Animating Point Clouds

WhiteFirebrigade_zeb1_timespan (00000002)In past years, I have developed much interest in game engines and using them for animating remote sensing observations that we do mostly with laser scanners nowadays.

The laser scanning point clouds are very dense, they contain so much detail. In the past, I remember complaining about not having high density data and not having high accuracy when I create 3D models. However, in the last few years, with the advance laser scanning sensor devices, I found myself complaining about how big the point clouds are and how much detail they contain. The intensity of details and measurement accuracy became “too much” especially when the data wanted to be visualized in an informative way.

I found it a great idea to combine the simulation ideas I got from the game engines with the laser scanning points assuming them as individual particles or particle groups to animate.

Animating point clouds gave opportunity to;

  • Make the details visible when they are wanted
  • Make the scanning trajectories visible
  • Show object detection or other process results visible in an informative way like a movie
  • Show change detections not only as before/after views, but also like movies as if the event is happening slowly (points are moving from their old positions to the new positions). In this way, the changes are shown clearly to the eyes of the observer.

The video that I am sharing with the link below shows some example point cloud animations about;

  • Trajectory of the laser scanner during the scanning process (See the person walking in the corridors, visiting rooms and climbing the staircases)
  • The points which are acquired at different scanning positions

Link to the video:

If you wish to apply point cloud animations in your applications, I will be very happy to discuss. Therefore, please contact me at

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4 Responses to Animating Point Clouds

  1. Michael Murray says:

    Hello All. For those who aren’t aware, 2G Robotics has created a plug-in for CloudCompare in its latest version that allows the user to do really neat animated fly-throughs at different speeds and angles of a Point Cloud. Its incredibly easy and highly intuitive to figure out. I use it for most all of my animation needs.

  2. Chris says:

    Check out some of the amazing work done by Euclideon:
    and their youtube channel:

  3. Sheshbazzar says:

    Or ask Donald J. Meagher how to do it: all of the fast renderers are but variations on his early ’80s octree work. O. Kreylos, B. Dell and many others are quite simply liberally implementing ideas that were introduced into CG by Meagher. In the case of Dell, I believe him when he says that it is an invention of his. Except that it was invented by Meagher some 25 years before.

    For some obscure reason, Meagher is 99% of the time left unmentioned. This must change.

  4. Beril says:

    Thank you for sharing the interesting links.

    Currently, CREATE4D is providing 3D point cloud animations for VR glasses such as Oculus, HTC, Cardboard, etc. I believe that this is very new in laser scanning field.

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