MeshLab is intended for processing 3D triangular meshes. In this regard, the application supports editing, cleaning, fixing, inspecting and converting meshes, irrespective of their complexity. Unfortunately, due to its many features and those difficulties inherent to working with complex 3D volumes, MeshLab has a steep learning curve. So, the availability of various tutorial videos and sample meshes is very appreciated, even more, because the help documentation is so deficient.
The application’s interface is quite straightforward in terms of layout. Most of the window is devoted to visualizing the meshes, while there is also a toolbar as well as a right-side pane to adjust object properties. However, the real power of the tool is hidden in the menu, particularly the one giving access to filters.
Among the tools you can use to edit meshes, some of the most convenient ones are the Arc3D Importer, the Quality Mapper and the Texture Parametrization. Similarly, the app supports multiple rendering modes, such as wireframe, flat lines and bounding box. Besides, you can toggle on or off other elements, like box corners, curvature controls, cameras and labels.
As said, the best advantage of the tool is the large collection of filters. In this respect, you can find filters to clean meshes automatically by removing duplicated and unreferenced vertices, non-manifold edges and null faces. Likewise, you can use remeshing filters to simplify meshes and reconstruct surfaces, for instance. Moreover, there are smoothing filters, which allow removing noise from surfaces. Regrettably, some of the filters cause crashes.
Good news is Meshlab supports importing and exporting multiple formats, including PLY, STL, OFF, OBJ, 3DS, VRML 2.0, X3D and COLLADA, which not only favors sharing files between applications but also allows using the tool as a format converter.
All in all, Meshlab is recommended for working with 3D meshes. Thus, it may come in handy for scholars and researchers working on such fields as paleontology, forensics, orthopedics, orthodontics and prototyping, to mention but a few. Finally, another advantage of this tool is that it is available at no cost, which makes it ideal for budget projects.
- Videos and sample meshes available
- Large collection of filters
- Very convenient tools
- Support of multiple formats
- Various rendering modes
- Poor help documentation
- Some filters may cause the app to crash