Friday, December 29, 2017

Accurate Shadows in Plan View

While in a floor plan view, when Revit's Shadows are turned on, they are projected based on the cut plane set in View Range - as if someone took a chainsaw, or lightsaber, and cut off and removed the upper portion of the building.

There is a way to get a plan-like view with the correct looking shadows, but there are limitations.

Read on to learn more...
The next two images show what most are used to seeing when looking at a floor plan view when shadows are turned on. The first image is at Level 5 (podium) and the second is Level 6 (tower).

Here is a 3D view of the project I am using for this disucssion.

The normal floor plan view, as already mentioned, does not portray the shadows accurately... however, they do offer a nice aesthetic effect in some cases. There is no way (that I know of) to get the shadows to look correct in a floor plan view. However, we can create a special 3D view that will look like a floor plan with the shadows showing accurately. Of course, this means grids and rooms cannot appear in the view.

To create the "special" 3D view, go to a section and start the Camera command. Then, un-check to Perspective option on the Options Bar as shown in the image below. Then, click a point where you want the cut plane to be, and then another point straight down (you need a steady hand for the second click).

In this new camera view you can turn on shadows and adjust the time of day. You can also use the Single-Day and Multi-Day options, in Sun Settings, to animate the shadows - which can even be exported to a video file. Check out a similar post by The Revit Kid here.
FYI: I think my graphics card or driver is what is causing the odd looking shadows in some areas (my laptop has a GTX 1070 in it).

A final note... when exporting your Revit model to Enscape, if you apply a Section Box to the view Enscape is using, the Enscape view will reflect that change and show the shadows incorrectly, as if the building was missing. Just like I mentioned above with the normal Revit floor plans.

However, when using SketchUp with Enscape, when a section plane is added, the Enscape model updates, but the shadows are still projected correctly:) Speaking of SketchUp, watch out for my Enscape blog post on using SketchUp with Enscape!

Fun stuff!


  1. Try this ???

  2. Sure, another way to do it in perspective mode. The way I show is meant to look like a floor plan. Thanks for sharing.


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