[Bf-committers] Blender and laser scanner - amendment

Antoine Cottin acottin at ultiscan.com
Mon Apr 29 23:19:25 CEST 2013

Hi y'all,

Sorry for the repost this might be obvious or not, but after re-reading my previous post, I feel that need to mention that our goal is not to produce a tool dedicate to our sole use. Our goal is to develop a tool for us and the Blender community that will be release under GPL.



My name is Antoine Cottin, I'm a research scientist specialized in active remote sensing applied to earth sciences. For the last 8 years I've been working for/with a laser scanner manufacturer developing processing tools chain for laser scanner data processing. I have an extended knowledge in the various laser scanner systems (hardware and software) and their associated data format.

I'm the founder of Ultiscan, a French base company, specialized in laser scanning services.

Our main objective/activity at Ultiscan beside laser scanning assets is data fusion between laser scanner data (points cloud) and 3D assets for 3D rendering and animation. Here is an example of one of our last project. This purpose of this project was to merge a 3D asset (the front gate of the heritage building) with a point cloud of the whole building to show to the client how the restoration of gate of the building would look like (some work on texturing is still required):


The gate have been mesh, from the laser scanner data, and then retopologize (from ~2500k faces to 600 faces), texture and render with Blender. The points cloud animation was done with a commercial software. Then the two pieces was merged together. To do that, we used Blender for the camera tracking, the render and the compositing of the final result.

Needless to say that it is doable but a bit tedious. Also, reconstructing the 3D space from camera tracking defeat the initial purpose of using 3D laser scanning data which are per essence more dense and most likely more accurate.

My company, and I, would love to have the points cloud capability integrate to Blender to being able to generate this kind of animations (but nicer),


but also to streamline and help with some of the VFX pipeline.

So we did some scripting to test the capability but obviously python scripting isn't the good approach to read and display millions of points. It also remain the question on how to efficiently display a points cloud ? as point cannot be rendered, a turnaround is needed. We tried to put a small circle at each point of the points cloud but this literally overflow Blender.

In the shed of our tests, we have to get into Blender development for this and we are willing to give a try. I've contacted Ton Roosendaal and he told me to post the idea in here to discuss it's relevance.

I'm a self taught coder and I've been coding for the last 13 years mainly in IDL/ENVI, which is a dedicate remote sensing/data visualization language. I've knowledge and more limited expertise's in C and object-oriented language like python and objective-C.

I think the best way to succeed to such project would be to team-up with some mentor(s) that already have experience in Blender development. So if someone is interested in this project, please give us a shout. 

Please give us your idea on this project.
Looking forward to discuss this exiting project with you.

Respectfully your.
Dr. Antoine Cottin

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