Everytime I make my Sketchup terrain smaller, the file stops at a lower kB

I am working with Sketchup now for only one month, but I struggle for a month with the same problem. I want to make a 3D landescaping model but the file is to ‘big’ so the file just stops working or the loading takes for ever.

With the first landescaping model I made a landescape terrain of 200 kilometers width and 200 kilometers depth. I could work in this model till 40.000 kB. Because I couldn’t fill the whole terrain I changed the landescape terrain to to a smaller terrain of 2 km by 2 km depth but this landescape stoped working at 20.000 kB. So I made the terrain width and depth smaller again and again and everytime I made the terrain smaller, the file stoped working at a lower kB. In the latest file it stopped working at a file of only 2.000 kB…

Could someone please help me how I could work in a terrain of 2 km by 2 km? I did all the things accourding to youtube videos about making your Sketchup file work faster such as making components, working in layers or working in a default style. It can not be entirely my laptop, because I could work in a Vectorworks file of 332.115 kB.

Thank you in advance!

Can you be more precise about what “stops working” means?

What is the density of the terrain mesh? In other words, given a 2km X 2km grid, how close are the individual data points within those dimensions?

As you shrink the terrain dimensions, are you creating a new SketchUp .SKP file each time? Can you post a screen-capture of a folder window that shows the sizes of the various .SKP files you have been using? (To post an image, use the seventh icon from the left, which looks like a little “inbox” with an up-pointing arrow.) Or just type in the exact sizes of the files, if there are only those few files.

Dear Mr. Dahl,

Thank you very much for your reply and trying to help me!

As my answer on your first question, sometimes my laptop shuts down, my laptop says that the Sketchup Application doesn’t respond anymore or the loading could take for 30 minutes (for example to change the view or if i put Ctrl C).

English isn’t my native language so I hope this is the answer on your second question, I am making for example marsh and grass on the terrain so a lot of data on a little square.

In the attached the PrtSc of a folder window with the .skp files.

The fact that your computer sometimes shuts down, or that SketchUp stops responding for tens of minutes, suggests to me that the model is too complex for the computer in terms of the number of edges and faces in the model geometry. If you open the Model Info window from the View menu, what are the counts for number of edges, faces, component instances, and groups for some of these .SKP files?

Those files are not so huge - a few tens of megabytes - which makes me wonder how much memory (RAM) is in your computer? Are there other large programs running at the same time with SketchUp on the computer?

Looking at the first three files, I note that the file sizes do not shrink proportionally to the area of the modeled terrain. Possibly this is because the three models contain different types of information (bare terrain vs. terrain with grass). What I mean is the 200km x 200km model (which covers 400 000 square km) is about 40MB; the 2km x 2km model (which covers 4 square km, or 100 000 times less area) is half the size of the 200x200 model, rather than being a tiny fraction of its size. And the 0.2km x 0.2 km (which covers 0.04 square km) model is almost the same size as the 2x2 model, rather than being 1/100th its size.

That all suggests to me that as the model’s overall dimensions are shrinking, the DENSITY of data (the number of terrain elevation points or grass plants etc. per unit of length) is increasing. Another possibility is that there are some unused components or textures etc. in the smaller model files, increasing their on-disk size beyond what would be strictly required.

Dear Mr. Dahl,

Thank you for replying so soon!

The counts for number of edges, faces, component instances and groups of the file of 40.000 kB are, Edges: 189870, Faces: 10563, Component Instances: 31186 and the Groups: 66016. The counts for number of edges, faces, component instances and groups of the file of 20.000 kB are, Edges: 2966, Faces: 17, Component Instances: 6 and Groups: 4. The counts for number of edges, faces, component instances and groups of the file of 2.000 kB are, Edges: 18, Faces: 0, Component Instances: 10 and Groups: 0.

According to my pc I have in total 448 GB, but 283 GB available. It is able to work in another program, Blender (I only don’t know how big the program Blender is). But the Sketchup file’s will be acting worse if I would switch from one program to another (all the time), the Sketchup file’s will give a white screen.

I see now too, that it is indeed not that the file sizes do not shrink proportionally to the area of the modeled terrain. But it is weird that I could first work in a 40.000 kB file, but can’t reach the 40.000 kB in another file (and even a 40.000 kB file still very small).

The Model Info statistics for the 200x200 file indicate a fairly complex model. You mentioned the computer having 283GB available, I presume that is storage (hard disk or SSD) space. I was asking about the much more critical resource of memory (RAM), which on contemporary personal computers is usually in the range from 4GB to 32GB, give or take. Your largest model (with about 200 000 edges and about 100 000 components and groups total) would probably consume a few GB of memory.

Running two programs concurrently and switching back and forth between them will be a challenge for a computer that does not have sufficient memory (RAM) to hold both. In cases where there is insufficient memory to hold all running software, Windows (and Max OS) will do what is called “paging” to temporarily remove portions or pages of the software out of memory (RAM) and write them to the system’s hard disk or SSD. This allows the computer to keep working when being over-taxed by the demands of the software, but the resulting performance can be very slow.

You might try running the Windows Task Manager, or Performance Manger, or similar tool and see how much of the computer’s memory is consumed by the SketchUp process, and how much memory is listed as free or available.


It will help if you can upload your skp model to this forum so we can better diagnose the issue.

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