I once saw a SKP file THIIIIIIIIIIS big

I’ve seen about a half-dozen posts this morning from users making SketchUp files in sizes I frankly never would have dreamed possible in a thousand years. I think the largest file I’ve ever made in SketchUp was maybe 10MB. 90% of my work is for 3D printing, so I don’t really need a lot of components, textures, or assets from the 3D Warehouse, and geolocation is only handy for a few practical demonstrations of scale.

One of the files I saw someone have difficulty opening was almost 300MB. A lot of it turned out to be some unused components, and a quick purge from my fellow users with Enlightenment levels of patience brought it down to a somewhat more manageable 100MB.

Moments later, I happened upon another forum post from someone else having difficulty opening a file. I get a bit worried; maybe there’s something wrong with 2023 that’s emerging or some compatibility issue with Apple Silicon nobody’s worked out just yet. I click on the provided Google Drive link and almost fell out of my chair.
It was nearly a full gigabyte. I mean… how? I’m frankly surprised it took getting to that size for them to start having issues. It’s as if they made everything in one single session and only reopened it the next day.

This isn’t me knocking these folks for not being efficient. I recently spent a fair chunk of time re-uploading the same model file to the 3D Warehouse because I could not for the life of me figure out how a shipping pallet with a default texture was a full megabyte. It was literally made from a single component (a plank) arranged in the overall shape of a pallet. Even with the default scale figures (of which there were two for some reason) successfully purged, it was showing up as a full MB. It finally dawned on me that I had saved the geolocation in the file, complete with satellite image and topography. Obviously, that’s not going to be much use to someone who just wants something for their forklift to pick up and set down, so it had to go. The final tally sits at 89KB.

I was an early adopter of the browser-based version of SketchUp (I’ve still got files that have the “my SketchUp beta” watermark on them), so I’ve been at this for a while, and even I can still lose sight of the bigger picture and bog down a file with unnecessary guff. I think we’re also all spoiled on larger hard drive sizes and file transfer services like WeTransfer and Drive that we don’t see a large SKP as any big deal. I once scoffed at a tutorial of someone proudly bringing their file size down to a few hundred kilobytes. Now, I understand.

It’s important that, when we pass on our knowledge to others, be it at work or through these forums or YouTube comments or wherever, that we emphasize simplicity and efficiency. Space-saving tricks like components should be introduced as early as possible, even if the other person doesn’t grasp it right away. It will plant a seed in their mind that they don’t have to model multiple identical versions of an object. It will teach them to think more laterally and embrace “creative laziness.”

Thanks for coming to my corner of the corner bar. Goodnight, and good luck.


Ridiculously large files usually result from a mix of three things:

  • Extremely large texture images - this is actually about the only way to get up to gigabyte file sizes
  • Badly built “entourage” components imported from the 3DWarehouse
  • Failure to purge unused items from the model, especially components and textures

sniff sniff
Do I smell a video idea around here, somewhere?


Well, I was specifically thinking about your video on modeling screw heads when I wrote this. I think there’s also a video of yours about preparing models for the 3D Warehouse.

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Yes there are… but the issue with YouTube videos is they disappear into the haze of yesterday… Never hurts to frame a few existing lessons in a new model with updated examples!

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Good idea. Be sure to mention there’s no need to be hoarding components and materials.

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Plus, enthesis on use of the material resizer extension, to get them imported materials to a reasonable size. In fact it should be hard wired to a pop up that detects such miss use.


Maybe I’m alone on this, but I am scared of the purge feature often touted in these forums. SU is the only professional application I have that doesn’t allow you to see or select what is being purged. This makes me gun-shy because I tend to keep unused components lying around until I’m sure I don’t need them anymore (if you saw my garage and shop, you’d see the same thing :grin:). I strongly believe the component browser is pitifully poor and makes it difficult to stay organized. I have other programs I use (specifically in audio and media) that allow for clear and granular management of thousands of elements. I’m dismayed that there isn’t more of an outcry about SU’s inadequate tools for managing and organizing components and materials.


Not if I get there first! :stuck_out_tongue:


Hi Brad

you do have these options in the material and component browsers where you can delete all unused or go through the lists
though I do agree an option like AutoCAD to pick on the unused would be better


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I haven’t done it in a while, but I remember it being a pretty tedious process. Plus, you can’t tell at a glance if the component is being used or not (you have to click on it and check the instance). Why isn’t there a visual indicator showing either used or unused components, or the ability to sort them accordingly? All in all it’s a very rudimentary and clunky tool. (I’d say “IMO”, but there are so many programs that do this well that I think it’s a fact).

Is there also an element in here of making assumptions that up to date software can cope with large file sizes and so lead to laziness in trying to design efficiently?

There is some formula about how the power of computers doubles every 30 seconds or something, so we get used to the idea that we should be able to process larger and larger files, forgetting that the software itself may produce a bottleneck. That is surely relevant to software that makes no use of multithreading and if one thinks SU is bad, don’t even start on LO!

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well yes and no. you can still delete manually (right click in the right panel) stuff. but yes, if you purge, it’s purge time.

However, it’s not necessary lost. Whenever I work on a project, I’ll do increment saves. Maybe, every monday, I’ll duplicate the SU file and work on the new version, maybe every day, maybe every time the client gives a sign of life.

I’ll end up with v1,2,3,4,5… of the project.

