I am using a 3D scanning app that can export to the following formats:
- FBX - Supported by most 3D software and game engines
- OBJ - Text-based 3D model format
- GLB - Open 3D format for the web (binary GLTF)
- USDZ - Best for ARKit and sharing to iPhones
- STL - Stereolithography file
- PLY - High-density color point cloud
- LAS - Georeferenced color point cloud
From the standpoint of an artist planning to work with the scanned models in Blender, what are the minimum formats to export to, to avoid wasting storage space, but also to avoid throwing away any relevant data destructively?
Because if I can generate a GLB later from an OBJ (for example), then there is no need to export a separate GLB. Get my logic?
Furthermore, I will be cleaning up the mesh data in Blender after scanning. By cleaning up, I mean deleting geometry from background objects that happened to get captured, and fixing non-manifold geometry when necessary. Of course this type of work takes time, so I don't want to have to repeat it.
When working with formats besides .blend, I usually have done so in .obj or .stl (and a little bit of .glb) So I am in not familiar with every single file type listed, or how much feature overlap there is between them.
As for color point clouds, I can't imagine many situations in which I would need the raw color point cloud data. For this reason, I think I can scratch .ply and .las off the list of formats to export to. I do need to keep the color texture data, which I believe is initially generated from the color point clouds.
From what I gather, the app's native data is stored in some proprietary format or combination of formats, only usable in that form by the app itself. And I don't think there is an option to archive the app's original data and load it back into the app later. Besides, even if that were possible, there is still the aforementioned issue of not wanting to have to clean up the mesh data more than once.
The reason for needing to delete the original (native format) scan data is simply storage constraints. A single scan typically ranges more or less from 100MB to 2GB, depending on the detail and size of the subject.
So of the listed formats, is there one that could be considered for use as a "master format" from which the others can be derived (re-generated by exporting)? The 3D data will be primarily for rendering and animation work, and in that sense the ultimate destination format will be .blend, but of course I want that file to contain as much of the original scan data as possible (while still practical). 3D printing work (if any) would be an afterthought, not the main purpose. With this sort of use case in mind, which format(s) should I be sure to export to before deleting the native scan data within the app to free up space? Thanks.