Slow inserting of 3D Warehouse components

There is an issue we’ve been trying to figure out for a couple of years, where you are working on a complex model, and you want to add something from 3D Warehouse. As you do that, the download of the model happens quickly, but then it can be several minutes before the model appears in your scene. A lot of people give up, and would see the problem as being that SketchUp had locked up permanently. It would have finished eventually.

It hasn’t been an easy thing to work out, mainly because we could take the same file from the customer and it would work quickly for us. For some customers they found that doing the same action in 2019 worked fine, the inserted model would appear right away.

Recently we were sent an example model that did show the problem for us, but only on certain Macs. Testing on one such Mac then showed up what was occurring that caused the slowness. But, it wasn’t easy to see why that particular function was only being called on certain Macs.

Yesterday one of the developers noticed something significant, and that has led to an easy work around to the problem, which should help everyone while we fix the underlying issue.

Here are steps to show the problem, which is very bad on Mac, and not as bad, but noticeable, on Windows:

  1. Work on a model that is complex, and that has a lot of materials.
  2. Open Colors on Mac or expand the Materials tray on Windows.
  3. Select Colors in Model.
  4. Download a model from 3D Warehouse. You can do that from the Components panel’s search field. The model can be a simple one.

You will see the model download quickly, but then take a while to appear in the scene.

  1. Undo.
  2. In Colors or the Materials tray, change the materials being shown to any other category. ‘Colors’ for example.
  3. Click on the component you had previously searched for, to place it into the scene again.

The download happens quickly again, only this time the model appears in the scene right away.

The same issue can cause copy and paste between complex documents to be slow as well.

So, short version is, if importing, pasting, or downloading from 3DW is slow for you, set Colors or the Materials tray to something other than Colors in Model.

In the case of Windows, collapsing the Materials tray will also make things be faster. Unfortunately, on Mac you would still get the issue even if Colors in hidden at the time.

The underlying issue seems to have been introduced with SketchUp 2019, 2017 and 2018 are placing models from 3D Warehouse quickly, even when Colors in Model is selected.

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It isn’t exclusive to models from the 3DW, it’s any model that contains materials and is either imported or pasted into a model that already contains a large set of materials.

What I think is happening is that there is a table of materials in the model and when a new set of materials is added the table has to be rebuilt BUT it’s rebuilt for each of the new materials so if you have a model with 50 materials and paste something as simple as 10 squares each with a unique material applied the the following happens:
New material
Is it already one of the 50 in the model?
If no add it to the table
If yes does it have identical properties
If yes move on to next material, if no add it to the table with a ‘1’ on the end.
Rebuild table
New material
Is it already one of the 51 in the model?

That testing and rebuilding of the table can be witnessed if you watch the material list, it will refresh/reorder during the delay.

Many of my materials have 2k x 2k (or more) textures with their associated bump/displacement etc maps for Enscape, I regularly copy/paste an entire furnished room from an existing house into a new one, this is usually a go and make a coffee moment.

I’ll try the work around you suggest but I’m guessing that subsequently switching back to ‘in model’ list will produce a similar delay at the table is rebuilt/reindex for display.