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Common Questions on 3D Post-Processing Software

Posted By Thomas Tong on March 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

What is 3D post-processing software?
3D scanners output raw 3D scan data in the form of points or polygon mesh. 3D post-processing software allows users to clean up 3D scan data and/or transform the data for its final purpose, whether it’s for visualization, reverse engineering, CNC machining, or 3D inspection.

Why do I need 3D post-processing software when the 3D scanner includes 3D scanning software?
A great way to demonstrate this is to use photography as an example. A camera and a 3D scanner behave similarly because they are both equipment used to acquire information from the real world. A camera is used to take photographs while a 3D scanner takes 3D scans of real world objects. A camera has some basic editing functionality to make minor edits to photographs like cropping or red eye reduction. However, if you want to use advanced editing features to edit photographs, you would need to use post-processing software like Photoshop.

In Photoshop, you can enhance the photos by fixing blemishes, adding effects/filters, or even adding elements to photographs that doesn’t exist in the real world. The same also applies to 3D scanning. A scanner captures 3D measurements of an object and recreates the information in the form of 3D scans. A 3D scanner typically comes with 3D scanning software to view the 3D scans generated from the 3D scanner. In addition, users can sometimes do basic post-processing capabilities such as merging and alignment of scans. However, for more advanced editing of the 3D data such as hole filling or building other geometry on top of the acquired data, a 3D post-processing software will be required to do the job.

What are some of the advanced features that are included in 3D post-processing software?
3D post-processing software makes 3D data cleanup fast and easy since they are specialized to do these types of tasks. Some of these features include:

  • powerful 3D mesh editing tools to create high quality 3D models from raw scans
  • complex surface and volumetric analysis and measurement
  • creation of CAD or parametric surfaces
  • automated reporting and information visualization

For anything more than basic scanning tasks, you will generally need a post-processing package. Most 3D post-processing software package focuses on transforming the data for specific downstream applications. For example,

  • Leios facilitates the process of merging scan data and creating NURBS surfaces
  • Geomagic Studio facilitates the process of converting 3D scan data to CAD
  • Geomagic Qualify specializes in providing 3D inspection tools for quality control

Geomagic Studio is a 3D post-processing software for reverse engineering. There is no straight path to make raw 3D scan data directly to a CAD model so Geomagic Studio facilities this process by providing CAD modeling. We described this process in more detail in the previous blog post on Common Questions on Reverse Engineering. If you require 3D inspection for quality control, then Geomagic Qualify would be the suitable software for analysis and 3D measurement.

In summary, 3D post-processing software has a much fuller advanced editing feature set when you compared with 3D scanning software that comes with the purchase of a 3D scanner.

Do you have any questions related to 3D post-processing software? Please post in the comments section.


PHOTO SOURCE: Geomagic (Screenshot from Geomagic Qualify)

This blog post was previously posted on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 on 3D3 Solutions blog. LMI Technologies acquired 3D3 Solutions on May 1, 2013.

Posted by Thomas Tong