Garden model very laggy

Hi everyone

I am designing an allotment plot. It will be packed to the brim with trees, shrubs etc. The problem is, it’s not even half full at the moment and very slow to load any new components. It doesn’t seem to have a problem orbiting once items are in place.

I recently purchased a new laptop, a Lenovo X1 Tablet 3rd Gen. I know it’s not the most powerful laptop (Windows 10 Pro, Graphics: Integrated Intel® HD 620, CPU: Intel Core i5* -8250U Processor 1.60GHz, SSD: 256GB (most of which is still unused)), but it’s better than my last one and that ran sketchup fine.

The model in question is here:

I’ve done everything I can on the computer side to ensure I’m getting maximum performance i.e. cleared cache, keep internet browsers to minumum, stopped background processes, putting performance settings to max etc.

On the sketchup side of things, I followed tips from the Sketchup Essentials Youtube channel. i.e. changing style to default, unchecked profiles, copy components rather than build them individually, purged etc.

My file dropped from 62MB to 14MB, however it is still very laggy. I tried opening a detailed building larger than 14MB, and it seemed fine.

The whole purpose of me designing this on sketchup is infact to see where shadows are cast. But even after I turn off shadows and sun shading, it really struggles to add any new components.

So my question is this, is the problem:
A) My laptop is not powerful enough
B) Settings in my model are still not optimised
C) My components are too complex (Most are less than 0.5MB, a couple are 1-2MB, but no more than that)

Edges: 1,437,186
Faces: 680, 910
Component instances: 7836

I don’t want to get a new laptop ideally. I currently have about 20 plants in the model, but could end up with up to 200. If I have to use simpler components, that’s fine, but what sort of specs should I be looking for with trees for example?

Thanks in advance!

According to the sketchup requirements:
Recommended hardware

  • 2+ GHz processor
  • 8+ GB RAM
  • 700MB of available hard-disk space
  • 3D class video card with 1 GB of memory or higher and support for hardware acceleration. Please ensure that the video card driver supports OpenGL 3.0 or higher and is up to date.

SketchUp’s performance relies heavily on the graphics card driver and its ability to support OpenGL 3.0 or higher. To test your graphics card’s compatibility, please download and run the SketchUp Checkup application. Historically, people have seen problems with Intel-based cards with SketchUp. We don’t recommend using these graphics cards with SketchUp at this time.

Your system looks not sufficient for sketchup.

How does the REV model attached run?

I have an example model from someone that is four times as demanding as your one was before you optimized it. It also is a lot of vegetation. Here are suggestions I made for that customer:

When getting a particular plant from 3D Warehouse, uses the advanced options on the left. One of those is a polygons slider, try positioning that about half way, and keep changing it until you see a model that is good enough to do the job. It would be worth swapping out your existing components. In the components panel you can right-click, Select Instances, of the demanding version, then right-click, Replace Selected on the less demanding one.

Make a layer just for the vegetation, or some layers for different things (trees, bushes, for example). You can then hide those layers while working on the model, and only turn them on when you’re exporting images.

In the model I am testing, which its not otherwise a complicated model, it has 42 million edges. For a comparison, I downloaded a New York City model, and it has under 15,000 edges. So I tried a way more detailed New York City model. It was 157,489 edges. 42 million is a lot.

Typically, if the edge count goes beyond the 1M, you need to find a different approach or other components, as suggested.

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Thanks to everyone who responded. Firstly to answer Tengel07, I ran the Sketchup Checkup and it says my computer meets all the minimum requirements.

In answer to Aroberts, the REV model works fine, but as I said, orbiting the model seems to be pretty smooth (at least at the moment). It’s when I go to add a component it becomes really laggy, making it really difficult to position in in the model. And takes quite some time to save the model.

WHat is a REV model by the way?

To Colin and MIke, I will play around with rebuilding the model with lower polygon components. So is this 42million edged model very laggy?

Well I can’t offer any help other than even with shadows on the model is pretty smooth on my end.
SketchUp Pro 2019
Dell Precision 3630
Intel i7-8700
32 GB Ram
512 M.2 PCIe SSD
Nvidia RTX 2080

Orbiting is somewhat jerky for me
SketchUp Pro 2019
MSI Codex
Intel i7-9700 KF
16 GB Ram
512 M.2 PCIe SSD
Nvidia RTX 2070

Use plant models that are simpler. There is no way you can place 200 of these and keep it smooth, whatever the computer hardware specs.

Just trying to understand something here. I gather it’s all about the polygons, of which I probably have too many.
SO I searched for a high polygon model:

File size: 37MB
Polygons: 1,468,421
Edges: 4,822,672
Faces: 1,468,421

That compares with my model:
File size: 14MB
Polygons: 680,910
Edges: 1,437,186
Faces: 680, 910

I added some of my more complex trees to the warehouse, and didn’t seem to have a problem.

Given that the warehouse runs pretty fast when adding components, and that my computer passed the Sketchup Checkup, surely rules out my computer being too slow.

