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Using Point Clouds

A point cloud is a data file which can include a large number of points on the surface of an object. A point cloud is a set of vertices in a 3D coordinate system and these vertices are defined the by X, Y and Z coordinates. Point clouds are usually created by 3D scanners. These devices measure a large number of points on the surface of an object and output a point cloud as a data file. The point cloud represents the visible surface of the object that has been scanned or digitized. Point clouds are used for many purposes, especially to confirm measurements between the DGN model and the real world.

Note: You can also render point clouds using Luxology.

The Point Clouds tools allow you to import, control, visualize and manipulate point cloud images. You can import a point cloud into a DGN and use it as a visual reference. The Point Clouds dialog ( Drawing > Attach > Point Cloud > Point Clouds dialog launcher ) lets you control all aspects of attaching and manipulating point cloud image files. A point cloud is treated as any standard element and can be part of a model or level.

Point clouds also support cut plane in clip volume. When a clip volume is applied to a point cloud attachment, the points within the tolerance will be displayed with the cut plane. If the Project Points to Cut Plane check box is on, then instead of projecting the points at their real 3D location, they will be projected on the cut plane. Settings for tolerance and projecting points on the cut plane are provided in the Apply Clip Volume tool and the callout tools.

The Point Clouds dialog lets you control the display of one or more image files within a DGN file view. Each view may be used to display image files. The names of all attached image files (for all views) are displayed in the Point Clouds dialog. Information about the image files is stored with the DGN file. The Properties dialog displays information relating to the point cloud. The Point Cloud Styles section of the View Attributes dialog controls the style of the point cloud.

Many point cloud file formats are supported, such as POD, BIN, CL3, FLS, FWS, LAS, PTG, PTS, PTX, 3DD, RXP, RSP, XYZ, IXF, E57, and TXT. However, only POD files can be attached to a design file since it is the only point cloud format that can be natively used by the point cloud engine. This engine is a library developed by Pointools. The POD format allows you to work with huge point clouds at an unmatched performance. For all other formats, the file must be converted to the POD format.

You can open multiple point cloud files simultaneously. Also, you can batch convert multiple point clouds files either to one POD file or to individual POD files. If the ProjectWise Point Cloud Streaming service is enabled on the ProjectWise server, then the point cloud display is available without completely downloading the point cloud file.