Point Clouds in TouchDesigner are achieved via a number of operators, rendering techniques, UI features, file formats and devices.
Point Clouds are most effectively handled using TOPs, where a pixel in a TOP is one point, or at very least, an attribute of one point, since TOPs are limited to 4 channels per TOP (RGBA). The XYZ positions of points are placed in the red, green and blue channels usually.
Reading In Point Cloud Filesedit
The Point File In TOP and Point File Select TOP bring point clouds into TouchDesigner, supporting most common point cloud formats and EXR multi-channel files, enabling the conversion of many-channel files into mutiple 4-channel TOPs.
One point cloud file may have more than 4 attributes values, so get at the 5th channel onward using a Point File Select TOP.
Displaying Point Clouds in TOP Viewersedit
Normalized Split is a display mode of all TOP Viewers where each RGBA channel is visible a grey scale, normalized to the min-max range of the floating point or fixed point numbers in the pixels, showing the min-max values.
View as Points is another display mode of TOPs that treats the RGB channels of an image as XYZ points and displays them in the interactive 3D viewer.
Manipulating Point Clouds: TOPsedit
The Point Transform TOP applies 3D transforms, alignments and normalizations on a point cloud.
You can render point clouds directly from their representation in TOP as instances in the Render TOP.
Manipulating Point Clouds: SOPsedit
Manipulating Point Clouds: Palette Componentsedit
There are some components in the TouchDesigner Palette Components in the Point Clouds section.
- Palette:pointField - generate point "weights" into the alpha channel based on proximity to basic shapes.
- Palette:pointGenerator - generate simple distributions of points
- Palette:pointMerge - merge multiple point clouds together.
- Palette:pointRender - a simple render network for colored points.
- Palette:pointRepack - the same points but in a different widht/height image.
- Palette:pointWeight - GLSL code for distance/falloff calculation.
Manipulating Point Clouds: Devicesedit
TouchDesigner supports the Kinect Azure's generation of Z-depth images and XYZ+color point clouds.
The Ouster LIDAR system generates long-range point clouds in real-time.
See more here: 2020 Official Update