[Bf-committers] Blender and laser scanner - amendment

Jace Priester jacepriester at threespaceimaging.com
Tue Apr 30 00:02:28 CEST 2013

I wrote in point cloud support for Blender over a year ago, but I have been
told repeatedly by the developers that there is no interest in the
community and therefore they aren't interested in implementing it.
Hopefully another voice will help with that.

The code isn't extensive as is. It requires a custom data layer to support
true per-vertex color (as Blender currently implements vertex color as part
of face data - not vertex data). There's a bit of extra code in the mesh
drawing functions to access the colors in the custom data layer, and then
it draws points to the screen using the set colors. As a bonus, it also
supports per-vertex sizing which allows for point distance attenuation
(which is necessary for a good appearance). My current code does *not*
integrate with any rendering engine - it only works in the editor window -
and I gave up trying to get help taking it any further, as I don't use it
that often anyway.

If a developer knowledgeable enough about BI/cycles wants to hop in and
help with finishing this, I'd be happy to collaborate. I see no need for
blender to be a point cloud editing program. Meshlab and others are better
suited to that, as that is specifically what they are built for. But the
ability to import and display point cloud data, in my opinion, is vital to
Blender being usable in more fields than it is now. So that said, I think
short term and easily attainable goals should be to

1) import point cloud data in a couple common formats (I have done this
2) display points with colors and distance attentuation (also done)
3) export point cloud data (also done)
4) some user interface controls for turning colors on/off, adjusting
displayed vertex size and attenuation (have not done any of this)
5) support for render at least in BI

On Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 2:19 PM, Antoine Cottin <acottin at ultiscan.com>wrote:

> 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.
> Cheers.
> Antoine
> #######
> 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):
> https://www.dropbox.com/s/u6bj80fi8ajqq8r/00_Gruss_Fusion_100p_Black.mp4
> 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),
> https://www.dropbox.com/s/qrlmt3zq84knlpq/00_Gruss_PointCloud_Animation.m4v
> 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
> -------------------------------
> Ultiscan
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Jace Priester
Threespace Imaging
jacepriester at threespaceimaging.com

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