3D Sensory Data Objects

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Metadata Required for 3D Scans

Check out our Metadata Guide for 3D Scans. This downloadable document summarizes the metadata required to create a 3D Scan in a condensed, easy-to-reference document.

What is a 3D Sensory Dataset?

3D sensory datasets are data and derived products that have been produced from 3D terrestrial or object-based scanners. 3D scanning often referred to as laser scanning, is the process of recording precise three-dimensional information of a real-world object or environment. The information is stored as a dense collection of precisely measured XYZ coordinates referred to as a point cloud. These files often contain additional intensity (I) and/or color information (RGB). Point clouds contain a wealth of information on their own and they can also be processed to produce additional products such as polygonal meshes, 2D and 3D CAD files, digital elevation models, and more.

The Archaeology Data Service and Digital Antiquity have developed a guide to good practice for laser scanning in archeology. This guide includes recommended metadata for the collection, processing, and archival of scan data. These metadata have been translated to an online entry form on the tDAR website and to three database templates (in Excel format) that can be downloaded by the online user as part of the data ingest process to tDAR. The online entry form contains project-level metadata and the individual templates contain metadata for the collection and processing of the scan data. The database templates have been created based on scan technology which includes time-of-flight, phase-shift, and triangulation scanning. Each template includes metadata suggestions for the original raw scan files, a registered dataset, and a merged polygonal mesh (if created). Note, additional derived products are currently not accepted in tDAR. For more information on the differences among types of scan technology, please reference the Guides to Good Practice.

If you are just preparing to upload a new 3D Sensory Dataset and would like to preview in a condensed format the information you will be asked to provide, check out our upload guide. This downloadable document summarizes the metadata required to upload a 3D Sensory Dataset.

Creating a New 3D Sensory Dataset

To create a new 3D Sensory Dataset, first login to tDAR. Click the “Upload” button on the tDAR toolbar. You can access this toolbar and button on any page within tDAR when you are logged in.

You will then be presented with a screen that asks you to select the resource type you wish to add. Choose “Sensory Data/3D Scan” from the options presented. From there, you will move to the “Creating: New 3D & Sensory Data” page. You will begin entering metadata in the “Basic Information” entry section.

Basic Information

Basic information for 3D and Sensory Data includes the status of the metadata, the title of the data, the year the data were created, and an Object/Monument number.

Choosing a Status

In the “Status” field, select the status (either “active” or “draft”) that describes the state of this information resource. Select “active” to indicate that metadata entry is complete and that the resource is ready to be published once it is submitted. The status “active” means that the resource metadata are visible to all users through searching and browsing.

Select “draft” to indicate that metadata are NOT complete and that the resource is NOT ready to be published. Use the “draft” status to save your work (remember to click the submit button at the bottom of the resource entry page, though, to save your metadata in tDAR).

Note: Status does not inherit from a project to resources inside that project. Thus, a project may be marked as a “draft” or even “deleted” without affecting any of the resources within it.

Entering the Year

The “Year” field documents the year in which this Dataset was created and/or “published” in its current state. Use the textbox to enter the year your Dataset was created.

Choose an Account to Bill From

If you already have a billing account with tDAR, simply select the account you would like to bill to. If you do not have a billing account set up, see Creating and Managing Billing Accounts.

Dataset Creators

In the “3D & Sensory Data Creators” data entry section, list the persons who contributed to the construction of the resource you are uploading to tDAR. A person who contributed to the creation of the resource may have served as an analyst, data entry technician, data collector/aggregator, designer, etc.

Begin entering the name of a creator in one of the name fields in the “Person” data entry section. tDAR will make suggestions from a list of tDAR users and other entered persons (i.e., other creators, authors, editors, etc.). If one of the suggested persons matches the person you wish to identify as a creator, select that person. If the suggested persons do not include the person you want to identify, then enter that person’s name, email address, and institutional affiliation as accurately as possible. Enter a current email address and institutional affiliation ONLY if you are confident it is accurate.

To add additional creators, click on the “add another” button. Enter the appropriate information for that person and select the appropriate role.

