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Editor’s Pick: Polygonal Mesh Library for Postprocessing 3D Scan Data

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

Geometric kernels are the heart of it all. Everything you do in your solid modeler, CAE, rendering, metrology software, and so on relies on the libraries of mathematical algorithms in its geometry kernel. It’s a shame that nobody really pays attention to the kernel in their 3D applications because it’s really big news when one gets upgraded. Actually, I’ll take that back. You’ll hear the news later when your 3D application developer rolls out a new version of its software, only chances are they’ll not note that spiffy new feature is courtesy of the kernel developer. Such is the quiet life of the kernel developer.

For 10 years now, Solid Modeling Solutions — SMS — has been developing high-end geometry processing methods. Its SMLib kernel, based on NURBS curves and surfaces combined with a fully functional non-manifold topological structure, is well regarded (the flexibility that comes with non-manifold topology and a line of data converters for manifold technology-based software will do that for your reputation). SMLib is the primary engine for a suite of geometry processing modules that extend its functionality for geometric processing required by animation, imaging, and other intense 3D applications. The latest of these is PolyMLib 2.0.

PolyMLib is a object-oriented toolkit that provides a set of tools to repair, optimize, review, and edit triangle mesh models. That is, PolyMLib makes the postprocessing of 3D scanning meshes better. And it’s more than just some tools to fix topological inconsistencies, rub out measurement noise, and reduce mesh complexity. PolyMLib has such functionality that helps you find and remove short edges, avoid self-intersections when repairing a hole, smooth and decimate a mesh, and visualize your scan with realistic materials. It has a deep, robust assortment of tools for mesh repair on the input side and for comparing, inspecting, and optimizing meshes on the output side. In short, PolyMLib is a high-end toolkit that makes scanning data cleanup, analysis, repair, optimization, and visualization happen the way you know it should. That’s why it’s big news when a geometric kernel developer comes out with a new version.

You can read more about PolyMLib 2.0 in today’s Pick of the Week write-up. But one last thing I want to say. I’m pretty sure that SMS is one of few independent kernel developers not owned by a major CAD/CAM outfit. That means that its entire focus is on researching and developing geometric processing functionality rather than this critical function being yet another product it works on. SMLib, PolyMLib, and the entire suite of SMS geometry processing modules are at the heart of such diverse applications as graphics design, optics, orthopedic implement design, game design, animation, and medical imaging. And, of course, reverse engineering. Check it out and see what’s coming in your favorite application before everyone else hears the big news.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood

Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering Magazine

UPDATE: A misstatement was clarified in the note above.

About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.
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