Retrace v1.0.4 Walkthrough

Notice: This is an older version of this software. For access to the newest version of Retrace, check out the software download page and related articles.


Welcome to Retrace!

Retrace is a lightweight companion tool for viewing point-clouds and reviewing worksite scans.


In the main menu bar, select File > Load.

Navigate to the desired scan (.zip file) and click Open.

You can also drag and drop your scans(s) from their stored location into an open instance of Retrace.

Loaded scans will appear in the bottom panel.

Note: Do not unzip scans.


Main Viewport:

  • Click and drag the right-mouse button to rotate your view.
  • To move forward through the scan, press the ‘W’ or ‘up arrow’ key.
  • To move backwards through the scan, press the ‘S’ or ‘down arrow’ key.
  • To move to a specific pose, left-click one of the target icons in the scene.

Selecting a scan in the bottom panel will update the scene with the selected scan.


Top layout:
  • File: Load scans and exit Retrace.
  • Minimap: A navigable bird’s eye view of the scene.
Bottom layout: (From left to right)
  • Scene Tools:
    • Tape Measure
    • Annotations (Enabled if scan contains annotations from capture)
  • Scan List: A collection of the currently loaded scans.
  • Scene View: View settings.

At any time the bottom panels can be collapsed with the green bar(s)

Scene Tools:

Tape Measure:

Tape Measure allows a user to quickly make and reference measurements in scene. Toggle the visibility of the Point Cloud and Photosphere to refine measurements.

  • Clicking the “Ruler” icon in the bottom left panel to open up the Tape Measure Tool window.
  • The tool contains a list of the tapes in the current scan.
  • Adding tapes:
    • While the tape tool is open, left-clicking in scene will create a tape end.
    • Continue to click to add tape ends.
    • Left-clicking near an already placed tape end will add a final point, a finishing segment, and complete that tape.
    • Pressing “enter” will also complete the tape, without adding an additional tape segment.
  • Removing tapes:
    • Pressing “Clear All” in the tape tool window will remove all tapes in the current scan.
    • Pressing the ‘x’ button next to a listed tape will only remove the concurrent tape.
    • When hovering over a segment in the scene, ‘Backspace’ will remove the tape.
    • When hovering over a tape point in the scene, ‘Backspace’ will instead remove only the highlighted point.
  • Editing placed tapes:
    • Drag an already placed tape end by right-clicking on it. Left-click to finish dragging.
    • Moving from the minimap and rotating the view in scene is still available while dragging the tape end.
    • Hover over a tape to check the distance.
      • Metric is visible in scene but both metric (m) and imperial (ft) values are viewable from the tape list in the tape tools window.
  • Export:
    • Pressing “Export” will output an .obj file containing all tapes in the current scan.
    • Importing the obj in a 3D editing program will show the tapes as lines. Below is an example in Cloud Compare.
    • Note: the axis and orientation differs for each program.
      • Retrace is Z forward, Y up
  • Close:
    • Press the “Ruler” icon again or the ‘x’ button in the tool window to close
    • Tapes are visible while the window is open and hidden while the window is closed.
Annotations: (visible if scan contains annotations during capture)

The Annotations feature is available if any annotations were made while scanning. It contains a list of user-created notes during capture and allows the user to quickly jump to where those notes were taken.

  • Toggle the visibility through “Show Annotations” option in the bottom right panel.
  • Left-click an annotation in scene to jump to the closest frame.
  • Right-click an annotation in scene to edit.
    • “Update” will save the changes to the annotation.
    • Currently however, updated changes will not be remembered on application close.
    • “Close” closes the edit window without updating any changes.
  • Select the “Pen and Paper” icon in the bottom left panel to open the Annotation Tools window.
  • The tools window contains a list of annotations in the current scan.
    • Expanding an annotation will display more details.
    • Pressing “Jump to” in the expanded details will update the user’s position to the listed annotation in scene
Scan List:
  • Scan Thumbnail
    • Selecting will update the scene with the selected scan.
      • Details (top-left icon): Opens a sub-menu with info about the scan.
      • Remove (“x” icon): Removes scan from the list and scene
Scene View:
  • Photosphere :: Point Cloud (Toggle between 3 view states)
    • 1) Enable only photosphere.
    • 2) Enable both photosphere and point cloud visibility.
    • 3) Enable only point cloud.
  • Show Trajectory
    • Toggle the selectable view icons.
  • Show Annotations
    • Toggle annotation visibility if scan contains them.
  • More Settings:
    • Clip Near and Clip Far
      • Adjust the clipping ranges of the camera. Does not affect the photosphere.
    • Point Size
      • Resize points. Larger values may lead to slower viewing.


The Minimap provides a bird’s eye view of the scan. The trajectory and user’s view orientation is displayed as an overlay on the point cloud. Selecting a pose on the trajectory will move the user’s position in the minimap and view as well.

  • Zoom with the middle mouse scroll or adjust the slider.
  • Toggle the Lock icon to pan over the scan. When unlocked, right-click and drag to pan.
  • Left-click a trajectory frame icon to jump to that position in scene.
  • Grab the corner of the Minimap window to resize.


Exit the application through File > Quit or by closing Retrace.

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