Viewing Point Cloud Objects
Shading Options
Plane Shading
Other Settings
Isolating Areas Using the Clip Box

Shading Options
Point cloud shading options are accessed under the Point Cloud | Shader tab of the Settings box.

The following options are available:
Show RGB
Sets the global RGB filter. Switching this option off prevents any RGB data being shown.
Show Intensity
Sets the global Intensity filter. Switching this option off prevents any Intensity data being shown.
Blending
This effects the display of point clouds where both Intensity and RGB data for points are available. Showing both values blends the two shading models. This may be used to enhance the visual quality of the data.
Intensity Ramp
Sets the colour ramp that is used to display intensity values.
Brightness
Sets the offset for the intensity values. This is analogous to brightness in a greyscale image.
Contrast
Sets the range over which the intensity values are distributed or scaled. This is analogous to contrast in a greyscale image.
Point Cloud Lighting
If checked applies lighting to point clouds. This can greatly enhance the clarity of the data showing detail that is otherwise hidden.

Lighting is only enabled for point clouds with Normal data. This data is either imported from the source file or generated on import. see Importing Point Clouds for more information on generating normals.

The Point Cloud Lighting option requires support for the ARB Vertex Shader extension in your graphics hardware.
Material Quality
This option only affects points when lighting is in use and determines the specular and diffuse quality of the material being used.


Plane Shading
This feature is named 'Height Shading' in version 1.5-1.52.

Point cloud plane shading options are accessed under the Point Cloud | PlaneShader tab of the Settings box.

Plane shading shades points according to their distance from a plane. By default the Z plane is used. This is very useful for visualising aerial LIDAR data, especially when intensity or RGB values are not available. New in version 1.55 is the ability to use X or Y planes or define a custom plane.

The following options are available:
Distance
This is the distance over which the entire colour ramp is stretched
Offset
The height at which shading starts.
The shade value (0->1.0) is calculated as (z-offset
Fit to Data
Fits the Distance and Offset parameters to the point cloud data extents
Axis
The normal of the shading plane ie the direction in which the shader operates. This can be set to X, Y or Z or an arbitrary vector. To set the plane on a 'face' of points:

1.Align the view using the 2 point or 3 point align tools.
2.Use the Align View option to set the vector of the plane to that of the camera view.
This can be useful to bring out detail in surfaces with gentle relief.
Edge
Determines the behaviour of the shader beyond the shading range that is offset > z > offset + distance or 0 > shade value > 1.0
Repeat
The ramp is repeated
Clamp
The ramp is clamped to the edge value so all values > 1 are clamped to 1 and all values < 0 are clamped to 0.
Black
A black value is assigned to points outside the range.
Ramp
Sets the shading colour ramp. Note that this lists all the available ramps although some are not very useful for plane shading.


Other Settings
General Tab
Memory Usage
This determines the amount of available memory that Pointools should use. This setting is best left unchanged for optimum performance. If you want Pointools to use less memory change this value by small amounts until you have freed the required amount of memory.
Delayed Channel Loading
Point clouds consist of a number of channels: Geometry, Intensity, RGB Colour and Normals. Often a subset of these channels are required for rendering the points depending on the settings in use. This option delays loading of unused channels until they are required. As a consequence general loading is quicker but changing display options may require loading of additional channels and so is slower.

The option is off by default.

Display Tab

Dynamic View Options

Minimum Output %
Sets the minimum percent of the entire point cloud data set to be drawn during dynamic navigation. This overrides the frame rate reduction. Setting high values will significantly improve the quality of the view whilst navigating but at the expense of the frame rate.
Front Bias
Sets a bias to point closer to the viewer when reducing the view during navigation. This is most suitable for views of objects viewed from the exterior where the points closest to the viewer are most often those of interest. Conversely this option will not work well when viewing objects from inside.

This option is off by default.
Adaptive Point Size
During navigation Pointools adaptively reducing the point density in different areas of the point cloud to suit the current view. The Adaptive Point Size option compensates for density reduction by increasing the point size. This results in a much fuller view whilst navigating.

This option is off by default.

Static View Options
Static View Reduction Optimizer
Pointools optimizes the display of static views by calculating an optimum amount of data to display for different parts of the point cloud data. This percentage value influences the aggressiveness of the optimizer. Higher values result in faster display but may start to drop out some detail.

If you find that detail is being dropped out of the static view, reduce the optimizer value.

If you are viewing large amounts of data, increase this value until the reduction becomes apparent. This can dramatically improve performance and reduce memory usage.

Note that this is not a simple linear reduction of the amount of data on screen but an adjustment of localised density estimation to adapt this estimation to different scenarios.
Point Size
Sets the point display size. This can also be set from the toolbar or by using the keyboard shortcuts 1-5.
Scanner Display
If scanner locations of the point cloud data are known these can be displayed in the viewport in one of the following ways:
None
Does not display scanners.
Axis
Scanners are displayed as an 1m oriented axis.
Point
Scanner are displayed as a 10 pixel point.


Isolating Areas Using the Clip Box
When viewing large or complex point cloud scenes it can be helpful to isolated the area (or volume) of interest. Pointools enables this via the editable clip box tools.

The clip toolbar contains all icons for the clip box commands.

Editing the Clipbox
To edit the clipping box position and size:

1.Start the clipbox tool select the Edit clip box command from the toolbar, or use the C keyboard shortcut.
2.This displays the clipping box as a transparent box. If this is the first time the tool has been activated in the current session, the box will expand to fit the area of point cloud.
3.Use the round handles to drag the sides of the box to isolate the area of interest. Click once on the handle to pick it up and again to drop it. Note that clipping is not yet in effect.
4.You can rotate the clip box in the Z axis by using the outer orbit handle.
5.To turn on clipping use the Clip icon in the Clipping toolbar or the Toggle clipping button. Point data outside the box is now clipped out.
6.You can adjust the box further, point data will be clipped out in real-time.
7.Alternatively use the input boxes on the clip box dialog to enter the Range or Size of the box.
8.Right click or click OK to drop the Edit Clip Box tool once the clip box is set.
Use the Extents button to reset the clip box to the extents of the data.

Disappearing Data
When importing different data sets be sure to check if clipping is active as it is possible to leave clipping active from a previous data set. If you import a new data set you may not see any data in the viewport because the data is clipped out entirely.

Section Viewer
The section view tool provides a convenient way to move a thin clip box to view a sections through the data. The section viewer will use the the box axis with the shortest dimension to move through.

To activate the section viewer select Section viewer from the clip box dialog or the clipping toolbar. This opens the section viewer options with the following controls:
The slider
The slider sets the position of the box along its shortest axis.
Mark
Sets the extent of the slider range. The left Mark option indicates the lower end of the range.
Nudge >>
Nudges the section box in the positive direction.
Nudge <<
Nudges the section box in the negative direction.
Hide Box
Hides the box, this does not effect the clipping which is set independently.
Show Box
Shows the box, this does not effect the clipping which is set independently.

Hardware Support
The clip box utilises the ARB Vertex Shader extension to OpenGL. Whilst support for this is commonly available on most graphics cards you may need to update your graphics driver to enable this feature.