An obvious first step, beyond frequent use of View → Model Info → Statistics → Purge Unused, is to be zealous in simplifying the detailed models that consultants send you before you bring them into your big model. Put them in a separate file, copy it adding “- Lite” at the end of the name. Open the “-Lite” version then:
Reduce the details. Retain only those that are discernable at the size needed for presentation.
Track down and replace details of surfaces implemented as geometry. Apply a texture instead.
Just before saving the changes you made, be sure to “Purge Unused” again.
This is hard to answer. If I told you there are certain limitations, you would not (dare) to cross them, letting you caged in those boundaries. If I told you there are non, you might stumble upon the very first ripple in the pond, and drown.
As with most tools, it’s limits are bound by their user.
Pretty far, but the nature of models created in SketchUp are usually quite lean. Keeping clean geometry and managing layers can take you further. I usually have to leave SketchUp when a file gets to 1GB.
If I go over 1GB then I generally start compiling my model in other software, depends on what the expected output is (infographic, illustration, render, animation etc).
I tend to agree with the approximately 1 GB limitation in file size for a working SketchUp model. I have not needed to employ other design related software, all my architectural modeling work is performed in SU, sometimes making use of selected extensions.
For me, a useful workaround to this size limitation is to break models up into smaller parts when the total size begins to approach this perceived 1 GB limit. I work on each individual portion and ultimately combine all of the parts into a final (Master) model. I always take extra precaution to ensure that each separate part has the same origin to make it easy to insert them into the final model in their appropriate location. Bear in mind that this final model is never worked on as a whole ever again. The Master file is only used to send to clients or for municipal code/zoning review…in which case the skp file is converted to a pdf file before public submittals.
Sometimes the final model may reach a size of 5 GB or more, so if additional editing is needed, I go back into the separate saved parts (now saved as components in this case, because I personally eschew using groups), perform the edit and then save back to the final model.
This workflow has proven to be an effective process over many years of SketchUp use.
oops…I should have typed 5 GB or more and not 50 GB. I will edit my post to reflect that number.
It usually takes between 45 to 90 seconds for the very large files to open on my Dell Precision M6600 and maybe as much as twice that duration to open on the Dell Inspiron. This is why I don’t perform any edits on those large files.