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Mesher Object

Overview

Auto-Connecting To Point Sources

  • If one or more such objects are selected when the Mesher is created, the point outputs of the existing selection will be connected to the point input of the new Mesher automatically.
  • If no valid point source objects are selected when the Mesher is created, you will have to add them manually using the controls in the Point Sources rollout.

Auto-Updating And Suggest Radius Features

  • When the Mesher is created, its own Auto Update option will be checked by default.
  • However, the default state of the Document’s Use Auto Update option located in the Task Manager is OFF, suppressing any automatic updates.

Task Manager Use Auto Update OFF

  • If the Use Auto Update option is turned off in the Task Manager, the Mesher will not start meshing immediately.
  • A background Task to suggest a Radius value for meshing will be scheduled regardless of the state of the Use Auto Update option.
  • You can accept the Suggested Radius at any time during the calculation, or wait for the Task to finish.
  • Alternatively, you can enter your own settings before pressing the [Update Mesh] button to schedule the processing of the mesh in the Task Manager.

Task Manager Use Auto Update ON

  • If Use Auto Update is turned on in the Task Manager, the Mesher will schedule both a Radius suggestion task and a Meshing task using the default Radius value.
  • If you want to mesh using the suggested Radius value, you can press the [Set Radius to X] button with the suggested value and the Meshing Task will be restarted automatically with the new value.
  • The Mesher object exposes the following UI Controls:

Mesher Rollout

../../_images/mesher_general_properties_rollout.png
  • The Mesher rollout displays the object name, the point (vertex) count, and the face count.
  • It also contains the checkbutton controlling Auto Updates, and the button to trigger a manual update.
  • It is always available and is rolled down by default.
  • When rolled up, the rollout title will display the name of the object, the point and face counts, and the state of the Auto Update option if it is checked.
../../_images/mesher_general_properties_rollout_collapsed.png

Name Field

  • The Name field shows the name of the selected Mesher.
  • A default name is generated automatically in the form MesherN, where N is an integer starting and 1 and incremented with each new Mesher creation.
  • The name can be edited by the user to describe the purpose/function of the Mesher.

Points Field

  • Displays the number of points (Vertices) in the mesh.
  • The field is Read-only - you can select and copy the value, but cannot change it.

Faces Field

  • Displays the number of Faces in the mesh.
  • Currently, the Mesher produces only triangular faces.
  • The field is Read-only - you can select and copy the value, but cannot change it.

Auto Update Checkbutton

  • When unchecked, the Mesher will only update when the [Update Mesh] button (see below) is pressed manually.
  • When checked (default), any changes to the Mesher’s properties will trigger an automated update, as long as the Use Auto Update option in the Task Manager panel is also checked.
  • If a previous update task is already queued in the Task Manager, it will be cancelled and replaced with the new one.

Update Mesh Button

  • When pressed, a meshing task will be queued in the Task Manager.
  • If the input sources require updating / reloading, they will be processed first, then the meshing will be performed, then the reduction will be applied (if greater than 0.0).
  • Alternatively, you can press the F5 key or use the Main Menu > Display > UPDATE Selected Object item.

Display Rollout

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  • The Display rollout exposes controls affecting the display of the Mesher object in the Viewports, including color, lighting and backface culling.
  • It is always available and is rolled up by default.
  • When rolled up, the rollout title will list the color source channel, the color scale (only if not 1.0), the state of the lighting (only if enabled), and the culling mode (only if not None).
../../_images/mesher_display_rollout_collapsed.png

Color Channel Dropdown List

  • Shows the available channels that can be used as source for the Color channel in the viewport.
  • The list also includes the entry [User Color]. which allows a solid color selected by the user via the color picker to the right of the list to be used for the whole mesh.

Scale Channel Value Slider

  • Scales the data copied into the Color Channel according to the above list.
  • Default is 1.0, which leaves the color data unchanged.
  • Negative values are allowed.

Use Lighting Checkbutton

  • When checked (default), the mesh will be illuminated by the scene lights as long as Mesh Lighting is also enabled in the viewport.
  • When unchecked, the mesh will be drawn unshaded, but fully self-illuminatet, revealing the specified Color Channel or [User Color].

