Unity - Pointcloud support

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jstrongitharm
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Unity - Pointcloud support

Post by jstrongitharm » Mon Nov 25, 2019 2:12 pm

Hi there

I am now at Unity since March this year.
Of course coming from a laser scanner vendor and also Autodesk in my past I have been asked many times about how we can support Pointclouds for real time and interactivity.

There is a couple of options on how you can approach this.

Until now, the approach has been converting your scan to to textured mesh using some great products that are out there in the market already.
Produce a OBJ or FBX file and load that into Unity.
This has some benefits of being able to walk on and bump into with adding a mesh collider.
However the visuals of pipes etc aren't always the best because of triangles.

As you might have seen on this forum there is a low cost utility on our asset store which can handle point clouds (I havent checked out their latest updates)

What I have tested very recently as it releases an update today is PiXYZ Plugin (our partner for CAD model import etc) It can now handle e57 and PTS formats and also generate a textured mesh if required.
As a test I have put it through a simple test using some scans from my time at Faro and also generated a mesh to walk on and go upstairs etc. However I am just displaying the points only. Additionally I have added two interactive areas to turn on the fire alarm and also the projector screen with a very simple script (which is about my limits as I am not a coder #technicallyaware) but on and off works for a lot of what you would want for interactivity.

I think overall there is the potential for a hybrid where you use the point cloud for the main view and also either use a mesh for model elements you dont need to accurately model but use interactively or extract to CAD in a more detailed form to use but bring it all together in one experience.

Watch this video
https://bit.ly/2OkzX6U

Download the runtime from this link,
https://bit.ly/2KQ0QNW

If you have any questions or interest please let me know.
[email protected]

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jcoco3
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Re: Unity - Pointcloud support

Post by jcoco3 » Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:15 pm

Jack,

This is excellent...Looks like we have a similar affinity for pointclouds in Unity! From my past Unity post here, anyone can tell that I love incorporating point clouds into Unity no matter how difficult the process to import or how clunky the results have been. For a long time I have seen it as a promising future, and a way to avoid extensive modelling cost when not needed for the given application. Simulation and Training being the most apparent need from my experience, but the implications for video game production could be enormous. A number of clients that desired such simulations have approached us, but unfortunately the technology (and my skills) are just not there yet in a way that can beat the price point of a good modelling team when the end product needs to meet current video game graphics quality expectations that a typical user/player has.

I tend to agree with your "hybrid" idea as the shortest path to producing something with utility, as limiting interactivity to specific objects is a method that has proven itself well in video games without point clouds. We have dabbled in this by using a mesh of the point cloud for terrain, spaces, and game content, but resort to segmented "parts" for areas of interactivity. Determining what you need to segment out (storyboarding) now becomes the main issue. As a side note, I spent a great deal of time working with the developer behind Rep3D http://rep3d.com/ mainly to alleviate repetitious Revit modelling task, but we also looked into methods of automated segmentation of point clouds. Although, there are many uses for automated segmentation, further use in Unity3D was predominant in my mind. Having everything in the point cloud already broken up into intelligent parts, would serve asset management inside of Unity greatly, but aiding real world asset management for large facilities and structures is likely where the money will be. Unity3D for real world asset management? I have been dreaming of something like this since 2012...but feel like we still have a long way to go. Over the years I have only had the time to occasionally experiment with this, but I would imagine your experiences have been much different? Although I have yet to work with it, Unity Reflect seems like it could be a future stepping stone for better point cloud integration into real world assets management and AEC, BIM-SIM...(countless other acronyms) :lol:

Never tried PiXYZ, but it looks intriguing and e57 compatibility is a welcomed feature. From your video it looks like it works pretty well, so I will have to give it a go. Interesting use of a none visible mesh for colliders with a visible point cloud for the view. Never seen that one before, but you might be on to something.

Good luck on your new endeavours, and thanks for sharing :D

jstrongitharm
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Re: Unity - Pointcloud support

Post by jstrongitharm » Mon Nov 25, 2019 5:41 pm

Thanks for your comments.

I have been working also with Pointfuse who have done some great efforts with segmentation on meshes. We together will look to improve the workflow between products.

On scaling up to the massive dataset sizes we encounter with point clouds, I will have something to share on that next week.

For Unity Reflect, I will post about that next Monday as that is currently focused on CAD models, mainly Revit at launch, but is definately our platform to push into the AEC area with interactivity and devices from all sources of data and reduce the need to code.

Lots of innovation at Unity and why I am here and it starts!

Jack Strongitharm
Unity

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