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.