Thursday, March 10th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

3Dflow ships 3DF Zephyr 6.5

Originally posted on 15 June 2022. Scroll down for news of the 3DF Zephyr 6.5 update.

3Dflow has released 3DF Zephyr 6.0, the latest version of its image-based modelling software.

The update adds a new Volume of Interest system to help visualise very large data sets interactively, a new modular save structure, a Python console, and support for the Alembic file format.

New features for working with very large scan data sets
3DF Zephyr 6.0 introduces a number of structural changes intended to make it easier to manipulate the huge datasets that photogrammetry can generate, particularly when scanning environments.

The experimental new ‘Volume of Interest’ (VOI) system works like a 3D version of a render region system, enabling users to set a clipping volume inside which data is displayed.

Parts of the mesh or point cloud outside the volume are not displayed in the viewport, improving interactive performance, although the rest of the data is still there.

Any filter applied while the VOI is set is only applied to the visible part of the data set.

In addition, project files are now organised modularly, with point clouds, meshes and textured meshes now only being loaded on demand, resulting in “dramatic” reductions in load and save times.

3DF Scarlet, the new standalone edition of the software for registering laser scan data, gets “non-blocking” rendering, intended to improve interactivity within the software.

Users can also perform basic pre-processing on a data set to reduce its density, including culling points outside a given range, or setting a maximum value for the number of points in a scan.

New Python console, better marker detection, and support for more 3D file formats
Other changes include a new Python console, supplementing the existing batching tool, intended to enable users to automate a broader range of repetitive tasks.

The tracking marker detection system has also been extended, with users now able to roughly marquee-select a marker in an image and have 3DF Zephyr automatically identify its centre.

The system also works for the spherical markers used in forensic reconstructions.

In addition, the software’s underlying photoconsistency and multiview stereo algorithms have been updated, the latter resulting in the recovery of more fine details in the 3D meshes generated.

You can see a before-and-after comparison in this blog post.

Other changes include a new hole-filling filter for meshes, the option to import or export data in Alembic (ABC) format, and a number of new export formats, including 3MF and DXF meshes.

Updated 10 March 2022: 3Dflow has released 3DF Zephyr 6.5.

The update integrates ArtEngine, making it possible for users with licences for Unity’s AI-based texture-processing tool to use it directly inside 3DF Zephyr.

Other new features include an Orthophoto Editor, making it possible to edit and recompute specific regions of orthophotos: the video above shows it in use to edit out a car.

There is also a new wizard-driven system for creating camera animations like flythroughs to display 3D scans.

Changes to existing features include a new preset for vertical structures in 3DF Zephyr’s Structure From Motion system, intended to improve the speed and accuracy with which it recreates objects like skyscrapers.

There are also a number of other performance and workflow improvements, plus the option to export scans in USD format for use in VFX or game development pipelines.

Pricing and availability
3DF Zephyr 6.5 is available for 64-bit Windows 8+. The software is CUDA-based, so to make use of its GPU-accelerated features, you need a suitable Nvidia graphics card.

The free version includes a basic range of tools, works with up to 50 source images or video frames, and runs on a single GPU; the $169 Lite edition supports up to 500 source images and two GPUs.

The full edition supports unlimited source images and multiple GPUs, and adds advanced features, including 3DF Scarlet. A perpetual licence costs $4,600, up $400 from version 5.0; subscription costs $290/month.

Read more about the new features in 3DF Zephyr on 3Dflow’s blog