# How to discretize a 3D model represented by as .STL

I am using make human and blender to play with 3D model as .STL file. I want just to take a 3D model (.stl) and discretize it into a 3D matrix. My idea is to check whether each matrix cell contains some vertices or no? If the cells contains some vertices, it will be marked as occupied. However, here the problem is about the inside voxel because the .STL file is not solid? Any idea?

It probably makes more sense to check for volume intersections than the presence of vertices within your matrix, since your entire matrix can be within the ("empty") volume of the mesh you want to discretize, as you pointed out.

If your 3D matrix is cube-like, you can use an actual mesh cube object to represent it, which simplifies this test. This code tells you whether your cube intersects with the mesh and if its center lies within the mesh or not [EDITED TO ADD COMMENTS AND EXPLANATIONS]. It's based on the ray_cast method, which is nicely explained by @zeffii here.

import bpy, bmesh
from mathutils import Vector

def check_raycast(ray_origin, ray_destination, obj):
''' This function casts a virtual ray from "ray_origin" to
"ray_destination", and finds any intersections along
the ray's path with the mesh object referenced in the "obj" param.
If there are any intersections, it will return True, else False.
'''
mat = obj.matrix_local.inverted()
loc, normal, face_idx = obj.ray_cast(mat * ray_origin, mat * ray_destination)

return face_idx != -1

c = bpy.data.objects['Cube']
o = bpy.data.objects['Suzanne']

# Generate bmesh object from cube mesh data
bm = bmesh.new()
bm.from_mesh( c.data )

bm.edges.ensure_lookup_table() # Generates edge   index table
bm.verts.ensure_lookup_table() # Generates vertex index table

# Check if cube intersects with mesh
''' The intersection algorithm iterates over the cube's edges and uses
each edge's two vertices as ray casting origin and destination points.
In other words, a ray is cast from the first --> 2nd vert of each edge.
If the cube intersects with the object, one of the edges of this cube
must also intersect with the object, thus the cast ray will bump into
one of the object's faces.
'''

# Iterate over the cube's edges
for e in bm.edges:
# Find the global coordinates of each edge's two vertices
coos = [ c.matrix_world * v.co for v in e.verts ]

# Set these verts as ray casting origin and destination
ray_origin, ray_destination = coos

# Check whether this edge intersects with the object's mesh
intersectsMesh = check_raycast(ray_origin, ray_destination, o)
if intersectsMesh: break

# Check if cube center is inside the mesh volume
''' This test sends a ray from the cube's center (location) straight up,
towards an arbitrary point at XYZ 0,0,1000.
If the cube's center is within the mesh of the object, the ray will hit
the engulfing mesh somewhere along its way up, and the function will
return True.
'''
insideMesh = check_raycast( c.location, Vector( (0,0,1000) ),  o )

print( "Intersects: ", intersectsMesh )
print( "Inside Mesh: ", insideMesh )


If you want to discretize your entire mesh with this code, you can simply move the cube's location (for which bmesh.transform will prove useful) in each iteration until you fill the entire bounding box volume, or fill the volume with cubes then iterate over them (probably less efficient).

• thanks for your answer. Could give me link that describe in details the lagorithm used in this case? Also, I tried to execute your script and I have got an error AttributeError: 'BMEdgeSeq' object has no attribute 'ensure_lookup_table' Error: Python script fail – BetterEnglish Dec 15 '15 at 16:36
• @startingBlender, what version of blender are you using? This function wasn't available or required in older API versions. I edited the code above to add comments which explain the algorithm. – TLousky Dec 15 '15 at 17:01
• I am using the version 2.72b – BetterEnglish Dec 15 '15 at 17:29
• Can you check my solution please? – BetterEnglish Dec 16 '15 at 17:22
• Hope to get to this tomorrow, sorry – TLousky Dec 16 '15 at 21:09