A common issue we come across in Trimble SketchUp is that of model complexity. Sketchup (& Pro) does not utilise multiple processors. So, if you’re sitting there wondering why your monster quad-core processor isn’t giving you any love in Sketchup, open up Task Manager (Windows) or Activity Monitor (Mac) and you will probably see one processor being beaten to death while the others look on. While this is a software weakness, it does mean that modelling needs to be thoughtful in order to avoid the modeller finding themselves in the cul-de-sac of an unstable, uneditable and un-renderable model.

Possible Symptoms:
Model is extremely slow to manoeuvre or edit
Sketchup crashes when saving
Sketchup crashes when preparing to render in V-Ray

Probable Causes:
Extremely busy model, complex components
Use of complex models from 3D Warehouse to populate backgrounds
Import/use of complex objects used inefficiently (eg. trees with high leaf-density, fences with complex mesh/bar/net structures)
Import/use of detailed background models (eg. cars, buildings)

Possible Fixes:
Firstly, this is a thinking issue. Think about what’s important in the model, and what’s not. It’s easy to populate a scene with models from 3D Warehouse to save time, but these can often be more complex than your own model. Consider using fewer of these and constructing more of your own, simpler background models. Where this is not possible, consider splitting the scene into layers that can be turned off when they are out of camera shot. Often, increasing RAM won’t have a major impact, unless Sketchup is already maxed out on memory. In which case, add RAM to reduce additional load on the processor.

Whilst in Sketchup, slowness and crashes are usually linked to the model complexity. If your model is fine within Sketchup but crashes in V-Ray, other factors – such as materials – may be at work. We’ll take a look at this in another article.