Reducing Point Cloud File Size With Autodesk Recap

March 20, 2020 Stan Wile

When saving out a RCP or RCS file from Autodesk's Recap, the default resolution is 5 mm between points. This can make for quite large files and raises questions on how to best store these massive files. When exporting entire scans, do you really need that tight resolution? Typically the scan is only for reference and only a few points are selected off of a wall to determine the line or plane. Point cloud file sizes can be drastically reduced by changing the spacing between the unified points. 

Specify this point spacing during the export to RCP\RCS process. Start the Export command and specify what the exported file will be called and where it will be saved. Then this message box appears. But many are unaware of the spacing option hidden behind the little gear icon. Clicking on the gear slides out the spacing slider. The slider goes from 1 mm to 100 mm. The default is 5 mm.
Export

For this example, I scanned a house using Leica's BLK360 laser scanner.
This has the default 5 mm export from Recap brought into AutoCAD. 
5mm house Cropped

And this is 90 mm spacing.
90mm house Cropped

Now to zoom in and see the actual difference between the grid sizes. Here is a cropped view of the side wall at various grid sizes.
This is the default 5 mm.
5mm wall

This is 25 mm
25mm wall

This is 50 mm
50mm wall

This is 90 mm
90 wall

And finally to compare the different file sizes. 
The original project straight from the BLK is 18 GB after deleting the unnecessary points around the property. 
The export to RCS at the default 5 mm creates a 2.75 GB file.
Changing the grid to 25 mm drops the file size to 200 MB!! And looks very close to the 5 mm in quality. 
Changing the grid to 50 mm drops the file size to 60.2 MB.
Changing the grid to 75 mm drops the file size to 29.6 MB.
Changing the grid to 90 mm drops the file size to 18.5 MB. 

Hopefully this helps you better manage you point clouds that are being referenced in other software.

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