Using Skylight Portals in Shaderlight

  • What are Skylight Portals?
  • How do they work?
  • Where do they need to go?

We often see these questions in support so we’ve put together this quick tutorial which should hopefully give you all the answers and help you make the best of your renders!

Room with ladder_Portals

What are Skylight Portals and how do they work?

What are Portals

Skylight Portals can be found under the ‘lightbulb’ icon on the Shaderlight toolbar.

They are basically ‘seals’ which act as a one way window to direct natural light into the Interior and stop it escaping again.

Without Skylight Portals it’s likely you will get a ‘noisy’ render as the light rays are bouncing back and forth in the scene. This will show on the render as white speckles or ‘noise’.

This is the same render without Skylight Portals…

No Portal Render

The render is very dark and grainy even though it has been rendered at high quality. The natural light does not fill the room and you get lots of harsh shadowing and noise where the light is present.

Where do Skylight Portals need to go?


Skylight Portals should be placed over any opening where the Interior is exposed to the outside space. It is best to cover all openings even if they are not directly in the room.

The Portal needs to be placed on the outside of the window. If you start by selecting the Portal and clicking on the corner of your opening you should see an orange line in the centre of the portal as you drag it across. This line needs to face into the room, which indicates the direction the natural light will travel in.


Once you have placed the Skylight Portal over your opening, you should see a yellow half circle in the centre of the Portal. This should also point into the room again to indicate the direction of the natural light.

You then need to repeat this process for all other openings in the model so the Interior is completely ‘sealed’.

You can then render your model!

This render shows the left side of the Interior rendered with Skylight Portals and the Right side without Portals.

mixed renders

You should find the render is much brighter and sharper when you render with Skylight Portals!

To find out more about Portals please have a look at our YouTube Channel.

To download a free 14 day trial of Shaderlight for SketchUp visit our website.

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2 Responses to Using Skylight Portals in Shaderlight

  1. Emily says:

    are you using artificial lights and the sky portal? What render settings have you got it on if so?

    • rachelg2010 says:

      Hi Emily,

      The Lighting used in this model is Physical Sky. I have turned off Auto Exposure and adjusted manual exposure to +2.2. I also increased the background brightness to +2.4. The only artificial lights used are on the wall, which are set to 200 Candela. Hope that helps,

      Kind Regards,

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