Face Culling Dropdown List

  • Possible values are:
    • Back (default) - polygons whose normal points at the viewer will be displayed, while backfacing ones will be culled.
    • Front - polygons whose normal points at the viewer will be culled, while backfacing ones will be visible.
    • None - no culling will be performed, making both facing and backfacing polygons visible to the viewer.
    • Tint Back - polygons will be colorized according to the Color Channel and Scale Channel values, and the backside color will be multiplied by the Tint Color value.
    • Tint Front - polygons will be colorized according to the Color Channel and Scale Channel values, and the front side color will be multiplied by the Tint Color value.

Point Sources Rollout

../../_images/mesher_point_sources_rollout.png
  • The Point Sources rollout is always available.
  • It lets the user add and remove point sources - Point Loaders and Point Region Of Interest objects.
  • It will be rolled down by default if no Point sources have been picked when the object is created.
  • It will be rolled up if the Mesher has been connected to at least one Point source during creation.
  • The rollout title will display the name of the first point source, if any, and show the number of further point sources, if any, e.g. “Point Sources [PointLoader001] [+1 more source]”
../../_images/mesher_point_sources_rollout_collapsed.png

Point Sources Object List

  • Lists the point source inputs.
  • Double-click an entry on the list to change the selection to the respective object.

Add Button

  • Press to open the Object Picker Dialog listing all valid Point sources in the current document.
  • Highlight one or more sources and press [OK] to add them as inputs.
  • Objects that are already added to the Point Sources Object List will not appear in the Object Picker Dialog.
  • Alternatively, press [Cancel] to dismiss the dialog without adding point sources.

Remove Button

  • Highlight one or more entries on the list and press the [Remove] button to disconnect the selected inputs.

Insert Point Region Of Interest Node Button

  • Pressing this button will insert a Point Region Of Interest object between the Point Sources and the Mesher.
  • This can be useful when you have connected one or more Point Loaders to a Mesher, and then decided to mesh only a sub-region of the combined point cloud.

User Coordinate System Rollout

  • The User Coordinate System rollout exposes control to pick, create and remove a user coordinate system gizmo defining a custom reference coordinate system origin and axes orientations.
  • The rollout will be rolled down if no User Coordinate System object has been connected yet.
  • The rollout will be rolled up if a User Coordinate System object has been created and connected to the Mesher.
  • The rollout title will display the name of the connected UCS object (if any).

Meshing Rollout

../../_images/mesher_meshing_rollout.png
  • The Meshing rollout controls the most important properties of the Mesher object - the meshing Radius, the Cull Compoments, and the Simplify Mesh controls.
  • It also controls the Automatic and Manual Updates of the Mesher.
  • This rollout is always available and is rolled down by default to provide immediate access to the most important controls.
../../_images/mesher_meshing_rollout_collapsed.png

Suggest Radius button

  • Pressing this button will schedule a task to analyze the incoming point cloud and determine an optimal Radius value for meshing.
  • This feature will be triggered automatically when a Mesher is created and automatically connected to one or more valid point sources.
  • Once the processing is done, the Radius value will be displayed in the next button - [Set Radius to X]

Set Radius to X button

  • Pressing this button will set the Radius value/slider to the X value displayed on the button.
  • The default X value is 1.
  • After determining an optimal Radius value, X will be replaced with the result.

Radius Value/Slider

  • Defines the meshing Radius value for all source points in this Mesher.

Cull Components Drop-down List

  • Controls the method used to specify the removal of small detached components, usually created from reflection artefacts, moving objects or people.
  • Possible values are:
    • No Culling - No culling will be performed. No additional controls will be displayed.
    • By Face Count - (default) Unconnected mesh components with face count below the specified threshold will be removed. An additional Face Count slider will be displayed.
    • By Surface Area - Unconnected mesh components with surface area below the specified threshold will be removed. An additional Surface Area slider will be displayed.
  • Note that the culling is performed on the original mesh created by the Mesher without the need to perform the meshing again.
  • The culling is performed by a dedicated CullMeshComponents operator automatically connected to the Mesher on creation time.
  • The CullMeshComponents operator is evaluated before the Mesh Reduction operator, so the thresholds apply to mesh before simplification.

