You can create an accurate blueprint for modeling of a real object in SketchUp using free 3D photo-based scanner. Points created with www.my3dscanner.com will serve as construction marks for SketchUp model. Later you can link construction points automatically or manually to create complex polygonal replicas of the real world in Sketch Up.
Let me guide you how to do it. There are 4 main steps:
1. Scan an object and receive a 3D point cloud (if you don’t have one yet)
2. Reduce the density of the point cloud (optional but recommended)
3. Turn the point cloud into Sketch Up readable format
4. Import the point cloud into Sketch Up
You will need the following free (except MS Excel but use their trial or borrow) tools:
www.my3dscanner.com to create 3D scan of a real object with your digital camera. It is free on-line scanning service (no need to download)
MeshLab is free software to view and manage point clouds (optional) - download
Cloud_v71.rb is SU7 plug-in - download
Step 1: Scan an object - create point cloud
Create a 3d project (e.g. my3dproject) with your digital camera or a mobile phone at www.my3dscanner.com :
Take and upload photos
Download result: a zipped 3D point cloud in .ply format. Download my3dprogect.zip to your computer from My Studio/My Projects.
Unzip it to have your point cloud my3dproject.ply file ready for SketchUp integration.
Step 2: Reduce the density of your point cloud (optional but recommended step)
Your point cloud most likely will be very dense. It is good for visualization but bad for Sketch Up modeling. You need to end up with 2-5,000 points maximum. To sub-sample a point cloud to make it less dense use MeshLab:
File -> Open -> my3dproject.ply
Filters -> Sampling -> Clustered vertex Subsampling -> Dialog Box.
Dialog Box: Apply, Close
This way you will apply Default Values in a this dialog box. If you will to sub-sample only some parts of your point cloud, check “Select” box. You can play with values in the dialog boxes (all your attempts will be saved in different layers as described below). Experiment!
Apparently you will not see the result immediately.
To view it, go to View -> Show Layer Dialog.
Switch visibility off for my3dproject in the right window. You will be left with Cluster Samples (in yellow) layer which is less dense point cloud. This is exactly what we wanted to achieve.
Click on Cluster Samples and: File -> Save As - > Name: my3dproject, format: Stanford Polygon Format (*ply) -> Save
In the next pop-up window unmark Binary encoding and click OK.
Now you have your my3dproject.ply point cloud reduced.
Step 3: Turn your point cloud into csv file
Start Excel: File -> Open -> my3dproject.ply -> Text Import Wizard:
Text Import Wizard Step 1
Change “Start from the line” to 11 (if you have skipped step 2 of this tutorial, change to 9). You are just deleting the header of the file, so adjust the row number respectively.
Do not change other settings. Next
Text Import Wizard Step 2
Check Space -> Next
Text Import Wizard Step 3
Check General -> Finish
You will have a table with 3 rows of digits (or more if you have skipped Step 2)
We are almost done:
File -> Save As -> Other Formats -> File name: my3dproject, File type: СSV (Comma delimited) (*.csv) -> Save -> Yes
Now you have my3dproject.csv ready.
Step 4: Import .csv into SketchUp
Download and install cloud_71.rb plugin into Google SketchUp. It will add an option Points Cloud in File menu of SketchUp.
Start Sketch Up and import point cloud:
File -> Points Cloud -> Import - > my3dproject.csv -> OK -> Dialog Box “Points Cloud Options”
Data delimiter: ;
Import unit: Meters
Flatten Z coordinate: No
Click OK. Make sure the values you enter are the same as in the screenshot above.
Click OK in the next screen.
Then click OK in “Additional Options” window.
Wait, do not rush Sketch Up!
The last step is a window “Triangulate the point cloud?”
I’d rather say NO since there are better options to triangulate (I will talk about them in my next tutorials, ) but you can also click “yes” and wait (SketchUp may crash at this point of time if point cloud is too big). If you do not like the triangulation/mesh result, just kill the layer, not the construction points.
This is it. Your scan is in SketchUp. It is not as pretty as in www.my3dscanner.com (you will get sparse point cloud with no color), but real builders use crude concrete and steel bars, not artistic colored points, right?
Do you want to triangulate/mesh the point cloud in SketchUp? The next tutorial is coming!