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How To Get Affordable Point Cloud Data

So, you have an object / building and you need to digitise it. Either you need a Mesh or you need the data for use in your Project. Getting accurate design data from the real world into the digital world can be costly and expensive. Whether you are an Architect and Engineer or even a games developer, point cloud data has traditionally been expensive. But it does not need to be.

There are quite a few ways we can get this data generated on the cheap. In this blog, I am going to show you a few ways in which we can get 3d meshes into your chosen design software on a budget.

Laser Scanning

If you have the budget the best way to get point cloud data is to use a professional laser scanner like a faro X series scanner, the quality and accuracy of the data is exceptional with very high mega pixel imagery and point accuracy of less than a millimetre at times. Yes, they are expensive to buy, but they can be rented, this is by far the best option for large scale scanning projects. If you have a small object such as a piece of furniture, then you could use a handheld scanner like the Faro FreeStyle. Again, this is very accurate data but comes at a cost.

3D Photogrammetry

What if I were to tell you that you can get this type of data from something as simple as a digital camera or even your Mobile Phone camera. 3D Photogrammetry data is more accessible than most people realise, and with some amazing technology advancements it is now available to all.
Autodesk Recap360 and Project Momentor now launched as Remake allow us to take a series of photo and create a point cloud from this data, we also have the ability to scale this data so it can be relatively accurate. Yes, it is never going to be as accurate as a professional laser scanner, but I have had some great results from form of data. Also, it is possible to recreate something that no longer exists. Yes, I know that sounds mad but bear with me I will explain that last stamtent at the end.

Recap 360

cheap point cloud data item scan using photos

This is a 3d model of a wall created from only 8 photos taken on my mobile phone, and all done using cloud based computer services so you don’t even need expensive hardware to process the images.

cheap point cloud data mesh from photos

This is the mesh that has been created from the images. You can download the data in many formats including:

cheap point cloud data download 3ds max maya

FBX and OBJ for use in most visualisation software like 3ds Max, Maya. RCM and RCS so it can be opened in Autodesk ReCap. You could even strap your camera to a drone and process video data into ReCap to get even larger models created.

cheap point cloud data recap

The possibilities are endless, also just consider the size of drone you would need to lift a professional scanner!

ReMake

Of course, just creating this data is only the first step. It may be slightly incomplete. You may need to do some post work on the mesh that has been created. For this Autodesk and got ReMake previously Project Momento.

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ReMake is an amazing application, not only does it give us the ability to simplify the meshes that our Photogrammetry has created, but it also allows us to fix holes in the mesh, patching holes left by missing images

cheap point cloud data fusion 360

With the ability to output quads to Fusion 360, it is possibly one of the best reverse engineering solutions on the market, and incredibly affordable.

Back to my statement about recreating something that no longer exists. In 2001, the world reacted in horror as, part of a campaign to rid Afghanistan of idolatry, the Taliban destroyed the World Heritage Site Buddhas of Bamiyan.

cheap point cloud data budha bamiyan destroyed

This site had never been truly surveyed and laser technology was still only in it’s infancy. Autodesk using Remake. Project Momento at the time, used the many pictures of the monument to recreate a 3D image of the world heritage site.

cheap point cloud data budha bamiyan crowsourced photos

Check out the video of the reconstructed model below:


This technology is amazing. If you would like to know more about photogrammetry, need further Autodesk 3DS Max trainining, Visualisation Services or would like to request a quote for any of the products mentioned above, please get in touch by following the link below:

Request More Information

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