Face Count Slider

  • This control will be visible when the Cull Components drop-down list is set to “By Face Count” mode.
  • The default value is 1000.
  • The slider range is from 0 to 10000.
  • The minimum value is 0 (no culling).
  • The maximum value is not limited.
  • Setting the slider to higher values and updating the Mesh automatically or manually will remove larger components.

Face Area Slider

  • This control will be visible when the Cull Components drop-down list is set to “By Surface Area” mode.
  • The default value is 0.0 (no culling)
  • The slider range is from 0.0 to 100000.0
  • The minimum value is 0.0 (no culling).
  • The maximum value is not limited.
  • Setting the slider to higher values and updating the Mesh automatically or manually will remove larger components.

Conform To Points Checkbutton

  • When checked, a Conform To Points operator will be inserted into the node graph of the Mesher and will be enabled to shift the mesh vertices to the average of closest points.
  • When unchecked (default), the operator will not exist or it will be disabled if it does exist, and no conforming will be performed.

Relax Mesh Checkbutton

  • When checked, a Mesh Relax operator will be inserted into the node graph of the Mesher and will perform relaxing of the vertices using one or more iterations with a user-defined weight.
  • When unchecked (default), the operator will not exist or it will be disabled if it does exist, and no relaxing will be performed.

Reduce Mesh Drop-down List

  • Controls the method used to specify the mesh reduction (a.k.a. decimation or simplification) threshold.
  • Possible values are:
    • None - No reduction will be performed. No additional controls will be displayed.
    • To Face % - (default) The mesh will be reduced until the specified percentage of faces has been reached. An additional Face % slider will be displayed.
    • To Face Count - The mesh will be reduced until the specified absolute number of faces has been reached. An additional Face Count slider will be displayed.

Face % Slider

  • This control is visible when the Simplify Mesh drop-down list is set to “To Face %” mode.
  • It defaults to 100%, equivalent to “None”mode.
  • Setting the slider to lower values and updating the Mesh automatically or manually will reduce the number of faces until the specified percentage has been reached.
  • The value and slider range is from 0 to 100 and cannot be set to lower or higher values.

Face Count Slider

  • This control is visible when the Simplify Mesh drop-down list is set to “To Face Count”mode.
  • It defaults to 1,000,000 faces.
  • Changing the slider and updating the Mesh automatically or manually will reduce the number of faces until the specified percentage has been reached.
  • If the requested number of faces is higher than the initial number of faces in the Mesh, no simplification will be performed.
  • The slider range is from 0 to 10,000,000 and can be set to higher values.
  • Note that the Face Count slider is completely independent from the Face % slider - changing the one does not adjust the other.

Single Sided Sub-Rollout

Cull By Normals Checkbutton

  • When checked, and only if a valid Normal channel exists in the point sources, polygons facing in the opposite direction of the point normals will be culled.
  • When unchecked (default), the mesh will remain double-sided.
  • This functionality is implemented via a Cull Faces By Normal Similarity operator created automatically when the Mesher is created.

Tolerance Value Slider

Export Rollout

../../_images/mesher_export_rollout.png
  • This rollout is always available.
  • It can be used to export the mesh generated by the object to a supported mesh file format on disk.
  • Supported formats include .XMesh, .OBJ, .PLY, .STL, .FBX, .U3D and .PDF.

Export in World Space... Button

  • If the Mesher is not connected to a User Coordinate System (UCS) object, this button will be available in the rollout.
  • Press this button to export the resulting mesh to disk.
  • If using 32 bit floats to store vertex positions would be insufficient to represent the incoming point cloud data, a prompt will appear suggesting the export in UCS space instead.
../../_images/mesher_export_mesh_ws_no_ucs.png
  • Pressing the Cancel button will stop the export.
  • If the Export World Space button is pressed in the dialog, the precision warning will be ignored and the mesh will be saved using 32 bit floating point precision in World Space, potentially producing degenerate data on the target system. This is not recommended, but allowed.
  • If the Export UCS Space button is pressed in the dialog, a new prompt will appear:
../../_images/mesher_export_mesh_ws_create_ucs.png
  • Pressing the Create UCS and Export UCS Space button will create a new User Coordinate System object centered at the bounding box of the Mesher’s Point Sources, the the export will continue in UCS space.
  • Pressing the Cancel button will stop the export, and you can create a custom User Coordinate System object with a modified placement and/or orientation.
  • If the export has not been cancelled, a Save File dialog will open.
  • Specify the output file name and format and press Save to export, or Cancel to abort.

