Layout and Computer Performance

I am using Layout to create complex architectural construction documents similar to what Nick Sonder is doing and I am finding the delay and freeze up of my app continues to get worse. Does anyone know what the specs are for the computer Nick uses, or can I get a recommendation on a setup for doing similar work as Nick.

What is your approach to making these documents? How big are your models in terms of edges and faces? Are many of your viewports Vector or Hybrid rendered? Are you using high resolution on screen or only for output?
You don’t give your current computer specs but your graphics card is fairly recent and quite high-end enough for SketchUp. If you can, post a model and LayOut file that in your opinion behave sluggishly to get people’s recommendations for optimizing your workflow.
Generally, if your computer is not an over 10 years old “home computer”, benefits from investing to new hardware are small. Modelling is a single threaded process where the CPU and its single-thread performance is crucial.

For many years I worked only on a 2013 i7 dual core 13” MacBook Pro with integrated graphics, I developed a lot of projects including my bachelor and master thesis, the performance of Layout depends more on how well or bad optimized is your sketchup model and the workflow on layout than on the specs of your machine. Layout is a program with performance issues, it’s not well optimized and it doesn’t take full advantage of the hardware, now I have two quite powerful machines but when a model isn’t optimized and if I work with some viewports vector rendered I have lag as well.

The problem lies probably with the SketchUp viewports. Every one of them contains in principle a copy of your whole SU model so it rapidly becomes very resource intensive. This is not uniquely a SketchUp phenomenon. Placing a great number of model space views in paper space is a tested way of bringing AutoCad to its knees, or Archicad or Revit.

I responded to your message. Upgrading hardware helps only a little. Speed improvements for both SU and LO are almost entirely in the workflow. As I mentioned in my message the two biggest issues that bring LO to its knees are:

  1. Overstuffing your LO file with every page in a drawing set. There is absolutely no need to do this, and it crushes performance.
  2. Vector or hybrid rendering entire models with high res material graphics. Again, no need to do this and really crushes performance. Many forget that when you print a drawing the resolution is so different from being zoomed in on a monitor….its like have your nose to a drawing with a magnifying glass!

just to expand on what Annsi said above.

On a siteplan I will have every tag for all interior walls, furniture turned off. Basically turn off every tag that is not visible/ doing anything in the scene. I would set that up in the sketchup scene, so you dont have to override the tag use in the viewport itself. So basically just the site and the roof of the buildings will show up in the site plan, maybe also the outer walls, if that affects getting shadows right.

I will use this principle for every scene, so even though a third story is not visible on the 2.story scene because of the section plane, I would still turn off tags for all stories above the section plane to reduce what geometry is stored in the scene.

That is useful in sketchup as well, when working. I could for instance turn off the section plane for the scene momentarily when working on that floor plan, to make sure I dont mess up some geometry above the section plane. When I do that I would not want to see the floors above, they would obscure what I am working on.

So if one systematically reduces what tags should be visible per scene everything will be faster in Layout, and also better in Sketchup.

I will have a tag folder for all floors, a group for each floor set to that floor`s tag, and all the geometry on that floor inside that group. Then a inner walls group on that floor can be on the same tag on all floors, but still inner walls on the floors above your section plane will be turned off because they are inside the turned off floors. I have all building components (walls, windows and so on) inside a folder called building components.

Combining these ways of showing tags by use of tag folders is a simple and powerful way to quickly reduce the amount of geometry shown per scene. I will also have a “Site” Tag folder, and a folder for “Help-geometry”, immaterial geometry like centrelines of stairs. Inside the “Floors” folder I could even have several versions of floor plans, like 2.floor version 1 and 2 in separate groups. For verticals like stairs, elevators and chimneys I keep them outside the group for each floor, in a “All floors” folder, so that I can see the stairs from a lower level, even if that lower story is also turned off in the scene. Roofs are also outside the group for that story for the same reason. I might have separate tags for each level of stairs and roofs if needed, so that nothing gets in the way when I turn off the section plane to work on that floor.

An organisation to reduce the amount of geometry per scene makes all the difference in Layout.