How to split point clouds using CloudCompare

Sometimes when you have an error in your scan data due to tracking loss you are able to adjust your point cloud by splitting it and registering the segments together to align. To do this you will split Frame Numbers in CloudCompare. CloudCompare is an open source point cloud tool. Check out our Introduction to Point Clouds for more information on CloudCompare and other point cloud tools. 

NOTE: In order to make use of this feature, scans must be taken with Capture v2.0 or later. 

You will first need to install CloudCompare on your computer. 

To begin open the ply, being sure to select the scalar field frame_number or relative_stamp depending on your Capture version.


With the cloud and scalar field selected, scroll down under Properties to the Parameters tab and unselect Show NaN/out of range values in grey.

On the Display ranges tab, select the valid region. The numbers represent the duration since the beginning of the scan in units of ~0.1 seconds.

Verify the point cloud selection

From the menu select

  • Edit
    • Scalar Fields
      • Filter by value

Click Split to split the cloud in two

You will now have two clouds, in addition to the original full cloud

Split cloud, with unique color applied for visualization.

Once you have split your scan, you can then do a multitude of actions to repair your scans. Data can be split multiple times to crop out bad areas. The data can be split and registered together again. This is a versatile tool for getting the data in a form needed for various projects.   

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