Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

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ecasagrande
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Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

Post by ecasagrande »

Ok, so there's a lot of caveats to my problem, so I'm sorry if my lack of knowledge is cringey to hear:

I was basically given a BLK360 scanner, with nothing other than a laptop, and told "figure it out". I've been tasked with doing a bunch of interference resolution, movement analysis, packaging (what can fit where), and honestly, it seems like their solution to everything is "point clouds". I haven't been given time to get the last cloud "clean" before I'm on to the next thing, and it's not allowing me to produce a clean product, and I don't know how I would even do that anyways in less than a zillion hours.

My two main issues are teaching people to use software I don't personally know how to use (3D software), and having them use my "dirty" point clouds to accomplish this work. To me, I pick spots, measure, and seem to be able to get the information people want, but nobody else seems to have this skill, and I don't know how to do this stuff in whatever software they're using (the lion's share use Inventor and Revit). I will say I know how to create SUPER basic stuff in Inventor: make trusses, draw pipes, assemble components, maybe make folded sheet metal stuff, but even that basic knowledge is very limited.

My workflow has been as follows: BLK360+Field 360 -> Register 360 (BLK Edition) -> Export to RCP, E57, PTX (not sure what format I want, but I typically only use the RCP) -> Recap Pro (to set origins, line stuff up, wipe out data outside the area I care about, make regions) -> New "what I actually want" RCP file. I "WAS" doing the first couple steps using Recap Mobile and Recap Desktop, but licensing inside of a plant that has no cell signal, and no wifi, was impossible ... uncool Autodesk ... very uncool.

To me, the result is pretty clean, but I apparently have some magical gift that nobody else has to see patterns. I'm never really given enough time to eliminate those random dots, or "rays" that show up off edges, and I think this is potentially what is causing a lot of grief with users. I'll also note I am scanning a factory mainly, and VERY packed factory, with 0 scheduled downtime. Getting scans that aren't packed with ghosts of random people is a definite challenge.

In a perfect world, I'd do my workflow as above, minus the Recap Pro part. There would then be a "processing for clarity" step where I'd send the point cloud through something that searches for random points that don't have a point within say 5mm of it. At that point, I would then continue in Recap Pro and do the rest of the cleaning. Could switch that to Recap Pro (cut away what I definitely don't want) -> Magical auto-clean software -> Recap Pro to do regions, "final" cleaning.

So, my primary problem is that my point clouds aren't clean enough for normal users to use. My secondary problem (nearly also my primary problem) is that everyone is asking for me to create a mesh of the point cloud so they can "snap" to the "surfaces". I've also been asked to make planes for them (flat surfaces, not airplanes ... but maybe that's next).

I know there's a lot to that question, and I realise there's a lot of reading I likely need to do to figure this out, but I am a reasonably quick learner. And, if I'm being honest, they'll be pretty happy with mediocre results straight off the hop. I am also not married to any software at this point, but Field 360/Register 360 DO seem to be pretty good for my purposes, so I'd like to keep that part if possible. I also have a Publisher Pro license, and a few Cloudworx licenses. I literally have no idea what they are supposed to be used for.
Last edited by ecasagrande on Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jamesworrell
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Re: Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

Post by jamesworrell »

Easy ones - publisher pro - publish an LGS file instead of Recap. Cloudworx - open said LGS in Revit/Autocad - depending on which licenses you have.

LGS is way more performant than Recap. Non-cloudworx users will still want a unified RCS to use in Revit - but the LGS is still handy to view imagery, scan locations etc - so you run two or three monitors .. Revit, Revit and LGS. Cloudworx has tools too. Webinar coming up on Cloudworx et al: https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/4820515571699931407

Harder one - cleaning - there are noise reduction options around, but generally speaking, you just have to look past it all. In Revit, you can set your view ranges etc (or use Cloudworx limit boxes) to slice thin sections of point clouds. Armed with slices, draw in your walls etc. I can't remember the last time I cleaned a point cloud - it is too expensive and adds very little value. We have done it for meshing, or have done it for architectural presentation, but for scan-to-bim - waste of time.

Overall, probably depends a little on level of detail people are expecting - sounds like perhaps easiest is to simply model from the point cloud, and use the models. Cue the usual suspects about overseas modelling here.

Also check out ClearEdge, Pointfuse (see LGS from above) et al that can assist with creating planes and so on, but frankly, manual modelling is pretty damn quick anyway.

Users moving to point cloud work also have to get their heads around the massive increase in level of detail. In the old days, a surveyor (say) would give you are "wall". The surveyor has defined that wall using best judgement. The wall was probably created from two points and intersected/filleted with the next wall - same two points. Now you have several million to play with and can see the brick face, or the skirtings, or the sweeps, or the grout, bends in the wall, the wall isn't plumb - you get the idea. But remember - you were HAPPY with a wall created from two points. So pick two that "best fit" the face and move forward.