In some cases, an individual person may not be credited with resource creation. Rather, an institution may be identified as the creator of the resource To add an institution as a resource creator, click on the “add another” button and select “Institution”.

Additional Citation Information

Additional citation information prompts you to add additional descriptors related to the publication of your resource. If the data are published, indicate the publisher and publisher location. You can provide a DOI (digital object identifier) if you have one, and a URL if the data or associated resources are published elsewhere on the internet.

Adding an Abstract/Description

This text field allows you to provide a narrative about the content of the resource. You will likely want to describe the research that guided the construction of the resource, the use and/or potential uses of the resource, and any important information that users may need to know to apply your data. Use the textbox provided to enter an abstract.

Survey Information

Specify the scanning technology used to collect the data. Select one of the options using the radio buttons next to each descriptor. If you select “Time of Flight,” “Phase-based,” or “Triangulation,” additional data entry boxes will appear for technology-specific metadata. Wherever possible, enter as much metadata as you can, as this information is essential for future users of your dataset. For a full list of metadata prompts for each scan technology, see the Metadata Guide for 3D Scans.

Scan Metadata Templates

Metadata collected for 3D scan data will vary based on differences in scan technology and instrumentation. Individualized templates are provided for download. Select and download the template that is appropriate to the scan project. Complete the metadata for the original scan files in the project and any additional products that will be archived (only registered point clouds and polygonal mesh datasets can be accepted at this time). Include the completed template in the zip file upload (See instructions below for suggested upload file structure).

Upload StructureAll 3D data and the associated metadata template should be zipped into a single zip file prior to upload. Additional images should be uploaded individually, and image metadata should be completed for each image. The suggested folder structure for the zip file is as follows:

  • SurveyName
    • SurveyName_L1 — contains original scan files in .e57 or .txt format
      • Trans_Matrices — contains transformation matrices for each original scan file, file naming should match original scan file names
    • SurveyName_L2 — contains registered point cloud or registered polygonal mesh in the appropriate format
    • SurveyName_L3 — contains merged polygonal mesh in the appropriate format, if applicable
    • SurveyName_metadata.xls — completed metadata template for all scan data and final products

Attach 3D & Sensory Dataset Files

After entering the general information, you should then select the file(s) you wish to upload to tDAR. Click on the “i” icon to see a list of accepted file types.

Restricting Access to Files: Marking a File as Confidential and Marking a File as Embargoed

tDAR provides two different ways to restrict access to files you upload to tDAR:

  1. Mark the file as containing confidential information
  2. Mark the file as an embargoed resource

Marking a File as Confidential

When you mark a file as containing confidential information, the file itself will never be accessible to the public. The file’s metadata remain visible, but the file itself is not visible and cannot be downloaded (unless you give access rights to a specific tDAR user).

To mark a file as confidential, select “Confidential” from the drop-down menu with the sub-heading “This item has access restrictions”.

Why would I mark a resource as “Confidential”? You may choose to mark a resource as confidential if you feel that it contains sensitive data that could endanger an archaeological resource, information that affiliated communities or other interested communities might not wish to be widely available, or information that you are not prepared to share. For example, you may choose to mark a Dataset that contains mortuary feature data as confidential to respect the wishes of affiliated communities to restrict access to this information. This data should likely remain restricted to professional bioarchaeologists and others who will treat the information with proper respect.

Marking a File as an Embargoed Resource

When you mark a file as embargoed, you are restricting access to the file for 5 years. In other words, the file will not be accessible to the public for the next 5 years. The file’s metadata will be visible during that period, but the file itself is not visible and cannot be downloaded. After the embargo period has ended, the file will become accessible to the public.

To mark a file as embargoed, select “Embargoed from the drop-down menu with the sub-heading “This item has access restrictions”.

Why would I mark a resource as “Embargoed”? You may choose to mark a file as embargoed to restrict access to the resource for a limited period of time. For example, you may wish to register a Dataset with tDAR that houses data for an ongoing research project. You would like to store the data and share it with a select group of colleagues working with you on the research project. However, this data must remain restricted until the project is complete and results are published in some fashion. You can mark this resource as embargoed to indicate that it is restricted for a period of time before it can be made available to the public.