So if I purge at V4 and later realise I made a mistake, I can still recover stuff. And even if the client says “well, let’s go back to the first idea, you’re right, it was better”, I can just go back to the file, I don’t need to carry it at all times with me.

yes. Back when I learned SU, my professor said that downloading components bigger than 2-3 Mb was not recommended. We were running state of the art core 2 duos, 20-50 mbps connexions. So we had to pay attention to any stuff we added. anything bigger would take longer to download, but also to use. and we would often edit the textures in photoshop to save some weight.

These days, machines are way more efficient, and connexions quasi instant (running 900+mbps here), but models have not followed the same growth, a high rez table was 7mb, and it is now 10. no big deal. so it’s quicker and easier to download dozens of components, and the frugal way of the modeler is fading away. Until they end up here, with a 700Mb file containing 90% trash asking why their computer is halting and catching fire.

well we are able to process larger files. but people are generally bad at math. I mean, in general, our intuition is stupid when it comes to math.
Give a person two 50mb components, and they’ll go “yeah, this is a big model now, with big parts”
Give a person fifty 2mb components and they’ll ask “why is my model so slow ? I only used small components just like the guy on the forum said”

and please, please, use colours. So often we see models where big material files have been applied to something that would simply be a colour. My walls are beige, no need to find a beige paint texture. and my mac mini is in aluminium, but unless I render it, aluminium is a simple flat grey. And it’s infuriating when you realise that 9,5 mb of your 10mb file is actually a high res photo of pvc plastic (true story).

Colours are great.


I think that’s a big part of it too. Nobody wants to announce limitations to their software, albeit comparisons of SketchUp to the likes of Blender, ZBrush, and 3DSMax are far from apples to apples. I came over to SketchUp from Tinkercad, and what I liked best about Tinkercad was its versatility. I was between computers at the time, using a borrowed Chromebook for my home setup and a fairly outdated PC at work. When SketchUp offered a browser-based option, I was very excited because it had this reputation and prestige to it, and now it was going to run in a Chrome tab. What SketchUp lacks in raw, muscly power, it makes up for in versatility. It keeps its system requirements fairly low in order to allow a wider user base, and all it asks in return is people be a little more efficient in their file sizes.

Something I have seen often in models posted for help here is a material with a megapixel texture image applied to a surface that is well under one square meter. Unless you zoom in very close, you can’t possibly distinguish those pixels, and all you get is a mono color blur anyway.

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yeah, when I say that people should consider a colour before an actual material, I have these cases in mind. a door handle doesn’t need a megabyte of texture on it. nor a book cover.

They need to zoom out and consider the size of their model and of the view they want to export, compared to the level of detail they are putting in


Absolutely! I save daily with a project-1.1, project-1.2, project-1.3, etc savings scheme. Then when I do a major change (or after a purge), I increment the first number project-2.1, project-2.2, etc.

But even this doesn’t work well. On a Mac, if you click on the component–highlighting it, then right click, the delete command is greyed out. You have to make sure you right click on an unselected item for the contextual menu to display the delete option. That’s bonkers. And because the thumbnail is so small, I often can’t tell what it is (guilty of not always naming my components with enough description). So sometimes I have to drag it into the model somewhere just to see what it is. If I use “Select Instances”, SU does nothing to help me find it in my model–it might be inside the oven or something. I’m used to programs that provide an “elements browser”, that is sortable, shows whether it is used or unused (usually by bolding, italicizing, or changing the color of the font), the ability to select unused items and have them highlighted in the browser–and can be deselected, and a “take me there” feature if I want to see where the instance was used.

I’ve seen SU models far more complicated than mine and would think everyone would appreciate a fully functional browser for organizing elements. SU hasn’t done any updates that I’m aware of to the browser in years despite some veterans in this forum conceding that it’s weak at best. I’m an engineer, and I like to design and draw stuff. But I also like organization and structure. The browser is not up to speed and there isn’t a cohesive relationship with outliner and tags. They each do their own thing, but they’re not tied together in a useful and intuitive way.

yeah. that’s because your first click is a left click. a left click activates the placing of a component. and you can’t delete a component if you’re busy placing it on the file.
I don’t know why people first left click then right click. in general, not just SU. Sure, it works, but in general, it’s either one or the other :wink:

But yeah, this panel is… not very good. small, tiny preview, I use it as little as possible these days.

I see your point. it could be nice to have an extra column in the Outliner, maybe just showing the colour of the tag each element is on, and allowing us to change tag right there on the go. something more hand in hand.

Thanks for your comments!


I think highlighting/clicking an item is what we do intuitively if we don’t exactly recall all the steps to manipulate an item. I’m not aware of any other programs where highlighting an item disables the full functionality of a subsequent right click. While I understand that once highlighted the item can be dragged into the model, I don’t see why this requires disabling the delete option in the context menu.

Although this is a relatively minor gripe, it is one of many aspects of the browser that shows a lack of attention and development. You said yourself that you use it as little as possible–which is my point. And as it relates to this thread about model size and managing components and materials, a more functional tool would help me manage those aspects.

To that end, I would love to see a column that displayed the file size associated with a component. I see this information in 3D Warehouse, but I’m not aware of any way to see that at a glance once in the model. How cool would it be to sort your components according to file size, thereby alerting you to bloat you might not be aware of otherwise?

Let’s see what you both can come up with :sunglasses::grin: