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Steven Kenzer

Large File Size...

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I've been working on a few pieces of furniture and surprised at how large my files are ending up at. These are fairly simple 3d models, each piece not very big in dimension. Does it make sense that these individual furniture pieces average out between 15-19 mb each? I'm attaching an example of one of them. Also, when exporting to dwg, are there any tricks to reducing the size of the file during export. I played around with dwg export settings but always ended up around the same. I do purge a file before exporting although not sure that makes much of a difference. Curious if this seems typical or very large for what it is. Any tricks to reduce file size? As always, thanks for any help.

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 4.58.38 PM.png

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15MB isn't that large really, but there are a few things to consider and check:

1) Tools > Purge. Check this dialog to see if it offers to remove a bunch of unused textures, which are kept in your file if you EVER applied them to objects in the file, even if you didnt end up keeping them, they're one of the largest users of space as far as Vectorworks elements go.

2) If you use image based textures, then they can easily balloon a file size. If the original images were 5MB each and you used 3 of them for instance, there's your 15MB file size right there. In that case, the file size change is unavoidable.

3) VWX files don't include any default compression like some other file formats do. This trick wont work if the files are large because of image based textures (images are often already compressed to start) but if you have a lot of geometry, compressing a VWX file into a ZIP can often save you a bit of space.

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Thanks, Jim...I'll review based on what you mentioned. I did check the Purge and it does offer to remove all previous textures, etc... Considering the size of architectural renderings, I guess I shouldn't be concerned. I have a favor to ask..if you can. I'd love to see a screenshot of your dwg export window when that's being done. There are quite a few boxes and I'm just curious to see how you set that up. I send overseas to AutoCad users if that makes any difference.

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I don't personally export to DWG very often other than in troubleshooting cases, most of my Vectorworks work is 3D modeling and renders, exporting to images or video afterwards, so someone with DWG in their workflow would be better able to advise you here.

However these are the defaults we usually recommend to architects we train in house to keep things simple:
Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 5.43.27 PM.png

With the Class/Layer mapping and the "Export as Flattened 2D Objects" being probably the most commonly altered settings, other than exporting classes as layers.

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It is worth stripping out object history as well. If you convert everything to generic solids then the file size will definitely reduce. The downside with doing that is you will find it more difficult to make any changes to the overall pieces of furniture should the need arise.

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Also, if you have rendered viewports in the document with the document preference "Save Viewport Cache" on, try turning it off, save the file, and check the file size. This will require you to re-render the viewports every time you open the file, but it will reduce file size.

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15 mb doesn’t seem huge, but there are savings available esp via symbols.

 

Create symbols for any repeating elements.

 

The round feet - are those sweeps? Small increments?  4 symbol instances are about .25 file size of 4 sweeps. Modeling via NURBS lofts might be even smaller size symbol than sweep symbols.

 

Side assembly - symbol containing the machined board symbol and molding symbol. Mirror for opposite side.

 

Door assembly - Create a nested symbol containing symbols of the cross battens, frame pieces (is left frame a mirrored version of right? Top a mirror of bot?), backing board, hardware. Mirror sub assemby symbols s and whole door symbol  as needed. 

 

Pulls & hinges nested in the door symbol - instances of symbols containing  pull or hinge object symbol and screw symbols.

 

Curved geometry, eg extrude along path moldings with intricate profiles,  and PIOs can be heavy file overhead. As noted above, generic solids can save size. Modeling directly with  NURBS (eg lofts instead of sweeps) or converting to NURBS can also reduce size. 

 

-B

 

 

Edited by Benson Shaw

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Very informative, Benson....thank you for the information. The feet are sweeps and no symbols were made which sounds like, if I do that, it would help a lot to decrease size. Much appreciated.

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1 hour ago, Steven Kenzer said:

no symbols were made which sounds like, if I do that, it would help a lot to decrease size.

 

Plus, you can change e.g. 1 round feet to change all of them at once.

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Interesting. I just changed the Bun Foot to a symbol. The file went from close to 15 MB to 10.5 MB. That's a pretty large decrease in size for such a simple move. Thanks again, Benson.

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On 1/19/2018 at 2:47 PM, markdd said:

It is worth stripping out object history as well. If you convert everything to generic solids then the file size will definitely reduce. The downside with doing that is you will find it more difficult to make any changes to the overall pieces of furniture should the need arise.

When necessary, I keep a morgue file with originals as symbols, so I still have access to history, then it's a matter of editing symbol and then symbol replace or import, which offers to replace.

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19 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

15 mb doesn’t seem huge, but there are savings available esp via symbols.

 

Create symbols for any repeating elements.