Export in UCS Space... Button

  • If the mesher is connected to a User Coordinate System object, this button will be available in the rollout.
  • Pressing this button will open a Save File dialog.
  • Specify the output file name and format and press Save to export, or Cancel to abort.
  • The data will be saved relative to the space defined by a UCS object.

Hacksaw Settings Rollout

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  • This rollout is rolled up by default.
  • When rolled up, the title bar will display the number of X, Y and Z cells, the axis order, and the cell range (if enabled):
../../_images/mesher_hacksaw_settings_rollout_collapsed.png
  • The Hacksaw feature allows the processing of large data sets in cells that can be calculated in muktiple parallel tasks on the local machine, or by multiple computers controlled by Thinkbox Software’s DEADLINE manager.
  • Note that the DEADLINE Manager offers a license-free mode with two free nodes, and SEQUOIA includes two processing licenses in the base package, so no additional costs are involved in setting up network processing.
    • Please contact Thinkbox Software’s Sales department to request the download information for DEADLINE in license-free mode.

Show Cells

  • This checkbotton controls the display of the Hacksaw Cells in the Viewport.
  • When checked, a grid of the currently active range (or all cells, if no range is enabled) will be drawn using a color gradient starting with a yellow cell and ending with a blue one.
  • This option can be enabled to visualize the splitting of the point data to be processed.

Refresh Cells

  • Pressing this button will update the cells in Show Cells is checked.
  • This is useful when the size of a Region Of Interest between the Point Loader and the Mesher has changed, thus affecting the size of the active area to be meshed.

X/Y/Z Cells Values And Sliders

  • The three values define the number of cells along each axis.
  • Default is 4 for each, or 64 (4x4x4) cells to be saved.
  • Maximum range is 10 for 1000 (10x10x10) cells directly accessible via the Sliders.
  • Higher values than 10 can be entered by typing into the value fields.
  • You should adjust these based on the shape of the object’s bounding box, mesh resolution, point count etc.

Order Dropdown List

  • Controls the order in which the cells are calculated.
  • This is useful when loading the resulting Partitions with a Mesh Loader with a Custom Range - the order affects which Partitions can be accessed as a grou to reveal a fraction of the object.
  • Possible values are:
    • X-Y-Z (default) - increments the X axis first, then the Y, then the Z. This is useful for revealing horizontal levels, for example the basement, ground floor, second floor etc. of a house.
    • X-Z-Y - increments the X first, then the Z, then the Y. This is useful for example when loading an object that has a longer Y axis and XZ cross-sections need to be displayed using a custom range.
    • Y-X-Z - increments the Y axis first, then the X, then the Z. This is similar to the default setting, except for swapping the X and Y order.
    • Y-Z-X - increments the Y first, then the Z, then the X. This is useful for example when loading an object that has a longer X axis and YZ cross-sections need to be displayed using a custom range.
    • Z-X-Y - increments the Z first, then the X and then the Y. This is useful for example when loading an object that has a longer Y axis and ZX cross-sections need to be displayed using a custom range.
    • Z-Y-X - increments the Z first, then the Y and then the X. This is useful for example when loading an object that has a longer X axis and ZY cross-sections need to be displayed using a custom range.

Use Custom Range Checkbutton

  • Unchecked by default.
  • When checked, two additional value fields/sliders - Start and End - will become available.

Start / End Values And Sliders

  • Specify the first and last cells of the Custom Range to process.
  • Normally, all cells will be processed sequentially.
  • If for some reason you want to mesh a subset of cells, for example to update some files, continue after cancelling, test a few cells before committing to a long meshing process etc, you can use these controls to limit the cells to be processed.

Export Object Space... Button

  • Pressing this button will open a save file dialog.
  • Specify the output filename and format and press Save to export, or Cancel to abort.
  • The data will be saved in object space relative to the object pivot, ignoring any world-space transformations.

Export World Space... Button

  • Pressing this button will open a save file dialog.
  • Specify the output filename and format and press Save to export, or Cancel to abort.
  • The data will be saved in world space using all world-space transformations applied to the object.

See also the topic “Meshing And Saving To Disk Using The Hacksaw Feature”for details.

