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Point cloud architectural modeling

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  • 5 weeks later...

I tried directly modeling from point clouds a few times.  Now I primarily use them as reference material to take measurements, generating topographic models, and orientation of the OBJ model made from the points.  I think you can get into some real trouble being hyper accurate with point cloud snapping if you are not diligent about managing the orientation of your planes.  Unless you are doing oil & gas plants, I find a lot of people get sucked into the trap of being more detailed than necessary in regards to reality capture.


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@jeff prince 

generally you're right, but sometimes exact measures are necessary for the built-in professional equipment, like e.g. in the healthcare (even movable beds require there particular room for manoeuvring) or in the heating rooms.

but, most of all, exact measures are required for digital twins of the physical assets, where the operational phase usually lasts decades. you never know how exactly modelled your asset should be for certain actions. if you don't need it today, you might need it in two months or years.

unfortunately we still don't have reliable solids, automatically generated from point clouds.


another thing are the as-built models, where the native models for ifc export are being checked against the point cloud surveys, an example of such application being bim & scan®'s autocor(tm). the designer's professional liability is at stake...


Edited by gester
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@gester I agree, it comes down to being as accurate as necessary for the intended end use case.


We have the technology to design to theoretically perfect dimensions, but every industry has its acceptable and achievable tolerances.  I’ve seen highrise buildings designed to the mm only to be set at the incorrect vertical dimension off by over 500mm, requiring structural redesign during construction 🙂. I’ve also seen hospitals, labs, and schools designed to perfectly fit their equipment and furnishings only to have contractors substitute alternatives during construction that spoil the design intent. These examples were from billion dollar projects fully utilizing the latest BIM and construction technologies.  It’s comical what happens in the field after we spend countless hours dialing it in.  The secret to good design is accommodating these realities and not getting tight if you don’t have absolute control over the execution.  Clear communication and making sure the person in the field has all of the information required to accommodate variation is what works, the air tight specs keep you in the good graces of the lawyers.


I’m a landscape architect, so you would think that I am fairly insulated from these problems.  I’m not, nobody is really.  My group handled the local AEC for an international airport designed by Fosters.  They designed it with steel framing.  Local construction changed it to reinforced concrete during construction, suddenly all my interior planting beds no longer had the necessary soil depth to support living trees, redesign time.  Green walls are always a joy if you don’t provide flexibility in structural support and connecting to water supply and drainage, it always changes during construction.  I could go on.  At the end of the day, I find communicating design intent and requirements for elements far more important than creating “perfect” drawings.  Which is really funny considering my first degree is in manufacturing engineering 🙂  It’s all about finding the balance and working within the constraints of this crazy reality.

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On 7/11/2020 at 2:42 AM, Zeno said:

I’m used to convert the pointcloud

into a mesh model. Point visualization is in VW not corresponding to real point number. The mesh quality allows you to find very better the point you need or simply to show model parts very hard to model, like decorations or similar. 
Out of this, clipe cube, registered views and workplane are the focus point you need to model in vectorworks from pointcloud. 







Yes, I'm curious about the process to convert point cloud to mesh, can you give us some pointers?

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