 

The round feet - are those sweeps? Small increments?  4 symbol instances are about .25 file size of 4 sweeps. Modeling via NURBS lofts might be even smaller size symbol than sweep symbols.

 

Side assembly - symbol containing the machined board symbol and molding symbol. Mirror for opposite side.

 

Door assembly - Create a nested symbol containing symbols of the cross battens, frame pieces (is left frame a mirrored version of right? Top a mirror of bot?), backing board, hardware. Mirror sub assemby symbols s and whole door symbol  as needed. 

 

Pulls & hinges nested in the door symbol - instances of symbols containing  pull or hinge object symbol and screw symbols.

 

Curved geometry, eg extrude along path moldings with intricate profiles,  and PIOs can be heavy file overhead. As noted above, generic solids can save size. Modeling directly with  NURBS (eg lofts instead of sweeps) or converting to NURBS can also reduce size. 

 

-B

 

 

 

Should parametric 3-D parts take much space at all?   A sweep should take very, very little space.  It's two poly lines to the program, and the file shouldn't have to store the actual 3D info.  But, VW may not function that way and may save the full 3D information.  

 

Cinema 4D is much, much better at managing file size.  Even my biggest projects with tons of high-poly sculpted 3-D objects are well under 200MB.  I have some where an entire museum gallery model including a sculpted sand floor, a lighting grid, a ramped glass deck, and a dozen sculpted poly objects has a file size of 10.5 MB.  Another is an entire museum exhibit...every wall, case, scenic object, pipe, and lighting fixture, for a 10,000 square foot exhibit...total file size is 45MB.  Contrast that with my current smallest soundstage with a simple mid-size apartment set, a tiny room set,  and a few lights...file size 155MB.  I do have a lot of lighting symbols and some textures files,  but still...

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20 minutes ago, SamIWas said:

Should parametric 3-D parts take much space at all?   A sweep should take very, very little space.  It's two poly lines to the program, and the file shouldn't have to store the actual 3D info.  But, VW may not function that way and may save the full 3D information.

I don't know the engineering answer to those ideas.  I think the sweep increment is part of the overhead, as well as the profile and offset from 0,0,0.

 

Try this in your own way, but here is some file size data from my testing of a new blank file with a "ball" foot.

 

Set up

•Profile is a 3 segment polyline starting at 000, short corner vertex for flat bottom, arc vertex to make the bulge, corner vertex for flat top.

•Sweep around 000 for total 4" diam, 4" tall"

•No color fill, no texture.

•Select the sweep, then Edit>Rectangular Array 10x10 to make 100 duplicates:

 

File size data

  • Sweep at .70° increment (default)>Save, Close, Get Info = 0.614 MB
  • Sweep at .70° increment (default)>10x10 rectangular array = 100 copies of the sweep> Save, Close, Get Info = 57.1 MB
  • Reopen>Delete all but the original sweep. Change increment to 10°. Array to 100 copies>Save, Close, Get Info = 47.3 MB
  • Reopen>Delete all but the original. Set increment .70°. Create Symbol of the sweep. Array 100 instances>Save, Close, Get Info = 0.938 MB
  • Reopen>Delete the Sweep & all Resources (file is blank)>Save, Close, Get Info = 0.143 MB

The sweeps are about .5MB ea.  The symbol instances are about .01MB ea. 

 

-B

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18 minutes ago, Benson Shaw said:

I don't know the engineering answer to those ideas.  I think the sweep increment is part of the overhead, as well as the profile and offset from 0,0,0.

 

Try this in your own way, but here is some file size data from my testing of a new blank file with a "ball" foot.

 

Set up

•Profile is a 3 segment polyline starting at 000, short corner vertex for flat bottom, arc vertex to make the bulge, corner vertex for flat top.

•Sweep around 000 for total 4" diam, 4" tall"

•No color fill, no texture.

•Select the sweep, then Edit>Rectangular Array 10x10 to make 100 duplicates:

 

File size data

  • Sweep at .70° increment (default)>Save, Close, Get Info = 0.614 MB
  • Sweep at .70° increment (default)>10x10 rectangular array = 100 copies of the sweep> Save, Close, Get Info = 57.1 MB
  • Reopen>Delete all but the original sweep. Change increment to 10°. Array to 100 copies>Save, Close, Get Info = 47.3 MB
  • Reopen>Delete all but the original. Set increment .70°. Create Symbol of the sweep. Array 100 instances>Save, Close, Get Info = 0.938 MB
  • Reopen>Delete the Sweep & all Resources (file is blank)>Save, Close, Get Info = 0.143 MB

The sweeps are about .5MB ea.  The symbol instances are about .01MB ea. 

