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SolarTool: Sketch Panel

Controls in the SKETCH OPTIONS panel

The Sketch Options panel sits within the 3D Window Model and controls the sketchiness options in the rendered model. You can open and/or close this panel by clicking in its title area. If you click on the status icon on the right-hand side, the panel will open/close without affecting any of the other panels around it.

Ways to interactively change numeric values

Editing Numeric Values

When editing any of the numeric values in this panel, you can use the PageUp/PageDn keys or the mouse wheel to increment/decrement the current value whenever the edit box has the input focus. Holding down the Shift and Control keys will increase or decrease the current increment/decrement values. If you manually enter a new value, remember to hit the Enter key to apply your changes to the model.

Sketch Outlines

As SolarTool is a conceptual design tool, most of the projects it is used on will likely be preliminary design ideas and relatively unfinished. In order to convey this effectively in the presentation of both visualisations and calculation results, it is possible to introduce elements of randomness within the image in order to make it appear more sketch-like. In this way the viewer is invited to invest their own imagination into the design instead of viewing it as a complete and finished product. Options in the Sketch Options section allow you to control some aspects of this.


This value controls the maximum random displacement applied to points within the model when Sketch Outlines are enabled. It is given in world coordinates and then optionally scaled to fit the current view. This value is affected by the Scale Lines to View option described above.

Line Multiplier

Determines the number of time each line is drawn. Obviously this will only have any real effect when the Jitter value is high enough to be noticeable.

Re-Seed Jitter Function

The Jitter function is random, however to ensure consistency during view changes, it is seeded with a random number. Selecting this button generates another random number to use as the seed. This can be useful if you have a particular view you like, however one of the jittered lines disappears behind a surface at a point you would prefer it not to. Simply click this button until the desired look is achieved and re-save the model.

Segment Lines

In addition to jittering the end points of lines, this option allows you to draw each line in multiple segments. This adds the 'squiggle' effect common to hand drawings.


This value is given in world dimensions and controls the length of each segment in a segmented line. Once again to ensure consistency as the view is changed, this value is NOT affected by the Scale Lines to View option described above.

Extend Outlines

When doing hand drawings, it is usually good practice to continue lines beyond their end points slightly so that the intersection points can be readily identified. This option enables this feature within the current view.


This value is the length of overshoot given in world dimensions and is also affected by the Scale Lines to View option described above.

Fog Display

In many computer models, the full site context of a building is usually not particularly well defined. In some views this can make the buildings look too isolated and in-focus. If this option is used, however, the image gradually fades to the background colour, suggesting the effects of distance.

Lock Dimension Values

In order to give your model the look and feel of a work-in-progress, Solar Tool offers a range of variable sketch parameters that you can adjust. If this option is checked, the scale of this sketchiness will proportionally reduce as your view zooms in closer to your model. If not checked, the sketchiness parameters are treated as being in absolute world dimensions.

SolarTool: Display Panel
SolarTool: Model Menu


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