How to Create a Shadow Effect on SoftPlan Elevations
1. Start by making your floor plan elevation-ready.
2. Next, Build and make the Elevations into drawings (SPDs).
3. Then use 3-Dimension, verify the 3D style is "texture" and regenerate. Make sure the textures are what you are wanting, Save "material" under File⇒Material File⇒Save. Name it something appropriate.
4. Change the 3D style from "Texture" to "Shaded". Click on Options⇒Mode Options.
5. The Render should be set to Software (CPU) and Enhanced and Anti Alias are checked and set high to 4.
6. Line Options is left alone.
7.Under Face Options: check Monochrome, Enable Depth Relief (this makes the shadows on textures pop out), and Emission too.
8.Leave Effects alone.
9. Under Lighting: This may be the challenge to find the right lighting in conjunction with the Sun Options. Custom is checked. Ambient Light is set to 11 and Ambient Occlusion (darker areas highlighted) is checked. Calculate All Shadows: checked. Turn Off Lights In Symbols: this is up to you, but it will show in elevation and it will help with the effect.
10. The last part of the Options is the Sun Options: for my example, I chose Anchorage, Alaska solely because of the sun location making shading on to the building. You may have to find the proper sun location or change the direction the building faces so you will have the ideal sun. This part of the process may be up for debate on "north facing elevations will not have sun", but I just want to illustrate the depth of the elevations for drawing aesthetics and not necessarily for "true" elevation shading. You may have to come back here, to the Sun Options to find the right lighting. Click OK.
11. Next, is the camera/target positioning. Click on the Camera to bring up the Camera Control.
12. Click on Edit and click on either the camera or the target (it will take you to the same Edit box).
13. It would be ideal to "move" the target (focus) to the middle of the building to give you reference to make sure you are centered.
14. It is easiest to have the "Camera" X and Z the same for the Elevation appearance. My example is 7’, yours may be different. Do the same for the target (focus) too.
15. The camera Y must be as far away as possible without the Field Of View being too large. The smallest you can do this to is 1 degree.
16. Click OK and verify the look of the elevation.
17. This example shows the brick texture. However, you will not be able to Paint the elevation because of the size of the paint pattern and the size of the textures will not match. So it is ideal to know if you will USE the texture as shown above or use the Paint command when we finally do the elevations.
18. Now it is time to save the elevation. I personally NEVER use the screen’s elevation, I always go into Options⇒OUTPUT Options and click on Output to File and set high (the higher the better), 4096 pixels is minimum suggested.
19. Open up your drawing of the Front elevation.
20. Clean up the elevations by adding in missing lines, replacing 3D symbols with 2D symbols, and add a dimension across the front JUST to verify the size, this will help with the adding of the image.
21. After cleaning up the elevations, you go to File⇒Import⇒Image. Find your image you saved (will be located where your SPDs are), you MUST crop your images to be as tight as possible. To do this, you need to open art program. PhotoShop is one program that would be the easiest. The Window’s free program "Paint" may work too.
22. Go back to SoftPlan and open up an elevation.
23. Go to File⇒Import⇒Image and frame in your elevation (for the most advanced users, you can import it into a new drawing and use Multi-Drawing to keep them separate.
24. Add in your Paint, dimension and anything else you need to make this into a proper elevation.
Find the look that is right for you.