New Guy to Post, Long Time Lurker with more hardware than brains

First off, I hope I’m posting in the right area.
Long story short. I’m in the landscape biz and somehow found this page last year. Played around and accidentally made something cool people liked.

Fast forward a couple months ago. I was doing everything on a 2018 macbook air. I was using twinmotion and vray with SU. I needed more power. One nigh with a very large bottle of vodka and card I ordered a macbook pro 16" I9, 32G, 2T, a 2018 mac mini i5, 8G (ordered 32G upgrade kit) 512G, egpu sonnet 560, and a bunch of misc. stuff. And let’s say I spent as much as a small used car on plant models with extensions I didn’t know that work with SU or macOS.

I have no clue why I bought the mac mini other to think it was in my cart and I hit buy now but I bought the memory on Amazon. So who knows. True story!

Now I’m trying to figure this out because there wasn’t a $XXXX improvement from my Mac Air.

I realize everything runs on a single core. At least I do now, and I’m still confused on the gpu except I should have got a windows setup for this. But any tips for a newbie using mac?

I get an error when I boot in safe mode and open SU. It says hardware acceleration not supported update my drivers. Is that because I’m in Safe mode? Should I use my egpu with my macbook pro that has better hardware? Anyone setup a mac mini for a server or file share for a model library and or a node for vray? Anyone want to go to a AA meeting? haha

Goal is to make some renderings of jobs. Sell the job. Then build it. Design and build is what I do…Phoenix, AZ

If anyone can point me in the right direction I would really appreciate it.

Well a bit too late now but given your investment, perhaps V-Ray cloud render credits would have been a better route? I know e-GPUs also seem like a good idea but I haven’t heard much success from people in that department. I splurged on an iMac Pro as I didn’t have a display and figured I could use a good one as well. It’s 10-CPU cores do a pretty good job with intensive V-Ray scenes. I also went ‘desktop’ vs laptop as heat is a big issue and was always worried that the Macbook Pros fans would give out if I kept pushing it so hard. (Note: my background is landscape as well so I’m familiar with the demand high-poly vegetation requires).

Let’s take things one step at a time. Can you get SketchUp running properly on both the Mac Mini and Macbook Pro? (not in safe mode) Let’s ignore the render node setup and e-gpu for a minute once we know everything is setup and working as intended we can take the next logical step.

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Thanks for the reply.

I really haven’t done much on the mini. I was thinking I could use it as a server/file share when mobile to show these large files with clients. I’m not sure that is even possible. But, when I do use the mac mini seems just as quick if not quicker than the laptop.

As for the laptop for an example. I spent 30+ hours this weekend on some renderings. I mean a rendering. It turned out amazing and helped close a very nice job this morning. Was it worth my weekend? Maybe during these crazy times but would love to do the same project in 8 hours or less and without it crashing or what I call locking up. I’ll wait 30-60 minutes and pinwheel still going. I think it’s still processing but I’m calling it crashing because I know no better.

I’m using transmutr, skatter, placemaker, you name it I think I have it. Trying to keep the file small but I think the poly count is what is killing me and not having a defined workflow. I guess. If I can keep the file under a 1G it’s a miracle. Thats fighting using proxys in vray.

I just think I could have done the same work over the weekend with my little macbook air… Don’t get me wrong the new laptop is a great device but for everything other than this.

FYI - When my laptop is running at max with v-ray and SU my core temp is 160 F. I use two monitors. I’m using 29 of 32 ram most of the time. It’s a 8 core but my cpu shows up as 16 CPU in swarm vray and on my monitoring app. I don’t understand that. At max running at 1599% of cpu, 99% of the internal gpu and 29 of 32G ram is where I’m getting the 160F. Fan at 2500RPM just purring like nothing.

If the SketchUp file is getting this big, you should review your proxy workflow.

Agreed. A ‘Big’ landscape file for rendering for me is more in the range of 250 mb.

Here s an example of what I just did and maybe you can point out what I’m doing wrong.

I have a tree I purchased from Maxtree. 75MB for the .FBX file plus there are 25-30 texture files with it. I have it all in its own folder.

I import with transmutr. It has 15 million triangles so I reduce it down to 500,000. Not all the textures follow over.

Now I have a 150mb .skp file. I save that in the same folder.

I select export as proxy with vray. The .vrmesh is saved in the same folder as 62mb.

Now I’m left with a 150mb .skp file with the proxy replacement image.

I click on interactive vray render and every thing crashes with an error report.

I then reopened the file. I imported the vrmesh file and added 4 trees with it. Hit save. The file remained at 150MB.

I did the vray render again and it didn’t crash but the trees are al different colors instead of textures. So I need to upload all those texture files again.

50% of the time it works just perfectly and other times like this.

Have you looked into Laubwerk trees? They automate the process of creating, storing and importing proxies so you can just drop a species in, choose season, variety and size and you’re good to go. They’re pre-optimized as well to reduce memory load. Never had a crash from them. V-Ray’s proxy process is a bit clunkly. I’ve found that copying proxies between projects can often break the link between Mesh and Materials requiring re-pathing. Unless it’s a highly specific tree that’s in your foreground, to me, it’s not worth the hassle.

Are you at liberty to share your finished render view and/or SketchUp model screenshot?

Edit: also, to me, 500,000 polygons and a 63 mb tree is still pretty heavy. I guess that’s a decent reduction given your starting point. I just did a demo using a VizPark tree that was several million polygons and I was able to get the proxy geometry down to about 4,000 total edges+faces. The file size was 7.3 mb and it looks pretty good considering.

I love the laubwerk trees. They are in this image. I’m in AZ and sometimes I’m limited in on whats out there to purchase. And, I refuse to let my online selection influence the design/build.

It does make me feel better using and re using don’t always go smoothly.

The other issue I face is granite. We use tons of it literally. (I have 400 tons being delivered in the morning) Trying to get the look of a couple hundred thousand 1" rock is a challenge in itself on top of the trees poly count.

I’ll try to take the tree count down like you suggested and check back in tomorrow. Thanks a bunch!