.e57 conversion to mesh

New to Rhino. Downloaded because , as a forensic animator, was handed a .E57 file - a laser scan of the crime scene that I need to be a polygonal mesh. As I stated, new to Rhino and it is intimidating to look at so basically asking if anyone knows of a service that does this. I have my hands full with the rest of the murder re-enactment to mess with this ( already spent days). Clearly this has to be a “thing” - converting to mesh as I can’t believe I am the first person that needed point cloud to be in FBX or OBJ format

Welcome @paybills

yes, it can import .e57 files. I have a sampple .e57 file I got online of a little bunny ( rather than the huge 3GB file I really need to work with) and it imports fine and I can see it. The problem is getting it to a mesh. the .fbx and.obj export option produce a file but it is empty ( 6k). Very helpful tech person informed me: "The problem is that the only geometry type E57 supports is points, which is not supported by either OBJ nor FBX. You need to convert the points into a mesh object so it can be exported by FBX / OBJ. Transforming a point cloud into a mesh is not an automatic process. You can use a few plugins to achieve this:

I looked at the first link and the demo ( which is pretty cool) and is fine for the bunny file. but NOT a 3GB scene file. that looks like it would take forever and a day

originally I received a .bin file to work with. But it is a proprietary file output that only Leica can read. So the clients other export option was .e57. EIther way the file is huge. took about 10 minutes to load . they must have scanned the entire city when all I need is the front yard of a particular house

Take a look at meshlab.net
HTH, Jakob

Thanks, I’ll check it out . tried just about everything else

Hi and welcome to the forum!

CloudCompare is yet another option:


// Rolf

yeah tried CloudCompare even before Rhino and a bunch of others. I can’t remember what the issue was there. Just downloaded and installed Meshlab but right off the bat the only import or open options are mesh. no .e57

Just booted up CloudCompare again to refresh my memory of a previous fail. Imports .e57 - like many others do- actually loads much faster and looks better than any of the other apps I have tried. I think I missed this the first time…I was looking for an EXPORT option and saw none. But if you simply do the SAVE ( I was expecting it to save as a CloudCompare file) it gives me several options. One being “.dxf geometry”. sounds too good to be true. Should have tested with the bunny file because I am saving that 3GB file and it’s been a while. I’ll post the results when I get them. Thanks for the mention to get me to look at this again. Most promising effort so far

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If you still get stuck, here’s a list of softwares that supports .e57.


// Rolf

Ok. brought the bunny .e57 into CloudCompare. fast and looks great. saved(not export) as .dxf. The dxf file actually had data in that , unlike the other attempts, was not a 6k file but a 3 MB file. From the dxf, I tried several dxf viewers and online converters as well as trying to import into 3D studioMax which supports dxf. No data in 3dStudio, some converters online said "need to upload at least one 3d model to continue). So, same as before.it’s like all these apps are doing is changing the file extension from .e57 to .fbx or .dfx without actually converting or doing anything in regard to producing a polygonal mesh. Heck I could just change the file extension name myself by typing it in and get the same result. CorelDRAW opened the bunny .dxf but that does me no good as its a 2d program and just shows a siloutte

Been there, done that. 26 listed. at least 8 are dead links giving a 404 error to the webpage. I downloaded and tried the ones that don’t gouge you with a steep subscription fee( at this point I think it would be a waste of time AND money as I am taking to heart what the Rhino tech lady said"The problem is that the only geometry type E57 supports is points, which is not supported by either OBJ nor FBX. You need to convert the points into a mesh object so it can be exported by FBX / OBJ. Transforming a point cloud into a mesh is not an automatic process").

CloudCompare, FME Desktop 2020 and Rhino all “support” .e57 in that they open and view them but none of them can export into a polygonal format and contain any usable data when imported into a 3D program. I really think what the tech lady said makes sense and

So are these points cleaned already? In cloudcompare you add the normals and generate a poisson surface, then you have the mesh that will save out.


OMG!!! You , SIR, are AMZING. that was as friggin simple as I thought this would be 3 days , 12 program downloads and 6 migraines ago,. Simply select the points, Edit/Normals/compute, then run the poissonRecon plugin then save. I now have a 3D POLYGONAL rabbit in my 3D application. I am sSOOOOOO happy. Thank you so much for this simple yet brilliant insight

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now that I have gotten over the first hurdle, there’s the huge file that is my intended target. A 3GB scene file. I am just in the first step of computing normals and it - 12 hours later, just at 46%. May have even crashed as the progress bar is not in real time. It went straight from 5% to 13% after 4 hours and has been hanging at 46% for several hours and the application is in a constant state of “not responding”. It’s all those damn leaves. Laser scan picks up every leaf on every tree. Played with that SF tool to trim ( cool tool ) out some useless vegetation and get to all I really need. Any more helpful tips on this? The file is a total of 15 scans and I was at least smart enough to just do 1. But this seems like it could take forever. I really need a render farm. I mean I have a good system 4 i7 processors at 3.25 GHz but this file is bringing it to it’s knees. I think it hasn’t crashed though because if it did I doubt my computer would be so sluggish for something as simple as this email. But thanks again for getting me this far

Geomagic can process millions of points to a triangulated surface rather quickly.
You might consider a limited time subscription (I have no idea if they offer that) or pay someone to convert it for you.

If the point cloud has color and you want the color in a mesh as vertex color, or a texture map, that would be an additional consideration.

Use the cloudcompare segmentation tool to define smaller bite size pieces, as well as think about what you are trying to accomplish & consider if you actually need a high res mesh the leaves etc. Perhaps segment and do different areas at different resolutions, per relevancy.

no texture or color needed, I will just do all that in Maya when I get a mesh. I’ll look into Geometric >pretty sure CloudCompare is still computing ( and not froze or crashed) because my computer is super sluggish. Still at 46% - where it was when I woke up to check it this morning. I’d feel better if it even went to 47% but have a feeling if it changes at all it will jump to the 60’s

Looks like there is a free 15 day trial for Geomagic Wrap

a few months back i processed a 4GB architectural scan using a ReCap-CloudCompare-Rhino workflow. While CloudCompare could handle the full scan, once it ran the meshing the detail of the mesh as too low, so I first I opened the scan in Autodesk ReCap and separated the point cloud into smaller areas (layers), then exported for processing in CloudCompare and the detail was greatly improved when meshed. This was all on a 5yr old ThinkPad W541.

If you haven’t already seen it, there is a great tutorial that walks through all the steps for getting a good mesh out of CloudCompare - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MS3Krxcy2j0 - it’s a bit dated so the UI and some of the menu options are a bit different now, but was key for me to solve a similar issue.