Forget Revit 2014, let’s talk about ReCap

As significant as the improvements to the Revit 2014 platform are, we are surprised to see so little talk about what we think is a much bigger announcement: the availability of ReCap Studio and ReCap Photo. This appears to be a by-product of Autodesk’s acquisition of Alice Labs and perhaps a development from 123d Catch.

I say perhaps because Autodesk is somewhat cryptic about ReCap Photo on their website, stating that it creates “…high-resolution textured 3D models from photos using the power of cloud computing.” However, their demo video shows what looks a lot like the manipulation of an actual point cloud. A tell-tale sign of this is the perfect circles around where the laser scanning equipment was placed for the scan. So really what is shown (a high degree of automation in model creation from a point cloud with colour indexed points) doesn’t match at all what the product description claims for either product  (Studio version – visualize, measure, edit point clouds; Photo version – take pictures, submit them to the cloud and get back a high density point cloud). Our assumption is that ReCap will do both of these things which really sets it apart from every other product as being the only one that supports both photogrammetry and point clouds, or perhaps more accurately: point clouds created from photogrammetry and laser scanning equipment.

Screen capture from ReCap demo video

In the demo video you see: 1) The ReCap environment navigating a point cloud and creating planes by simply selecting three points at known locations such as walls and floors. 2) Then inside Revit, add a wall and a door which they can see in context of the point cloud.  Note that 1 is not really related to 2… Are planes created in step 1 now available in Revit step 2? A small side note here that, Revit and AutoCAD products appear to have shifted from the traditional .PCG file to a highly compressed .RCP/.RCS – ReCap point cloud file format.

So, it really sparks the curiosity of whether or not this is the evolution of 123d Catch or not. Should the website description be accurate, we will all be able to at least test out this environment beginning April 12, 2013. The studio version should be available now, but at the time of posting, the link seems to redirect to the Autodesk App Exchange where we can find no trace of ReCap. *Update 3/29: Download link is now active (851MB).

Having played with 123d Catch for quite some time in an AEC environment, I am skeptical that you could get this accuracy in buildings, specially in the case of the demo video they show with blank walls. That is not to say that you couldn’t get something semi-useful, it would just have a few obvious points where the translation to a point cloud would fail or additional set up work would be necessary. Anyway, we’ll make sure to keep you posted as any news is made available.

Edwin Guerra

About

Edwin is a BIM Consultant focusing on Building Performance and Structural Design with Summit Technologies, a leading provider of BIM consulting services based in Vancouver, BC. Edwin’s extensive knowledge of Revit, Dynamo, Navisworks, Bluebeam, Ecotect, Green Building Studio and Autodesk Vasari, is complemented by a passion for Green Building Design.

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