 

-B

 

Man, that's just wrong.  A file with 100 simple sweep objects taking nearly 50MB of space?  Just tried it in Cinema with 1000 4x4 sweeps with 1˚ increment and 1˚ detail on the rounded profile.  3.2 MB file.   I've always thought the file sizes of VWX files were a little ridiculous.  That sounds like an engineering issue to get such a huge file size with 100 simple sweeps.

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^what he said. srsly. Having said that I think it might be fun to see how the various ways of creating the ball foot saves/balloons file size. Primitives anyone?

 

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2 hours ago, SamIWas said:

Just tried it in Cinema

I have zero experience with Cinema (or Rhino, or SketchUp, or other 3d modeling software).  Does Cinema have some kind of optimization that automatically treats duplicates as equivalents of vwx symbol instances?  The vwx file size of 1Mb for the 100 symbol instances doesn't seem out of line. The curve in my ball foot profile is vwx highest resolution.  Visually, there is NO difference between the instances and the duplicates.  File navigation in vwx is definitely better with the symbols.

 

I'm concerned that vwx file size is typically larger than other related software, as are many other users. I definitely don't want Vectorworks to have bloatware file size (or does it already?).  But is big vwx file really a problem? Just because it is a big number? Are the main issues file transfer and storage? Or are performance issues also attributable to big file size - navigation, render/redraw, tool lag, save & backup lags, crashes, etc?  Probably some relationship there, but file size may not be the only factor.

 

I see some lag in my bigger files, but not usually a standstill. In my limited use, the software is generally very stable.  And I'm on a 4 year old Retina laptop.

 

-B

Edited by Benson Shaw
hedging

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3 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

I don't know the engineering answer to those ideas.  I think the sweep increment is part of the overhead, as well as the profile and offset from 0,0,0.

Try this in your own way, but here is some file size data from my testing of a new blank file with a "ball" foot.

-B

 

^ Another great analysis.

 

Personally I think this may all come down to the amount of time it takes VW to open and work with a file. VW saving seems to be based on holding a "snapshot" of last state of every object (basically polygon versions of geometry). All of these "snapshots" take up space. For comparison one of my projects files is 89.1mb. The backup created by VW of the same project is only 58.2mb. That's about a third less for the same file minus the "snapshots" of the geometry it regenerates when you open the backup. I suspect that the process of "regenerating" the geometry is still part of the single core math process which is why VW uses the "snapshots" to speed things up.

 

JimW also mentioned in another thread that VW doesn't use any sort of compression in its file format beyond the native ones used for graphics files (textures, viewport renders, etc.).

 

Kevin

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

I have zero experience with Cinema (or Rhino, or SketchUp, or other 3d modeling software).  Does Cinema have some kind of optimization that automatically treats duplicates as equivalents of vwx symbol instances?

 

No.  I believe what Cinema does is just save the object as two splines, their location, and the location of the sweep.  So, instead of saving a crapload of polygon info, it's just saving the poly line definitions, which is just a few numbers, and the locations, which is just some coordinates.  It's a tiny snippet of text.  As far as the more complex geometry, I'm assuming it just has a different method of storing the definitions.

 

9 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

The vwx file size of 1Mb for the 100 symbol instances doesn't seem out of line. The curve in my ball foot profile is vwx highest resolution.  Visually, there is NO difference between the instances and the duplicates.  File navigation in vwx is definitely better with the symbols.

 

The 1Mb file size for the symbols sounds much more reasonable.

 

9 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

I'm concerned that vwx file size is typically larger than other related software, as are many other users. I definitely don't want Vectorworks to have bloatware file size (or does it already?).  But is big vwx file really a problem? Just because it is a big number? Are the main issues file transfer and storage?

 

For me, the main issue is transfer and storage.  It's pretty much impossible to email a VW file.  You have to go through web transfer of some sort, which is a pain.  Some of our Dropbox folders are multiple gigabytes (one show is 35GB), which just chews up hard drive space when you are linked to multiple shows.

 

9 hours ago, Benson Shaw said:

 

I see some lag in my bigger files, but not usually a standstill. In my limited use, the software is generally very stable.  And I'm on a 4 year old Retina laptop.

 

I have a 6-year old iMac that I run on at home, and it is also quite stable.

 

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Another interesting result of converting the Bun Foot to a symbol is that my exported dwg's are now much smaller...50%+ less. Before, without the bun foot symbol creation, the dwg export size was very close to the  actual drawing file size. It seems these feet are at the root cause of the large file syndrome on this. They were created with a sweep command. It seems "sweep" object/s have a lot to do with this.

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