Why Using SketchUp’s Follow Me Makes Your Computer Slow

By Aidan Chopra, Rebecca Huehls

When you use SketchUp’s Follow Me with an extrusion profile that’s a circle or an arc, you create a piece of 3D geometry that’s very big. In this case, big, means that the geometry has lots of faces, and faces are what slow down your computer. Without going into detail about how SketchUp works (we don’t really know that anyway), keep this in mind: The more faces you have in your model, the worse your computer’s performance will be. At a certain point, you’ll stop being able to orbit, your scenes will stutter, and you’ll be tempted to do something terrible out of frustration.

The first pipe in the image below that follows has been extruded using Follow Me; it was made with a 24-sided circle as an extrusion profile, and it has 338 faces. Hidden Geometry is turned on (in the View menu) so that you can see how many faces you have.

The second pipe uses a 10-sided circle as an extrusion profile. As a result, it has only 116 faces. What an improvement!

The third pipe also uses a 10-sided circle as an extrusion profile, but the arc in its extrusion path is made up of only 4 segments, instead of the usual 12. This pipe has a total of 52 faces. Even better.

The second image below shows all three pipes with Hidden Geometry turned off. Is the difference in detail worth the exponential increase in the number of faces? Most of the time, the answer is no.

To change the number of sides in a circle or an arc, just before or just after you create it, follow these steps:

  1. Type the number of sides you want to have.
  2. Type an s to tell SketchUp that you mean “sides.”
  3. Press Enter.

SketvhUp's Follow Me