What can I do with shade sails in Awning Composer?
Awning Composer includes several example shade sail models and also features seamless integration with MPanel Shade Designer, a separate application that lets you design shade sails based on site measurements and other parameters. You can launch MPanel Shade Designer from Awning Composer and have the created 3D model automatically loaded into Awning Composer.
How do I get MPanel Shade Designer?
A free visualization-focused version of MPanel Shade Designer is available to owners of Awning Composer. Log into your account and click the download link for MPanel Shade Designer on your account dashboard. Or, follow the on-screen instructions that appear in Awning Composer when you try to run MPanel Shade Designer.
For more information about MPanel Shade Designer, click here to visit the MPanel Shade Designer web site.
How do I create my own shade sail and visualize it in Awning Composer?
First make sure you have the latest version of Awning Composer. Then click the Add Object button, go to the Shade Sails tab, and choose "Create in MPanel Shade Designer." If you don't have MPanel Shade Designer installed, you'll be prompted to visit its download page. Otherwise, the Awning Composer window will darken and MPanel Shade Designer will open.
Go through the tabs in MPanel Shade Designer to specify the details of the shade sail you want to create. After you've successfully verified your shade sail design using the Calculate button in the Calculations tab, you may want to save the project in MPanel Shade Designer via the File menu for future reference. Finally, click the "Return to Awning Composer" button or close MPanel Shade Designer to return to Awning Composer.
You should now see the shade sail visible in the 3D scene in Awning Composer. If you haven't set a backdrop image, you may want to zoom out by using the mouse wheel or the Zoom Camera mode.
How do I control the shadow cast by the shade sail?
If you use a straight on backdrop image, or no backdrop image at all, the shade sail will cast a shadow on the ground by default. It's not currently possible to show shadows when using an angled backdrop.
If you wish to turn off the shadow, select the shade sail and uncheck "Shadow Visible" in the Object properties in the lower left.
You can adjust the direction of the light manually by dragging with the right mouse button or by using the Rotate Light mode. You can also set the direction of the light automatically according to a sky simulation using the controls in the Sky tab. This can show you a realistic shadow for a given time of day, time of the year, location, and orientation. See the Awning Composer help file for more information about lighting and shadow controls.