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Its a point cloud thing


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Hello All

Does anyone have any experience with point cloud model?


I have a file .pts (actually 3 as they are so big, 3gb each!) which imports great into VW17.  I set it to import only 10% of the points, which is fine for me.

My issue is that the point cloud model is imported a single entity which I cannot seem to convert into individual points (3d loci).

This means I cannot click on one point in the model to gain info on its height.  The only way around this is click a new 3d loci on the point i want information from.  However this doesn't work as you have to view it in OpenGL so the 3d loci disappears!

I have tried ungrouping , converting to 3d polys etc but it just gives me a bitmap and an object with nothing in it.


I guess my question is, can you separate the point cloud model into individual points?

Also, why do you have to view the model in OpenGL to see it? 


Many thanks.


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I use a free bit of software called MeshLabs for point cloud work.


I think from memory you can select individual points, chunks and groups, and save them all out individually, as well as re-aligning and scaling of the cloud as a whole.

I also think (from memory) that it'll allow you to filter out a lot (i.e. just 10% or whatever) as well as generating a mesh (save the point cloud as .obj format) which will enable hidden line views and so on...

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Go to Tools > Options > Vectorworks Preferences and under the 'Display Tab' you can set 3D Loci to always be visible.


I have not used point clouds in Vectorworks, but in addition to the aforementioned MeshLab there is also the open source software CloudCompare which can also filter / subset points and create a mesh prior to importing it into Vw.

Edited by rDesign
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Thanks rDesign.  

Nice little tip for the 3d loci.  Will look into the Cloudcompare software.  I couldn't get the previously mentioned Meshlab to open my .pts files.


Matt - The point cloud was generated by a survey company so I have no idea about the process.




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I have a bit of experience with this. As a tip, I wouldn't recommend converting them to individual 3d loci - as it will increase the file size tremendously. 

What I would do however are several things.

When you import the entire .pts file or .laz or .las I would put it on a separate design layer and do not touch it.

Then i would use the clip club to get the proper section cut you need, however deep you need it. So lets say your pts file will have a high elevation of 7', and a low elevation at 3'-0" - use the clip cube to clip that precise amount. 

When you finish doing that, right click the top face of the clip cube, and select convert to viewport. This is important - Use a design layer viewport instead of a sheet layer viewort as you can snap the points. Also, point cloud information only works in openGL - not in architectural plan mode, so bear in mind when you do that. (use the number 5 key on the number key pad to go into plan view mode for opengl). Otherwise you will not see the section information inside the viewport. 


The great thing about this technique is that when you assign the design layer viewports for multiple levels, you can change the depth in the section viewport properties, so if you need 1", itll use 1", if you need a foot depth, it can do that as well.

Same goes for sectional information.


This definitely takes a bit of practice, however, definitely useful. This technique is for Dynamic informational use - when drawing your plans.


If, however you want to make slices, the point cloud tool has the option to delete all other information when you create your slice. I would recommend looking into the tools tutorials. But you definitely don't need cloud compare or any other software to get the sectional point cloud information.


hope this helps!

Edited by Samuel Derenboim
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  • 3 years later...

Hi all,


Jumping on an old thread here but I can't seem to find much info on Point Clouds... I've got an E57 file type point cloud scan of a theater and the scan was done in 'black and white'. The company we had perform the scan for us provides a viewer that shows the the scan data in a nice gray-scale but when I import the file into Vectorworks all the points have the same black value which makes it difficult to navigate.


I know there's an option to "Set Custom Colors" in the OIP for the Point Cloud Object but this seems to only set colors up from the bottom of the object in a gradient fashion. Any ideas on how to get a better gray-scale point cloud? Do I need a different file type to import?


@Luis M Ruiz you seem to be the pro to go to with my point cloud issues usually, any thoughts?




I need it to look more like this (how it does from the scan company):


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