How do I allow certain users to view my confidential / embargoed resource?

To permit other registered tDAR users to download confidential/embargoed files, you must enter their names into the “Access Rights” fields at the bottom of the Dataset entry page. You can grant ONLY registered tDAR users the access rights to download these files.

Uploading Additional Files

If you wish to upload more than one file, click on the “add another file” button that appears after your first file has been uploaded. Then, click on the new “Browse” button and browse to the other file you wish to upload.

tDAR Collection and Project

You can add your Dataset to an existing Collection or Project that you have permission to edit. To select a Collection, start typing the name of the Collection in the text box and select the name when it appears in the drop-down box. You may also use this text box to name a new, public Collection that will be created when you save your Dataset and will only contain the new Dataset. To choose a Project, use the drop-down menu to select from Projects that you have permission to edit. Check the box below the Project text box to enable the inheritance of metadata from that Project.

Institution Authorizing Upload of this 3D & Sensory Data

The “Institution Authorizing Upload of this 3D & Sensory Data” section records the institution that “owns” the resource (i.e., sponsored the production or publication of the document) and/or that gave you permission to upload the resource to tDAR. For example, if the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sponsored a report and they provided you permission to upload that report to tDAR, the BLM should be entered in the “Institution Authorizing Upload of this 3D & Sensory Data” section.

Individual and Institutional Roles

You can use these fields to credit the individuals and institutions that contributed to the resource. You can toggle between person and institution using the buttons on the left side of the text boxes. Select the role that best describes their contribution. Use the “add another” button to add additional contributors.

Adding Dataset Specific or Agency Identifiers

Dataset Specific or Agency Identifiers in tDAR can include a wide range of values:

  • Contract numbers
  • Internal project numbers
  • Permit numbers
  • etc.

If you have added the 3D & Sensory Data to an existing project, you can choose to inherit the data in this section.

To enter an identifier

  1. Click in the “Name” field
  2. Begin typing the identifier name. For example: “State of California Contract Number”, “BLM Permit Number”
    1. Many fields within tDAR include auto-complete, so tDAR may suggest existing values that match what you’ve typed
    2. If an existing value matches, select it
    3. Enter the identifier value in the “value” text box

Spatial Terms

Spatial terms describe the location of your project area. The spatial information entry section includes two separate components:

  1. Geographic terms for general location keywords, including named regions, geographic features, states, towns, etc.
  2. A map that allows you to draw a box around your project area

Note: If you draw a project location box that is 1 square mile or less in area, tDAR will display a wider box to other users to protect your project area/site location. See the section “What if I want to hide my site location?” below.

Drawing a bounding box around your site

  1. Use the Google Map display to navigate to your site location
  2. Click the “Select Region” button
  3. Draw a box that best approximates the area that your project investigated

Entering Coordinates Manually

If you know the exact coordinates of your project area, you can enter them manually into tDAR. Click on the checkbox next to “Enter / View Coordinates.” Coordinates can be entered in several different formats. For example:

  • 40°44′55″N
  • 53 08 50N
  • Decimal: -73.9864

What if I want to hide my site location?

tDAR provides several options to protect the exact location of your project area and/or sites. If your bounding box is less than 1-mile square, tDAR will alter that box when it is displayed to users to obfuscate or hide the exact location. Alternately, you may simply draw a wider box.

What if I entered my site location incorrectly?

Simply click the reset button. You may also click on the “Enter / View Coordinates” and adjust the spatial information manually.

Temporal Coverage

Temporal coverage includes temporal keyword terms, calendar date ranges, and radiocarbon date ranges (if available) for the archaeological/cultural resources that your Project investigated.

Enter as many or as few temporal terms as you would like to describe the temporal coverage of your project. Use the “add another temporal keyword” box to add additional terms. Use the ” – ” box to delete a temporal term that you entered in error or that you would like to remove from your project description.

