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Troubleshoot V-Ray for SketchUp Errors

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Here is how we troubleshoot V-Ray for SketchUp errors


Are you often having to troubleshoot V-Ray for SketchUp errors?


Does your machine run slowly when trying to render?


Do you see the dreaded 'bug splat' pop-up a little too often?


We feel your pain.


Grab a drink and get comfortable, you are going to want to read this...


bug splat issue in Sketchup


How do we begin to troubleshoot V-Ray for SketchUp errors?

To troubleshoot errors or crashes, we must always begin by trying to recreate the problem first, and then gradually rely on the process of elimination.

If we are able to recreate the problem, we know that the problem exists within the file and it is not an external issue caused by other running programs or drives.


If we encounter the same issues when we reopen the file after restarting the machine, we can be confident that the problem is confined to SketchUp & V-Ray.


Learning from these processes, we can over time become more experienced with troubleshooting V-Ray for SketchUp errors early on and ‘smell the smoke’ with new projects whilst putting in place new optimised ways of working after each resolution.


Eventually, your scenes will rarely run into problems and if they do, you will most likely be able to cross-reference previous projects and either resolve them quickly or have the knowledge to know how to find them.


Most hardware-related questions that we are asked by former delegates are solved by using the optimisation tricks that you will find below, rather than by investing in expensive new hardware.


Hardware is expensive and does not necessarily mean that you are solving the problem. It may be that you are merely increasing the power of your setup to deal with the problem quicker, but the problem and lack of optimisation still exist and remains unsolved.

My scene is really heavy and starts to lag when I orbit, what can I do?

When asked this question, it is natural to immediately turn to hardware issues, but firstly we should think about the complexity of the scene.

  1. Are we utilising proxies? This keeps geometry within SketchUp to a minimum, whilst preserving the level of quality that you need when rendering.

  2. Have we run a clean-up to make sure we do not have multiple faces within complex imported models? We recommend using CleanUp³ for its ease of use!

  3. Are we working with our SketchUp edges turned off? By turning off our edges in the SketchUp ‘view’ tab, we can immediately smooth out any orbital lag that we may encounter.

Remember, orbital lag is GPU (graphics card) based and loading or processing lag is CPU based (the main processor, or brain of your PC)!


Check the points above before investing your hard-earned cash in a new GPU.


SketchUp really does not need much GPU power. At Archilime HQ, we rarely need to troubleshoot V-Ray for SketchUp errors when it comes to GPUs – we all use Nvidia GeForce 1060s (which are relatively middle-of-the-range when it comes to power) with absolutely no graphic issues whatsoever.


During our Complete Guide to V-Ray for SKP course, we practice key techniques to troubleshoot V-Ray for SketchUp errors of your own, so that you can have the confidence to fix your own problems when they arise!


My SketchUp file size seems too big in comparison to my scene, why could this be?

Everything that we put into a SketchUp file impacts the file size; whether that be models, proxies, HDRI’s, or textures maps.

Sometimes if we are struggling with file size this will directly affect the RAM usage for SketchUp and will naturally put the program under strain during the render stages.


It is unlikely for a Sketchup file to crash due to RAM limitations because Sketchup will automatically control its usage.


RAM crashes will not usually occur until the file is starting to render so it is worth keeping an eye on the filesizes of the textures that you are using (use JPEGs where possible and try to make sure that your maps do not exceed 10-15Mb in filesize).


If you do not keep an eye on this, and you start to use PNGs or TIFF file types (which are generally many times larger files than JPEGs), you can very quickly see your render load-up times increase, which is when RAM bottlenecking can occur and crash your renders.


My loading times are taking forever, why?

When we set out to troubleshoot V-Ray for SketchUp errors, there are different types of loading issues that we can identify before we then go through the process of elimination. These types of loading scenarios use the CPU.


For SketchUp processing, we have the dreaded ‘wheel of death’ where the mouse cursor circulates and forces Sketchup to temporarily freeze.


This usually occurs when SketchUp has to work extra hard to complete a function – this often happens when using plugins such as Skatter, Profile Builder, Roundcorner etc, or computing a native modelling technique like a copy & paste. Check out some of our favourite plugins here.


We also have V-Ray loading times which would occur on the load up of the V-Ray Frame Buffer or the Light Cache stage of the render.


Then, we have the actual rendering process whereby the buckets (threads) process the image through progressive rendering or bucket rendering.


render process with swarm in V-Ray

All of these load styles for SketchUp and V-Ray are slightly different from one another as they use the cores/threads of the CPU differently. One thing to pay attention to is the clock speed (GHz) of both your base clock-speed and turbo clock-speed for processing and rendering.


SketchUp is a CPU-based modeling package that benefits from single-core performance so the number of cores is almost irrelevant for SketchUp use only.


The key thing to pay attention to is the turbo clock speed and the CPU architecture because the only time turbo clock speeds are put to use is when a single core is being operated – like processing Skatter.


