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questions concerning the use of point clouds / data point sets in blender.

What is a point cloud?

A point cloud is a set of data points in some coordinate system.

These points are usually defined by X, Y, and Z coordinates in a 3D coordinate system. They are often intended to represent the external surface of an object (volumetric data).

Point clouds may be created by 3D scanners. These devices measure in an automatic way a large number of points on the surface of an object, and often output a point cloud as a data file. The point cloud represents the set of points that the device has measured.

Point clouds can be converted to polygon mesh or triangle mesh models, NURBS surface models, or CAD models through a process commonly referred to as surface reconstruction.[1]

Volume Rendering in Cycles

Rendering of volumetric data (point clouds) in Cycles will be available soon, hopefully in Blender 2.70.[2]