Advanced Meshing Rollout

../../_images/mesher_advanced_meshing_rollout.png
  • This rollout is always available because it is used to select the Meshing Method and is thus applicable to all modes.
  • This rollout is rolled up by default since its default settings are good enough for the majority of use cases.
  • When rolled up, it displays the meshing mode, mesh resolution, and vertex refinement values.
../../_images/mesher_advanced_meshing_rollout_collapsed.png

Method Drop-Down List

  • Selects the meshing algorithm to be used.
  • Current options are:
    • Union Of Spheres - each point is treated as a small sphere with the specified radius, and the mesh is the union of all these spheres without any control over isosurface and blending between them.
    • Metaballs - uses the classical blobmesh algorithm. An additional “Metaballs” rollout will become available with Radius Scale and Isosurface Level controls (see further below for details).
    • Zhu/Bridson (default) - uses the Zhu/Bridson algorithm originally developed for simulating sand as a fluid. Provides extensive blending and trimming controls via an additional “Zhu Bridson” rollout.

Resolution Mode Drop-Down List

  • Controls the density of the resulting mesh.
  • Possible values are:
    • Relative to Maximum Radius (default) - the mesh resolution will be a fraction of the highest Radius value (either the global Radius property, or the largest value found in the Radius channel if available and enabled for loading). This ensures that the same settings will work with any radius, adapting the mesh resolution to the Radius value. The drawback is that if a Radius channel is used and it has very large and very small values, some of the smaller detail might get lost. When this option is selected, a Resolution Value/Slider will become available. It defaults to 1.5.
    • Absolute Spacing - the mesh resolution will be specified using an explicit world-space value. Changing the Radius value will have no effect on the mesh resolution. When this option is selected, an Absolute Spacing Value will become available. It defaults to 0.167.

Vertex Refinement Value Field / Slider

  • Controls the number of vertex refinement steps to perform.
  • Default is 3.

Use Radius Channel Checkbutton

  • When unchecked (default), the global Radius value/slider found in the Meshing Rollout will be used for all points.
  • When checked, and if the source point cloud contains a valid channel called “Radius”, that value will be used per-point. If no such channel exists, the global Radius value will still be used.

Metaballs Rollout

../../_images/mesher_metaballs_rollout.png
  • The Metaballs Rollout is only available when the Method property in the Advanced Meshing Rollout is set to “Metaballs”.
  • When available, it is rolled up by default.
  • When rolled up, it displays the Radius Scale and Surface Level values in the title bar.
../../_images/mesher_metaballs_rollout_collapsed.png

Radius Scale Value/Slider

  • Scales the Radius value to set the influence radius of each point.
  • Higher values allow particles to blend better together.
  • Default is 1.5.

Surface Level Value/Slider

  • A point adds density in the space surrounding it. This density is greatest at the point’s center, and decreases to zero farther away from the point. The mesh will be created where the combined density from all points equals this Surface Level.
  • Increasing the Surface Level will move the mesh closer to the points, while decreasing it will move the mesh farther away.
  • Default is 0.3.
  • Minimum value is 0.01.
  • Note that setting the value too high might produce inconsistent mesh due to lack of the specified defined values.

Zhu/Bridson Rollout

../../_images/mesher_zhu_bridson_rollout.png
  • The Zhu/Bridson Rollout is only available when the Method property in the Advanced Meshing Rollout is set to “Zhu/Bridson”.
  • Since this is the default meshing method, the rollout is available but rolled up by default.
  • When rolled up, the title bar shows the Blend Radius, Trim Threshold and Trim Strength, if enabled.
../../_images/mesher_zhu_bridson_rollout_collapsed.png

Blend Radius Scale Value/Slider

  • Zhu/Bridson meshing blends the surface between nearby points.
  • The blending distance is determined by (maximum point radius * Blend Radius).

Low Density Trimming Checkbutton

  • Each point contributes a density that is highest at its center, and that decreases to zero away from the point.
  • When Low Density Trimming is enabled, the mesh volume is removed from low-density regions.
  • Default is Disabled.

Threshold Value/Slider

  • Defines the threshold value below which trimming will be performed, if enabled.
  • Default is 1.0.

Strength Value/Slider

  • Defines the strength of the Low Density Trimming effectl, if enabled.
  • Default is 15.0.