There are no wrong answers as to which two points you picked, what has changed is YOU are picking the points and not the surveyor. The surveyor has no special skills to define which two points to use - and in fact, now you know the brick face is highly textured, or that the wall has a bend in it - you can pick points that now matter to you.
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Re: Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

Post by Mike Annear »

Have a look at the the SOR (Statistical Outlier Removal) tools in CloudCompare ... https://www.cloudcompare.org/
and the " Connected_Components" tool
https://www.cloudcompare.org/doc/wiki/i ... Components
the Virtual Broom tool is pretty good as well.
Hope that helps,
Mike.
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Re: Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

Post by TimJervis »

Nice responses here already, to throw in my bit...

Have a play around with your mixed pixel filter in the Reg360 settings. Ramping this up may help you get rid of those "random dots, or "rays" that show up off edges". Bare in mind that the filter works on import, so run a few tests with the different filtering options on a small set of data and then scale it up once you've found what you like. For details on the different filtering options have a look in the help file (F1).

You could also play around with the "detect moving objects" and "extract smooth surfaces" features in Regsiter360 for getting rid of some noise pretty quickly.

(However, I agree with James, I sit on the side of doing as little work as possible to reach the desired outcome. If you can live with the uncleaned point cloud, you'll probably save more time not cleaning than you will modelling from a cleaner cloud)
Regards,

Tim
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Re: Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

Post by Carbix »

Or use the scanner and hire a firm to process your scans for you.

I’ll wait for your email 😘
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Re: Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

Post by NOVAMECH »

Get a ZF Scanner - Simple
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Re: Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

Post by NOVAMECH »

IMG20191106143224.jpg
Convert you Point clouds into a MESH model. Here is my small boat. And a concept design I'm working on...... Embrace your challenge - You are a very lucky man -- You are getting paid to learn. Most of us have had to do this ourselves. Over the last 20 years. And are still learning.
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Re: Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

Post by Mike Annear »

Hey Nick,
Very nice,
But I thought you would have been working on Americas Cup AC 75's by now ? :)
I am waiting for the international borders to drop to visit NZ for the race.
I cant even leave my State at the moment.
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ecasagrande
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Re: Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

Post by ecasagrande »

@jamesworrell
Thank you for all of that. I "DO" have Publisher and Cloudworx licenses, so I will install them and see what happens.

I appreciate the insight into what these clouds are even intended to do. I honestly have never had anything to do with what I am being setup as "the guy" to contact for solving any geometric problem.
TimJervis wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:18 am Have a play around with your mixed pixel filter in the Reg360 settings. Ramping this up may help you get rid of those "random dots, or "rays" that show up off edges". Bare in mind that the filter works on import, so run a few tests with the different filtering options on a small set of data and then scale it up once you've found what you like. For details on the different filtering options have a look in the help file (F1).

You could also play around with the "detect moving objects" and "extract smooth surfaces" features in Regsiter360 for getting rid of some noise pretty quickly.

(However, I agree with James, I sit on the side of doing as little work as possible to reach the desired outcome. If you can live with the uncleaned point cloud, you'll probably save more time not cleaning than you will modelling from a cleaner cloud)
I did not know this set of features even existed. I will look into that! I have high hopes it can help a bit.
Edit: The filtering options I see are curious, in that they don't actually match what the documentation says should be in there. I suppose what I see is probably the "newer" version, but still funny. I'll play with the settings anyways, but it seems pretty appropriate that what I seemingly "need" isn't even documented by Leica :).

As for the "detect moving objects" and "extract smooth surfaces" features, I see nothing about this in documentation anywhere. If you could point me in the direction of where I might actually find that, I'd appreciate it!
Carbix wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:30 am Or use the scanner and hire a firm to process your scans for you.

I’ll wait for your email 😘
I wish. Unfortunately, my boss knows full well that we are close to getting what we want for the pittance I get paid. If I quit, I'll let them know :).
NOVAMECH wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:00 am IMG20191106143224.jpgConvert you Point clouds into a MESH model. Here is my small boat. And a concept design I'm working on...... Embrace your challenge - You are a very lucky man -- You are getting paid to learn. Most of us have had to do this ourselves. Over the last 20 years. And are still learning.
This is the ultimate goal, but modelling a boat seems to be the use-case for meshing. Modelling the inside of a packed factory? Seemingly a lot more of a challenge, with plexiglass guarding being a large part of my random dots issues, as well as being only able to see one side of a lot of things.

I "AM" trying to (in the wise words of AvE) Embrace the Suck. Every obstacle is a learning experience. Unfortunate for me, it's crunch time, I have little/no support doing what I want, and I don't even know what I am doing in the first place :). Every day I'm asked to do something different. I'll get there, just looking for a few head starts, and it looks like I got quite a few in this single post.
Last edited by ecasagrande on Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
ecasagrande
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Re: Clean Point Clouds ? Can't be this hard

Post by ecasagrande »

jamesworrell wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:40 am Easy ones - publisher pro - publish an LGS file instead of Recap. Cloudworx - open said LGS in Revit/Autocad - depending on which licenses you have.
Maybe I was a bit quick: is Publisher still software you can use? Leica's site mentions it, and I have an entitlement for it, but there are no links to it.
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