Originally Posted by addabox
BTW, this is all in the free version, 6.4. Do you happen to know if v7, or the "pro" version gives me a little more flexibility with lighting? Shadows and moving the sun around usually just make the stuff I work with look fucked up.
Pro only gives you more exporting options, along with, I think, additional plugin support. Nothing changes about the default shadows/lighting in SketchUp Pro itself. There are plugins that improve on the rendering/lighting.
One thing I do a lot in SketchUp is lift the shadows up to at least 40, sometimes as high as 70. This lifts the shade color as well. By default, SketchUp attaches a light to your view/camera that shines brighter than any other light source, so your lighting can seem messed up if you're expecting, say, the table top to be brighter than the side that's closest to you. There is a simple checkbox to change this to "use sun for shading" in the shadows palette (not in the toolbar). Sometimes you have to fudge the sun's location too.