So if the issue is number of polygons, edges and faces, why is my model so much more laggy than a more complex one?

Just trying to understand what is going on here so I can rebuild correctly.


Hi again guys

I did read all your comments, and have taken note. I am still determined to construct an efficient lightweight garden model that I can rotate and put shadows on.

Since I last posted here I have been trying to find lightweight 3d models of specific plants. I want to use specific plants, and representing the shade they cast on one another, requiring all plants to be switched on all the time.

I searched for the smallest models I could find for each plant, and then used Skimp add-on to reduce their polygon (face) count further, but when I started to assemble the garden, after only 200 plants, the model ground to a halt. I am expecting to place 1000 plants.

I can’t really just do simple blobs for each plant since i want to tell them apart, but I realise I can’t have too much details.

So I have been playing around with 1000 items of plants with differing polygon count. The limit seems to be around 340 polygons before it struggles to allow me to cast shadows and orbit, so I will probably shoot for more like 300.

But I just want to understand a couple of things before I start modelling each plant again.

Firstly, how do edges come into this? Are they a better measure of how complex a model is rather than faces?

Secondly, how can it be that this model (36kb, 340 faces & 1040 edges individually) orbits and shadows easily with 1000 replications; whereas this one (122kb, 341 faces & 991 edges individually) cannot orbit or produce shadows?

Many thanks

I have no difficulty with shadows or orbiting with either of those models.

What version of SketchUp are you using. Your profile hasn’t been completed.

Did you do it with 1000 of them? That was my point

Am using Sketchup 2018

I haven’t tried 1000 yet but if you see a difference between those two models, it’s probably because the small lego one has lots of smoothed and softened edges. The bush is all flat polygons I think.

Just tried it again, and for some reason they both work now (have just edited the above links with 1000 of each item now). Thanks to both of you.

I guess my general question still stands. Is my logic correct? So it seems my computer can’t handle 1000 x plants with polygons any more than say 340. So if I ensure all my components (plants) are 340 polygons or less, do I stand a good chance of creating a usable garden model that I can shadow and orbit without lag?

I need to know before I plough ahead with 100s of hours of work documenting and finding/creating these models.

After trying both models with 1000 copies, I found it to be the opposite of what you wrote. The shrub model caused much more delays here, even with edges, profiles and shadows off. The lego one was much easier to work with. With shadows on and edges and profiles off, I could orbit really fast, but sometimes the shadows took a few seconds to draw after I stopped orbiting.

I see your original garden model had profiles on, turning these off makes a big difference. So can turning edges off. Have them both on a keyboard shortcut so you can flip them on and off to move around the model fast, then turn them on to make it look the way you want.


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Generally speaking, SketchUp performance is determined by the number of faces and edges SketchUp has to process. Additionally, using nested components and groups may reduce file size, but it further reduces performance as SketchUp has to process up and down the hierarchy when determining what to show on your screen. That is the main factor why the Lego piece runs faster.

There is no way you can place 1000 detailed 3D plant models in your SketchUp model without affecting performance. I would create hybrid 2D face-me plants with one subcomponent for plan views and another for viewing in 3D so the 340 faces coould be substituted by two.

Edit: I made the shrub into a component and exploded everything that was inside it and hid all the edges. For me an array of 1024 is still quite responsive.
Shrub_Hedge_Sphere2.skp (498.7 KB)

Think I’m finally getting somewhere, thanks guys.
Regardless of whether someone wants shadows or not, I’m sure there are garden designers and the like who need to create designs with many many plants in them, so there must be a way.

Please do tell me if I’m barking up the wrong tree with my plan for a 1000 plant model. So great thanks to McGordon. Removing profiles made a massive difference.

And to Anssi, I have Sketchup 2018. Would you be able to repost that model for 2018 please? And if you get time, could you post an example of the type of FaceMe you were referring to?

Thanks again

Here is the previous file as v.2018Shrub_Hedge_Sphere2.skp (497.1 KB)

And this is an intentionally crude demo of the hybrid concept I outlined. 2d-3ddemo.skp (472.4 KB) The 3D component could look better when done with a plant image.

The best looking SketchUp garden plans that I remember were demoed years ago by someone who used very simple plant models, basically blocks or cylinders with a semitransparent “greenery” texture with no pretensions to photorealism.

Thanks again Anssi. Really appreciate your advice. So I am clear on my limits on size and polygon count for each model, to ensure I can scale it up to 1000 plants and still be able to work with it. But I am a bit confused as to what form that model must take i.e. components and groups. Your array has the same number of faces and edges as mine, but is 497kb, whereas mine only 184kb. So I don’t understand the benefit when you say you “made the shrub into a component and exploded everything that was inside it and hid all the edges”.

Just trying to understand the basics before I begin modelling.

My file is bigger because everything inside the shrub is now only raw geometry. The original had several levels of component nesting (components within components within…) This can be used to reduce file size when saved on disk, but it actually makes SketchUp run slower, as it has to process up and down the nesting when you zoom or orbit.