We’ve all been there; we get so carried away when designing a model that we end up with a 300+ Mb Sketchup file that has over 2 Million edges.. Or at least that’s the case with me here.
The problem with such huge files is that they don’t render well, if at all, on a small or regular machine. Cue the crashing and the error messages that make our lives harder.
This model right here is exactly 337 Mb in size, containing 2,049,090 Edges, 11,26,994 Faces, 508 Components, 321 Groups, and a ton of high quality materials.
Why would I even create a model this big? To figure out how to render it on my laptop without it crashing and create this tutorial to show you that I succeeded and so can you!
My Humble Laptop specs are as follows:
- Processor Intel Core i7 2.20 GHz.
- 16 GB RAM.
- AMD (Radeon) Graphics Card with 2GB dedicated memory.
- 64-bit Windows 10.
- It’s 5 years old and had a few pieces fall apart & gotten replaced.
How did I manage to pull off rendering that huge model to a 2222 x 1250 resolution image? Here’s how:
Make sure Sketchup & VRay are Updated and Compatible
Before I could pull this off I updated my Sketchup to 2018 (2017 previously) and VRay to 4.00.02 (4.00.01 caused a lot of crashing and weird display glitches). So having updated and compatible software is important.
I also got rid of a crazy amount of plug-ins and extensions that I no longer needed.
Reverse Back-faces while Modeling
While modeling walls, floors, or even simple things like glass planes, make sure that non of the back-faces are facing outward. There’s a tool that has made my life so much easier called Front Face. I found it for free at Extension Warehouse a few years ago but can’t find it now. All you have to do is just click on a back-face after selecting the tool and then hover over all the other back-faces to reverse them. So simple! You can still find it floating around in Sketchup Forums, and I can email you a copy if you want, just comment below!
Inspect downloaded Objects & Components
3D Warehouse is everyone’s source for free goodies, but not everything you download is good for your model. Open everything you download in a separate Sketchup window (quarantine) and inspect the materials and see if you find any errors that needs to be fixed before importing it into your model. You may also want to purge or clean up any extra hitch-hiking stray edges or unused materials. (more on that below).
Replace unnecessary Geometry with Textures
why import a high poly shaggy rug when you have VRay Fur? Or why create subtle boards on the ceiling when you can just add a material with a high bump?
Replacing all this extra geometry will take a load off your file size and thus spare you any VRay crashes.
Purge and Clean Up your model
Regularly Purging any extra tidbits will not only help you render without crashing, it will make the model Lag less. You can find the Purge option by navigating to Window>Model Info>Statistics.
A very handy tool that does a more thorough cleanup than just purging is the CleanUp3 tool (found for free on Extension Warehouse), I’ve been using this tool for ages! It’s so very handy in cleaning up my model & reducing its size. It also merges coplanar faces, merges any identical materials, erases stray edges, and inspects the model for errors + fixes any errors found. All I have to do is tick the options I want and click ‘Clean Up’. You can dwnload this tool here.
Delete Unwanted Objects
Okay, let’s say you have a model that’s separated into rooms or one huge open space that you will render different scenes of. Create all your scenes and then create copies of that same file. In each copy delete any objects that are “behind the camera” or “out of sight”. Even though VRay will only render one segment of the model, it calculates and loads EVERYTHING in said model to render just a single scene (even if it’s hidden). So, creating different copies of the main project file and deleting + purging unwanted objects will save you from a very annoying crash.
Turn off Auto-save & Auto Inspection
These two features are very handy when modeling, but not so much when you have to render for a few hours & Sketchup keeps Autosaving every 5 minutes. This is bound to crash your whole operation mid-render. When you’re ready to render, just go to Window>Preferences>General and disable ‘Auto-save’ & ‘Automatically check models for problems’.
Auto-save Render Output to vrimg file
Auto-saving your render output to a vrimg file takes a load off your RAM memory by writing all your render elements to your Hard Drive. You can still save a Jpg or Png after your render is done via your Frame Buffer or convert the vrimg to an exr for Photoshop, this just saves you the hassle of having your Frame Buffer freeze or your whole render crashing. More about this here.
Save Light maps from Test Rendering
Saving your light maps is so easy yet so useful to cut down on render times; it helps you render a larger resolution quicker. All you have to do is navigate to your GI Lighting rollout, and show advanced settings. Save the maps to a location you can easily load them from when it’s time to do a final render of the same scene.
Restart and clean up your machine before a final render
After spending a whole day (or a good chunk of hours) modeling, there’s a ton of processes running in the back ground and even a bigger pile of junk files thrown all about your machine. To save time on locating all of that, just restart your machine (laptop or pc) and run a cleaning app as soon as it boots. My favorite app to clean my mess is CCleaner, and it’s free!
That’s it! Hope you can render complex, detail filled models and not feel limited by your machine’s specs any more 🙂
For any questions or tips, please feel free to leave a comment.