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3d point clouds - need to rethink

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Also - Even though you may receive a tiny cloud point file (85 meg), if you aren't careful in the 'create site plan' dialog, you can balloon your Vectorworks file quickly. I managed to turn an 85 meg point cloud file into a 15 GB Vectorworks site model file at the push of a button. I feel like there should be a Vectorworks 'off-line process' system. Maybe on AWS or Azure. You drop your huge point file, move some sliders and come back a day later for the useable VW file. At least that way you don't turn your main workstation into a useless space heater for a days at a time.

Maybe a 'file size' slider and a 'Resolution' slider that are tied together. More resolution, higher file size. Do some background math to set up an approximate 'final outcome' of resolution (number of points) and file size (actual file size of the Vectorworks file).


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I guess that is the point...just because you can read a point cloud file does not mean you know what you are doing...we need to be careful in what we say to clients....sure i figured it out in a few days but it took a few days...I had to chop the point cloud in to 20ft wide ribbons and then turn off every other one....something the clipped cube could not help with...

Edited by digitalcarbon
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  • 2 weeks later...


I'm confused as there is the 'Import Point Cloud Options' dialogue that enables some control on the way in. Is this impractical? 


Also the Model>Point Cloud>Extract 3D Loci from Point Cloud command is also user controllable. BTW the 3D conversion resolution makes no difference to the file size when importing Point Clouds. It is what it is in terms of the data and the filtering that Vectorworks allows. There's a good Donationware program for the macOS at least called Cloud Compare that you might find useful.







PC Import options.png

Extract 3D loci from surface of PC.png

Edited by Peter Neufeld
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@Peter Neufeld - Thanks so much for the info on 'Cloud Compare'. I downloaded it, and it gives me a very clear view into the source material. that is an incredibly powerful app.

The Vectorworks import point cloud options' tool set seems, well, totally useless. You can import (in my case) 20,000,000 points in a few seconds. It's not until you get into 'extract 3d Loci' that Vectorworks seems to do anything. Frankly, I can find zero things that the Import tool is good for. It should just be like a PDF. Drag it and drop it into the vectorworks document.


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  • 1 month later...

Ok...I'm slowing getting it...everything has a place and purpose...Sledge hammers and Tack hammers...it all depends on the task...


The 1st image (project 1) is a point cloud I got by making a video fly over of a 3d building on Google Earth then used the VW point cloud from images feature...very very useful for me...


The 2nd image (project 2) is me reaching in to find out how the framing is...3d scanner not going to get this...







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@digitalcarbon I'd be interested to know how useful that point cloud in image 1 really turns out to be. I don't know exactly what data you need and for what, but looking at your survey notes it seems you want something reasonably accurate and detailed. My guess is there will be lots of visits back with a tape measure, that take up as much time as it would have taken just to do it the 'old skool' way from the start. Plus a bunch of fiddling around to convert everything into objects that are actually meaningful to VW.

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this is a project i need to get existing conditions for...so before i show up i want to have clear in my mind the sections i need to get (the old school way) so this point cloud was good enough to explain to the team what that game plan was vs trying to figure it out in the field... the blue planes are the section cuts that i want to get...



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