Answer to overweight 3d models : Skimp

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A high level of detail is essential for our 3D modeling work here at Fat Pencil. But with detail can come cumbersome and unwieldy file sizes. Thankfully, mind.sight.studios has solved this problem with their SketchUp extension, Skimp. The Fat Pencil team had the opportunity to beta test Skimp on one of our actual project files and share the results with you here.


To test Skimp, we compared its file size reduction of a SketchUp model file, a bus in this case, to our manual reduction of the same file’s size. Without Skimp we manually remove any components not visible in our application, such as the rear lights, and replace high detail components with low detail versions wherever possible, such as simpler versions of the bus seats and its wheels. We also manually reduced the amount of detail in other components without replacing them, such as reducing the number of polygons in the tires as much as retains their general look and shape. This manual method resulted in a 30MB file compared to the original 225MB and required about 24 working hours of our team.


Now contrast this with Skimp. In 5 minutes of team member effort and processing time Skimp reduced the model file size to 62MB with negligible change to its appearance. Furthermore, we applied Skimp to the 30MB file we had already produced from the manual method further reduced it to 19MB. In this way, Skimp provides a huge improvement to our workflow by reducing both data and time required per model.


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original large bus: 225MB

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original large bus - skimped: 62MB


As if that weren’t enough, Skimp has other notable features:

  • Skimp imports OBJ files directly: Otherwise, our workflow requires the additional step of using SimLab to convert files to a type SketchUp can open.
  • Intuitive user interface: The learning curve with Skimp is nearly non-existent.
  • Scalable amount of file size reduction: A slider allows the user to select the precise degree of file size reduction with real-time viewing of the result so that it can be tailored per model and application.

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manual downsize: 30 MB

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manual downsize + skimped: 19 MB

The import was not 100% flawless but this could have been us getting super excited about the tiny file sizes it can produce - As you can see there are some texture / surfaces differences between the models but this is in no way a deal breaker, we would much rather spend a little time cleaning up textures than spend days grueling over every saved MB.


We are excited to have Skimp as a tool since it will surely be a game changer for our modeling projects going forward.

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Jazzy Winston is a Visual Designer at Fat Pencil Studio