Coverage Dates

Use the drop-down box to select either a calendar date or a radiocarbon date. Enter a calendar start date and a calendar end date for the sites or other archaeological/cultural resources that your project investigated. Use only numeric values in the calendar date text boxes (Do not enter calendar era designations such as “B.C.E.” or “A.D.”). To denote a date in the “B.C.E.” designation, simply place a ” – ” before the date’s numeric value. Thus, ” – 200 ” is equivalent to ” 200 B. C. E.”

If available, enter a radiocarbon date by selecting “radiocarbon date” from the drop-down menu, and enter a start date and an end date for your project’s archaeological resources.

Investigation Types

Investigation types describe the various types of activities performed during a project. Select as many or as few types that apply to your project.

Note: You can hold your cursor over any investigation type to obtain a detailed description of the activities included in that investigation type.

Site Information

The site information section includes the names of the sites investigated during your Project and a summary of the types of archaeological resources found at those sites.

Enter as many or as few site names as you would like to describe the work completed during your Project. Use the “add another keyword” to add more sites. Use the trashcan icon to delete site names that you entered in error or that you no longer would like to associate with the Project.

Select the “Site Type” descriptors that best describe the archaeological/cultural resources that occur at the sites you listed in the “Site Name” text boxes.

Note: Click on the ” + ” box next to a site type to open a more detailed list of descriptions for that site type. Select all the type descriptions that apply to the sites you listed above in the “Site Name” text boxes.

Material Types

The material types section describes the types of materials that were collected, analyzed, or discussed as part of your Project. Select as many or as few that apply to your Project.

What if my material type is not listed?

If a material type you’re expecting is not listed above, you have two options:

  1. Enter the material type in the “General Keywords” section
  2. Contact tDAR and ask for it to be added

Cultural Terms

Cultural terms describe the archaeological cultures and/or historic population groups who are affiliated with the cultural resources in your Project. Select as many or as few cultural terms as you would like to describe the groups of people affiliated with your project’s research.

Within tDAR, cultural terms can be specific or general. tDAR will mark specific cultural terms with their generalized equivalents (e.g., “Early Woodland” is also marked as “Woodland”). Thus, if you select the specific cultural term “Early Woodland”, your record will also be found by a user who searches for the more general term “Woodland”.

Note: Click on the ” + ” box next to a cultural term to open a list of more specific cultural terms.

What if the cultural term I want to use is not listed?

If a cultural term you’d like to use is not listed, please add it to the “Other” section at the bottom of the cultural terms section. Data curators review these terms regularly and update the list of cultural terms to reflect commonly entered values.


General Keywords

General keywords allow you to add any additional terms that are not included in the other Project metadata. This may include specific types of investigations undertaken as part of your Project (e.g., “material sourcing”, “ceramic petrography”, “experimental archaeology”), specific site types (“rock gardens”, “ground stone production area”, “shrine”), etc.

Enter these keywords into the text provided. If you decide to enter additional keywords, enter succinct keyword terms that accurately describe your project. Also, enter succinct terms that researchers in your area use commonly.

Individual and Institutional Credit

Individual and institutional credit fields allow you to record the roles that various people and institutions played in the completion of your project.

The “Person” field captures the names, contact information, and roles of the different people that contributed to your Project. When you begin to type in any of the listed fields, tDAR will suggest users that are already in tDAR. Begin entering text into any of the following fields to obtain a drop-down list of registered tDAR users:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Institution
  • Email

Select a user that matches the person you would like to enter. If you do not find the person in the drop-down list, enter that person and their current contact information (i.e., current email address and current institutional affiliation) as accurately as you can. If you are unsure of a person’s email address and their current institutional affiliation, please leave those record boxes blank. Finally, select the role that this person played in your Project.

The “Institution” field captures the names and roles of institutions that contributed to your resource. Begin entering text in the “Institution Name” record box to obtain a drop-down list of institutions currently entered into tDAR. Select the institution that matches the one you would like to enter. If you do not find that institution in the drop-down list, enter the full name manually.

