I'm new to blender and could not find this in help files. Can blender be used to drape a 2D image onto a 3D point cloud or mesh? If yes, can someone point me to a tutorial on that?
To drape an image over a 3d mesh is easy. First bring you image into blender, I'd use the import image as plane add on. Next, as gandalf3 said, use a shrink wrap modifier to drop it over the mesh. by doing that you can avoid any distortion that would occur when using the cloth simulator.
If you want to project camera data on to a LIDAR scan, I would use a third method:
- Match your 3D camera to the position of the camera that took the photograph.
- Next select your mesh(LIDAR scan), and add a UVProject Modifier.
- Set the projector to you camera you positioned in step one.
- Then set your image in the image box.
- Uv Unwrap your mesh(LIDAR scan), It does not matter how. Also change the UV option in the UV project modifier to match the name of the UV map you just created.
- Add a texture, and set the image to be your photograph. also set the UV map.
Done, your mesh(LIDAR scan) has been textured!
I've done this kind of thing before-adding an orthoquad photo as a texture on surface mesh to make a realistic land form. The crucial step is going to be converting that Lidar data into a TIN surface (triangulated irregular network) that you can then export as a mesh to Blender. If your LIDAR data comes from a survey firm, then the best option is to ask them to create a DXF file for you. You can then open that in DRaftsight (it's free: Draftsight.com) and export it to STL-which you can then import into Blender. Another option: I found a web portal that says registration is free and that members have access to Lidar conversion tools that can craete DXF or Collada files. Here is their URL: https://www.lidar-online.com/users-login.php Finaly, If you acquired the point data from one of the public domain USGS sites (like LaBIns.org) then check to see if you can get the data in DEM format. The DEM is a zip file containing amoung other things, a raster image of a displacement map. Elevation values are represented as shades of gray. change the file extension to .zip so that you can view it in your file system. Extract that and then you can apply image as a displacement modifier to a plane, or wire it to the displacement channel of your ground-plane material One final bit of advice on using these files in Blender. Before you import them, you need to be sure of your units and precision settings. Cadastral data is usually georeferenced using special coordinate systems. Your data set could come in very far from the origin in your scene or might be expressed in lattitude/longitude, so you should move and scale your data after you import it.