ReCap’s latest 3D capture evolution: low-cost scanning, cloud computing and UAV photogrammetry

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Take a quick look at Autodesk’s software offerings, and you’ll see a wide range of products that are quickly adapting to new technologies and moving into the future. Their 3D reality capture portfolio, of course, is no different. Here are some of the notable cutting-edge technologies you’ll find reflected in the latest evolution of Autodesk ReCap.

Point clouds, low-cost 3D scanners and mobile devices

This spring saw the release of a new, complete reality capture solution designed for low-cost, portability and ease of use. The bundle includes two products: Leica Geosystems’ new BLK360, a sub-$20k laser scanner small enough to carry with one hand and a new version of Autodesk ReCap Pro designed to bring scan collection and registration to mobile devices.

This new ReCap Pro for mobile app makes a perfect complement to Leica’s low-cost portable scanner, as it allows full control of the BLK360 with a quick, user-friendly interface that will appeal to newcomers. However, since the app comes with any ReCap Pro subscription, Autodesk designed it so that it also serves the needs of more experienced users on building, infrastructure, and process and plant design and construction projects. These users will find that, in addition to offering the convenience of an iPad-based workflow, ReCap Pro for mobile includes powerful features that enable professional reality capture field work .

ReCap Pro for mobile offers near real-time registration of your scans, which helps you to evaluate your work as you go and identify errors or missing data. The app also enables users to mark up data with notes, invite collaborators, share/sync using the cloud, and measure within your scans.

For more in-depth work, the data can be shared, annotated, combined with a 3D photogrammetric mesh, or easily sent to Civil3D, Revit, Navisworks, AutoCAD, and Infraworks using ReCap Pro for desktop.

Photogrammetry, cloud computing and drones

Autodesk has also tweaked ReCap to make use of the other two big tech developments in 2017: Drones and cloud computing.

For 2018, the company has consolidated its photogrammetry applications under one application, named ReCap Photo. This desktop app—included with every ReCap Pro subscription—makes a number of upgrades to Autodesk’s photogrammetry technology to keep up with the exploding demand for 3D capture with UAVs in the AEC and survey industries.

For one, Autodesk has made changes to the processing engine used by ReCap Photo. While the software enables users to view and edit data on their own machines, it takes advantage of a cloud engine that processes many more photos, at a much faster rate, than even a powerful local workstation. This cloud processing service has been tweaked to process up to 1,000 photos (which quadruples the former limit of 250 photos). In other words, it enables the capture of larger areas and structures with your UAV, and saves you time when you turn them into a 3D mesh.

ReCap Photo has also optimized its engine for both NADIR and oblique drone photographs, as well as the ability to set ground control points in any coordinate system, which brings an increase in the accuracy of the meshes and point clouds you create from your images.

Looking at all these updates, it’s clear that ReCap will continue to evolve by taking advantage of the latest technologies to improve 3D capture workflows for everyone.

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About Author

SPAR 3D Editor Sean Higgins produces SPAR 3D’s weekly newsletters for 3D-scanning professionals, and spar3d.com. Sean has previously worked as a technical writer, a researcher, a freelance technology writer, and an editor for various arts publications. He has degrees from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts and the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, where he studied the history of sound-recording technologies. Sean is a native of Maine and lives in Portland.

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