Group vs Component: File Size Comparison

I have a question about the weight of 3D warehouse objects.
I recently downloaded a lot of accouterments to include in my model but the file got so huge it was unmanageable.

I typically download the components into a temporary file then explode everything until there is nothing left to explode. I then group the object and bring it into the model I am working with. I follow this protocol so that my component and layers list doesn’t get completely cluttered.

MY QUESTION is: Does it make a difference to file size if the object that ends up displaying on my screen is a group or a component?

Yes, in small way it does. HOWEVER, for all practical purposes you don’t need to worry about that unless interested in the underlying working of SU.

Those files downloaded from the 3D Warehouse are Big because their overall geometry count is likely HUGE. and hasn’t been designed (/Optimized) with a minimum level of geometry.

e.g. Circles/Arc drawn with 48 sides (or more),… rather than say 12 that have been properly smoothed, and that sort of thing.


e.g. Some folks will insist on drawing in geometry to define a surface, rather than using a texture that’s a lot smaller by comparison.

Check the Statistics count when you download the models and you’ll start to see which ones are massively big, vs. brilliantly lean. … >Window >Model Info >Statistics.

That might help to reduce the file size but you’ll likely see more benefit if you look at ways to simplify the component instead. Very often components you get from the warehouse can stand to be put on a diet.

I think that it is better to delete only layers without exploding components and groups.

You can see the difference when you compare the file sizes of 1000 copies of grouped cubes and 1000 cubes copied and then grouped.

The group seems to be treated like a component unless you double-click to edit it.

Exploding groups and components can drastically increase the file size. When the same group/component is used multiple times it is only defined once and multiple reference point to the same data. Exploding the containers means the same information has to be defined time and time again. It also often creates new geometry as overlapping geometry merges, further increasing the file size. Lastly it can make the object impossible to modify in the future because of geometry merging.

Exploding doesn’t remove layers so I don’t see how it decreases clutter in the layer list. Also in most cases the layers in 3D warehouse are completely useless are are best deleted anyway.

Regarding components, if you download a separate file and import the file (e.g. by dragging the file into the SU window), rather than copying its content to the clipboard and paste it in the model, sub components should by default be hidden in the component browser. The component browser has an option called Expand. This option determines whether sub components of linked components (those associated with an external file) should be displayed or not.

When you explode a group the geometry is assigned to whatever layer the group belonged to.

If there are many nested components within components you can explode the component and then create a group to contain the geometry. By doing this 1 step at a time you can keep geometry from intersecting with other geometry providing the nested component is contained within a group or component that does not have any loose geometry within it.

Nested groups as opposed to nested components may drastically reduce file size - but only after you purge unused component definitions.

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