Converting a Point Cloud to Mesh

Our customers use the Paracosm PX-80, because they need to quickly capture environments in order to bring into digital tools. If you’re interested in accurate measurements, point clouds are the most detailed data format, but you are interest in visualizing the data in a lightweight responsive way, many people want to bring it into a game engine like Unity3D or Unreal Engine. Game engines typically prefer mesh surface models, so you’ll need to convert our point cloud to a mesh. There are a variety of options to produce a mesh model from a point cloud.

PX-80 Outputs:

  • Color point cloud: LAS or PLY
  • Retrace Spherical Images: 250 degree color images available in our Retrace viewer.

Open Source tools

Workflow

  1. Scan environment
    1. PX-80 outputs: LAS or PLY color point cloud & Retrace spherical images
  2. Load point cloud into Cloud Compare.
    1. With the point cloud selected, Edit > Subsample.
    2. Determine the reduction in the level of detail. We prefer the Octree method and sample size of 12 or lower (8 is light weight for collision volumes, 12 is dense enough to retain detail).
    3. Export as a .ply.
  3. Load the .ply into Meshlab.
    1. With the point cloud selected, Filters > Normals, curvatures and orientation > Compute normals for point sets
    2. Now that the point cloud has normals, go to Filters > Remeshing, Simplification and Reconstruction > Screen Surface Poisson Reconstruction
    3. Play with the settings but default works well.
    4. Trim any aberrant planes.
  4. Export
    1. We prefer .obj or .dae file formats for the mesh.
  5. Load into Unity

Misc tips & tricks:

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