To add additional persons and/or institutions, click on the “add another” and the “Person” or Institution buttons. If a person or an institution played more than one role in the creation of your resource, you will need to create a separate record for that person or institution to record that role.

Museum or Archive Collections

The source collection field allows you to enter the museum or archive accession that contains the artifacts, original photographs, or original notes that are described in this tDAR record.

Save your entry and your 3D & Sensory Data has been uploaded to tDAR!

Downloading 3D Sensory Data from tDAR

When you download a 3D sensory dataset from tDAR, it will be a ZIP file that should contain at a minimum: original scan files, a registered point cloud or mesh, and the database template with accompanying metadata. Transformation matrices may also be included with the individual scans. These matrices contain the information that is used to transform an individual scan into the coordinate system of the final registered dataset. Additional products such as a merged polygonal mesh and/or a decimated mesh may also be included.

Depending on the type of technology used on a project, original scan files can be archived as either point clouds or polygonal meshes. It is generally recommended to archive terrestrial time-of-flight or phase-shift scans in E57 or ASCII text format. The ASTM E57 format is an emerging open standard, vendor neutral format that is ideal for terrestrial datasets because it retains original scan organization including grid information, scanner location, and coordinate system transformations. While more vendors are offering support for the E57 format, it is still yet to be accepted as a common exchange format. ASCII text files may be used in projects where E57 export is not available.

Object scans that are acquired with triangulation systems can either be archived as polygonal meshes in an OBJ or X3D formats or point clouds in an ASCII text format. Software used to acquire triangulation scans will often create a polygonal mesh for each scan directly upon import and it can often be difficult to extract the original point cloud acquired by the scanner. Therefore, object scans can be archived as either meshes or point clouds.

A registered dataset can either be a point cloud or mesh file and is the result of combining or co-registering all scans from a project into a single coordinate system. The registered dataset represents all of the data collected for a specific object, structure or survey area prior to any advanced editing. When opening datasets from a scan project, users may wish to open individual scans to view a specific portion or subset of an object or the final registered dataset which will show the object/environment as a whole.

A polygonal mesh is created by connecting vertices within a point cloud to create multiple faces or polygons that together form a triangulated surface model. Polygonal meshes can be created at various points in a processing workflow however a merged polygonal mesh is created specifically from either a registered point cloud or mesh and typically uses advanced algorithms to account for overlapping data to choose or create the most representative surface. Once a merged mesh is created from a registered dataset, it typically undergoes additional post processing such as hole filling, data healing, smoothing, color correction, and in some cases decimation to optimize the appearance of the final mesh product. The degree of post processing on a mesh should be included with the metadata for the mesh object.

Opening Point Clouds (E57 and TXT) and Polygonal Meshes (OBJ) using Free Downloadable Software

While more point cloud processing software and point cloud supported plugins are becoming available, point clouds are still not as widely supported as polygonal meshes. Polygonal meshes in the standard OBJ format can be imported into most 3D modeling software such as 3DStudio Max, SoftImage, Cinema 4D, Maya, Blender, and others. However, this software may not be equipped to handle high polygon counts that are commonly associated with mesh files produced from point cloud data. Therefore, polygonal meshes will often need to be decimated or reduced in order to be imported successfully into most standard 3D modeling packages.

Most proprietary software used to process 3D scan data (including Cyclone, Polyworks , Geomagic, and others) provide free data viewers that are able to view and manipulate high resolution polygonal meshes and point clouds. More open source point cloud processing solutions (such as MeshLab and Cloud Compare) are also becoming available. The emphasis here is to provide a brief assessment of what free software is currently available and can open specifically the point cloud and mesh file types that have been archived. Most of the software listed here are data viewers meant strictly to open, view and manipulate 3D data; however, some of the open source solutions may offer more advanced processing or analytical operations (which will not be discussed here). This is not a comprehensive software list nor is this list a how-to document for using each of the software; it is meant to serve only as a guide to opening and viewing point cloud and mesh files that have been archived with tDAR.