The newer the architecture of the CPU (generally speaking with Intel) the better the core performance will be. For more info on CPU benchmarks, take a look at V-Ray’s standalone service where you can see how your own hardware ranks in comparison with others.


If we turn to V-Ray rendering, all the cores available to the CPU will be used and split and will naturally run at the base speed, this is called hyperthreading.


What is hyperthreading?

Hyper-threading is a process by which a CPU divides up its physical cores into virtual cores. When rendering, these are treated as physical cores by the operating system and all of those virtual cores (buckets or threads) will then be used – so the more cores, the better!

rendering displacement with the swarm in vray

You can manually ‘overclock’ your CPU for the best results, but this process can be complicated and needs to be done by someone with the right skills, if done incorrectly instability issues and crashes may occur. Speak to us in the chat if you would like to know more about this!


This balances out the higher clock speed over all the cores as opposed to the turbo only focusing on one or two cores depending on the CPU type.


If your loading times are becoming an issue, I’d recommend looking into a more suitable CPU for your desired purpose but remember, depending on what CPU you chose you may need different components to run it, especially if you are looking at threadrippers! They are hungry for power!


Before I troubleshoot V-Ray for SketchUp errors; how do I check RAM usage?


There are two ways to do this which will depend on whether you are utilising the V-Ray Swarm with configured nodes linked to your network as a local render farm or If you are using a single desktop.


If the latter, you can simply press ‘CTRL, ALT + DELETE’ and then go to the task manager.

On the task manager, you can find one of the top tabs called ‘performance’ which is where you can monitor your usage for all your hardware if you think you are getting RAM issues, this is the first place to start looking to see how that RAM is being delegated and if you are finding your RAM is bottoming out, try closing all your other programs as a short term fix.


screenshot of memory useage

If you are running nodes through the swarm, you can check the nodes’ RAM usage from the V-Ray UI.


The V-Ray Swarm interface is accessible by a web browser which then gives you access to all the machines visible on the local network and includes options for configuring and controlling the V-Ray Swarm node machines.


You can get into the V-Ray Swarm web interface by opening a web browser window and typing the following address: http://localhost:24267 where 24267 is the default port number used by V-Ray Swarm for communication.


vray swarm interface

Bonus points for imaginative names for your PCs – we Archilimes are big fans of Marvel!

Remember though, your nodes will be bottlenecked by the amount of RAM your localhost (your desktop PC) has. For example, if your nodes have 64GB RAM and your local host has 32GB RAM, then the nodes will be capped at 32GB not then utilising the power of the full render farm.


If usually your RAM is capable of rendering your scenes, but a particular scene is causing issues, try changing your render type from bucket rendering to progressive, this then handles the RAM in a different way and dumps each pass once it is done.


Bucket rendering is more efficient and faster however progressive rendering gives you immediate results at poor quality and then computes ‘passes’ naturally being able to deal with RAM differently.


Progressive rendering could be much slower to achieve your desired noise limit though, so it’s up to you to test it!


What questions must we ask before building a new machine or upgrading a PC component?


This has got to be the most asked question we receive from our delegates, which requires another question:

What do you need your machine to do?

Before we think about building or buying a new machine we must understand what we need it for in the present and in the future (maybe you have contemplated producing animation in Lumion or Unreal Engine but currently only use Sketchup & V-Ray).


Different programs use different pieces of hardware more efficiently than others so it’s important for us to understand what requirements certain programs have and how those programs operate with that piece of hardware.


The first step is to identify and refine your workflow so that it is as optimised as possible. If we are running into freezes or crashes whilst still looking to then spend money upgrading hardware, we likely need to reassess how we are working before purchasing any new equipment.


Think about how programs use GPU and CPU and then start to build a list of parts that suit that.


To know how to troubleshoot V-Ray for SketchUp errors, you need to know what each PC part does…


This is a complex topic, but let's take a brief look at each component. If you would like a deeper look at how V-Ray works with your hardware, we dedicate an entire chapter to this on our Complete Guide to V-Ray for SketchUp.


CPU

V-Ray CPU rendering is the classical method of rendering. V-Ray uses the CPU to calculate light ray traces as they bounce around your scene. It scales very well with both clock speed and core count, so we recommend that you invest in a powerful CPU with a high base GHz speed and multiple cores.


Video Cards (GPU)

For any kind of realtime rendering, the video card selection is the biggest single factor in rendering speed/performance. If you own an Nvidia GPU, you can also use the Nvidia Denoiser.


RAM

The exact amount of RAM you need is going to depend on how ‘heavy’ your projects are with difficult-to-render elements such as vegetation, glass materials, etc. We recommend that you opt for 32-64Gb RAM to be on the safe side. For reference, we use 64Gb and manage to operate efficiently. Typically interior scenes demand less than exterior scenes due to the amount of vegetation.


Hard Drives

Whilst more expensive than their HDD counterparts; we recommend using an SSD for the primary drive that hosts SKP & V-Ray as the high speed of SSDs allows your system to boot, launch applications, and load files many times faster than any traditional hard drive (HDD).


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