that may change is the time associated with the scene when it was saved. As far as I can tell Solar North is a fixed entity unless changed yet The shadows also change across all saved scenes when it is changed… I know that scene creation is time-consuming, and updating scenes can be a pain when doing it manually.

Guys, I always use a plugin to create and delete scenes. I can do it in bulk, and it saves me hours upon hours of work and frustration. I only create unique scenes when doing a client walk-through or showing subcontractors’ project/site-specific details.

PlusDesignBuild and PlusArchitect have a scene creator and modifier toolset that enable users to modify the imported GEO map and it allows users to choose Solar North. The Plugins also create elevations, sections, styles, tags, tag folders and shadow diagrams according to the geolocation and its Solstice. Creating scenes and styles and coordinating hidden Tags (layers) & geometry can be a pain and was one of the biggest problems I had when I was learning, so I developed it out. That is all well and good if you use Sketchup every day for designing, building and documenting, but if it is just designing 2 or 3 jobs a year without estimating, the plugin’s cost won’t be justified.

Let me know if you want to see a video showing how I do it. I assume I can post it here.

1 Like

It should be more of a pre-2023 thing if anything changed at all. It used to have to do with scenes transition time settings being disabled and/or set to zero.

1 Like

Ok, that seems to have unlocked the trick. Is “Shadow Settings” the critical property to check? Haven’t experimented yet, but if everything else is unchecked would that change north without changing the other properties?