Cloud Compare

Cloud compare is an open-source point cloud processing software. It was originally designed for comparison between point clouds (or between a point cloud and mesh) and has been extended to include more advanced processing operations such as registration, resampling, segmentation, and more. Cloud Compare can open E57, ASCII TXT point cloud files, and OBJ files. As a data viewer, it offers advanced display options for viewing point clouds and meshes through its PCV Plugin which calculates ambient occlusion on a point cloud. Users can also open individual scans and perform scan-to-scan registration and additional advanced processing if desired. Cloud Compare is also commonly used to convert datasets into different formats. For example, Cloud Compare can open E57 files and export them to an ASCII TXT format, which can be opened by more software packages.

Cloud Compare

AutoDesk ReCap Pro

ReCap Pro is a point cloud processing software that is currently offered as a free limited-time trial from Autodesk. It is not clear whether it will or will no continue to be free in the future. It can open both E57 and TXT point cloud files and offers more advanced processing operations such as target-less registration and advanced data editing. Basic distance and angle measurements as well as annotation capabilities are also provided. Users can open individual scan files or an entire registered point cloud and compute basic distance measurements as shown below.

Recap Pro also offers some enhanced display options for viewing point clouds including different lighting and shading algorithms that can be very useful for enhancing characteristics of the point cloud dataset. Note, the edge highlighting display is being used in the screen capture above. The program is streamlined and efficient with all functionality accessible from a simple menu system that lines the left side of the screen.

AutoDesk ReCap Pro

Geomagic Verify Viewer

Geomagic Verify Viewer (formerly Rapidform Explorer) is free viewing software that is similar to Geomagic Verify (formerly Rapidform XOV) but with reduced functionality. Verify Viewer can open both ASCII TXT point clouds and OBJ mesh files. It offers distance and angle measurement capabilities as well as area and volume calculations for polygonal mesh models. The user can also adjust the lighting controls and an object’s texture/material properties (see image below). For more comprehensive instructions on how to open an OBJ mesh file in Geomagic Verify Viewer and perform basic measurements, see the Using Geomagic Verify Viewer document (link).

Geomagic Verify Viewer


Meshlab is an open source software for processing and editing point cloud and mesh datasets. More advanced processing operations in Meshlab include scan-to-scan registration, mesh creation, mesh editing, cleaning, healing, and inspection. Users can open both ASCII TXT files and OBJ polygonal mesh files in Meshlab. Basic measurement capabilities are also provided.

Using Geomagic Verify Viewer – Open your dataset

To open a dataset in Verify Viewer, first launch the software and go to File – Open. Next, select the dataset that you wish to open. Note that only one dataset can be viewed at a time. Upon opening a dataset, the user will be prompted to specify the measurement units for the incoming objects. Data acquired with the Breuckmann SmartScan HE and Konica Minolta VIVID 9i will be in millimeters, while data collected with the Optech ILRIS-3D, Leica C10, and Z+F Imager 50061 will be in meters. The scanner information and measurement units will be provided in the project metadata on tDAR.

If you are importing an ASCII TXT file you may be asked to convert the file manually. If prompted to do so, click yes. Next, a dialog box will appear that will require you to assign column headers to each column of values. Geomagic usually does a pretty good job of guessing what is in each column although you should verify that it is correct before pressing continue. ASCII data is typically in one of the following formats: XYZI, XYZRGB, or XYZRGBI where the first three values will define a point coordinate (X, Y,Z specifies a precise position in 3D space), I defines an intensity value, and RGB defines a color value. You can select the value for each column by selecting the appropriate value from the drop down box at the top of each column.

Learn how to view/navigate around the object in 3D space

When a dataset is initially loaded into Verify Viewer, the default manipulation mode is set to “selection” which is indicated by the crosshair icon. The selection mode allows the user to select items on the screen such as selecting the object or picking points/vertices for measurement or selecting a reference plane. To toggle between selection and navigation mode, tap the middle mouse button. Note that the crosshair icon indicates selection mode and the chasing arrows icon indicates navigation mode. Also notice that there is a gray transparent box with instructions in the top right of the viewing window that changes when you switch between the different modes. This box is useful when you are familiarizing yourself with the software and can easily be hidden by clicking on the black arrow at the top right.

Figure 1: Instruction panel for Selection Mode (left) and Navigation Mode (right)

Once in Navigation mode, the user can rotate and view the object from different angles. The View Manipulation Style can be changed based on user software preference by selecting File – Preferences. The default view manipulation mode is set to Rapidform. We generally advise using the Polyworks view mode instead of its assigns a function to each mouse button (left, middle, right) and does not require the use of the Ctrl or Shift buttons. Use a navigation mode that is most comfortable for you. A comparison between the Rapidform and Polyworks view modes can be seen in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2: Comparison of Rapidform and Polyworks View Manipulation styles.

Adjusting the Display Options in Geomagic Verify Viewer

Once a dataset is open, there are several display options that can be adjusted. To turn off the green reference planes located at the object’s origin, toggle the eye icon next to Ref. planes under Reference in the Table of Contents on the left side of the screen. Also, if you click on the Display tab near the bottom left of the screen, you can change any of the options listed under the Mesh/Point Cloud dialog.

Figure 3: Display options for Geomagic Verify Viewer

Of these, toggling the Texture off and on can be useful particularly when viewing a mesh data set as it allows you to better view the underlying surface topography on an object as shown in Figure 3 below.

Figure 4: Toggling the texture on (above left) and off (above right) for an object

Also subsampling the static and/or dynamic display ratio can be beneficial on computers that might have limited graphics and/or RAM capabilities. Feel free to explore the different display options that are available.

To adjust the lighting of the scene, you can toggle the number of lights or hit the Set button located just above the Mesh/Point Cloud options in the Display tab. Optionally, you can also go to View – Light Properties. Here the user can adjust the direction and hue of different light sources which can be good for accentuating features on an object. Note: Only mesh datasets are affected by scene lighting adjustments.

Figure 5: Object shown with different lighting (adjusted by changing the lighting options)

Computing Measurements on an Object

Under the Measure menu, there are several different measurement options available for analyzing an object. The first measurement option, the distance measurement, is the most common. For distance measurements, the user has several alternatives including basic point-to-point (2-points) measurement as well as others shown in Figure 6 below.

Figure 6: Measure Distance – Method options

For a basic point-to-point measurement, choose the “2 Points” option under Method. Next, you can choose to constrain the measurement to a specific axis. For example, one may wish to constrain a measurement to the Y axis to acquire a vertical measurement for an object.

Once you have selected the appropriate method and constraint options, tap the middle mouse button to enter selection mode and then choose two points on the object. A point-to-point distance measurement is computed and is stored under the Measurements entry in the table of contents on the left side of the screen. Once the user exits the Measurement dialog, all measurements are available in the table of contents.

Figure 7: A point-to-point measurement constrained to the Y axis

If you would like measure the distance between planes, vectors, or other primitives you will first have to fit those primitives to the object. To do so, turn on the Fitting Geometry option under the Measure Distance dialog. Next choose the desired primitive to fit to the object. In this example, we will fit a plane to the base of the vessel. Select plane and enter Selection Mode by tapping your middle mouse button. Select points on the base of the vessel that will be used to draw the plane. Once you have identified enough points to create the desired primitive object (3 in this case to make a plane), the primitive feature will appear in orange. Note: you can continue selecting points to adjust the primitive geometry. Once you have fit your primitive, make sure you hit the blue check “Apply button” next to the “Fitting Geometry” text to confirm the creation of the primitive.

Figure 8: Fit a plane to the object and check the Apply button to complete the process

Once the desired primitives are created, uncheck the Fitting Geometry option, specify the desired measurement method, and then pick the two primitives onscreen that you wish to measure between and a distance measurement will be computed.

Figure 9: A plane to plane measurement in Geomagic Verify Viewer

There are several other measurement tools available under the Measure menu including angle, radius, section, volume, area, and virtual calipers. To learn more about how to use a given tool, select the tool and tap F1 on your keyboard to access Viewer’s context-based help menu. The help menu is very useful for learning about the different measurement options in Verify Viewer.