algorithmic modeling for Rhino



Volvox enables you to create, edit and analyze Point Cloud data. You can download it from food4Rhino.

The plugin is developed in the frame of the DURAARK project:

DURAARK (Durable Architectural Knowledge) is a collaborative project developing methods and tools for the semantic enrichment and long-term preservation of architectural knowledge and data. It focuses on establishing working practices and links between semantically rich BIM models and unstructured Point Cloud data. It Is funded through the European Commision's FP7 Programme and is running between 02/2013 - 01/2016. (Grant Agreement no: 600908)

This plugin is developed as a part of DURAARK project at the Center for Information Technology and Architecture (CITA) by Henrik Leander Evers and Mateusz Zwierzycki.

Recommended downloads :

E57 Import for Rhino


If you use the tool and want to refer to us please to so by citing the summarizing paper of ours:

Zwierzycki, Mateusz, Evers, Henrik Leander and Tamke, Martin (2016) Parametric Architectural Design with Point-clouds – Volvox. In Herneoja, Aulikki; Toni Österlund and Piia Markkanen (eds.), Complexity & Simplicity - Proceedings of the 34th eCAADe Conference - Volume 2, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland, 22-26 August 2016, pp. 673-682

The paper is open access

Location: Copenhagen
Members: 108
Latest Activity: Oct 9


Discussion Forum

cull cloud deletes user keys?

Not sure if this is a limitation or a bug..…Continue

Tags: cull, keys, volvox

Started by Vongsawat Wongkijjalerd Oct 6.

Point Set Deviation Procedure 1 Reply

Hi, I am new to using Volvox in grasshopper. I am trying to replicate the Point Set Deviation command found in Rhino. Would anyone be able to guide me on a procedure for this? I found an example of…Continue

Started by Christopher Rausch. Last reply by Christopher Rausch Jun 23.

Rhino 6 WIP and Volox Systematic Crash 3 Replies

Hi there,Very new to the point cloud technology. I'm tryng to load a e57 file via volox. when the engin x starts Rhino crash no matter what.Any Idea on this issueThank you allContinue

Started by Claudio. Last reply by Claudio Mar 30.

Data Trees 4 Replies

Hi,another question. After trying 10 different methods to have one engine perform different operations on a list of clouds, my collogue - who visited your last workshop in Zurich - told me, it´s not…Continue

Tags: engine, trees, data, volvox

Started by phillip. Last reply by phillip Dec 2, 2016.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Vongsawat Wongkijjalerd on October 9, 2017 at 11:05pm

Hey, not sure if its a limitation or a bug,
But I added a bunch of user keys to a point cloud, culled it according to one of the keys, and found out the culling component had deleted all the other keys as well..

Comment by Zeynep Aksoz on September 12, 2017 at 4:05am

Thank you mateusz this was really helpful!

Comment by Mateusz Zwierzycki on September 8, 2017 at 5:39am

@Zeynep - hey, the Mesh Compare component will compute signed distance values for each point in the point cloud. Negative distance means the point is inside the mesh, positive is outside. 

Comment by Zeynep Aksoz on September 7, 2017 at 6:50am

Hello Mateusz,

I am trying to find out the points within a cloud which are also included in a mesh in the same cloud. I am using the mesh include but than I get again a cloud, but I rather need a list of trues and falses as in mesh inclusion component in grasshopper. I dont want to convert the cloud since it is too cumbersome. So is there a possibility to get the indices of the points in the subcloud or getting a list of trues and falses? Thank you in advance

Comment by AJ on August 22, 2017 at 4:28am


Mateusz, im sure you are buzy with OBJECT right now, so when everyou have the time can you explain more about :

keys > how do they work  (this info is from the heart example)

meaning: in your example file you use key name (such as my : MyEquation )

then you use Equation > (x^2 + (9*y^2)/4 + z^2 - 1)^3 - x^2*z^3 -((9*(y^2)*(z^3))/80)

where do you find all those goodies ?? all those expressions and equations


Comment by Martin Tamke on August 23, 2016 at 2:12am

We are organising a Volvox related workshop in the frame of the Advances in Architectural Geometry conference at ETH Zurich from 9-13. September 2016.

Some seats are still available for the workshop 10 "Scripting Reality – Integrating 3D Point Clouds in parametric design workflows"

This research-based workshop will introduce participants to thegeometrical class of point clouds and ways to handle, manipulate, analyse and script with them. Participants will as well have the chance to get first-hand knowledge in the handling of 3d capturing devices and to link their outputs directly into a design environment.

The workshop poses especially the question of how changes on architectural scale can be tracked over time. Related algorithmic concepts and the Volvox plugin, allow for the first time to directly access and manipulate point clouds in a parametric design environment, will be introduced to the workshop participants. A 1:1 experiment on the ETH campus will provide a testbed. Participants will learn point cloud processing and learn to track objects solely on the base of point cloud analysis, find deviations against the planned and visualise the results.

The workshop is led by Mateusz Zwierzycki, Martin Tamke and Henrik Leander Evers. FARO provides several 3d scanners with helical adapters and acccess to the FARO SDK for the workshop. The workshop is modestly priced with 160CHF.

register now.


Comment by Martin Tamke on February 21, 2016 at 7:31am

The ability of Volvox to extract only the Scanner positions (poses) from Point Clouds in E57 format provides new efficient ways of handling large Scans of buildings. This, as one is typically only interested in a certain area or floor of a scanned building.

Having access to the Scan positions, without the need to load tens of Gigabytes, allows to quickly select and import only scans in a certain height and range.

Here a small GH definition, which uses the A-House Scan June E57 file from (10.4GB in size, 16 scans covering two levels) The GH definition allows to select and subsequently import:

a) only scans from a certain range in height - lower scans


b) only scans in a certain range in XYZ direction

The definition is not very sophisticated, but demonstrates how Volvox and Point Clouds can integrate into Grasshopper workflows. The GH definition can be found   here

The scan can be directly downloaded from here

Here a full view on the A-house scan with 8% of points loaded:

Comment by Nick Tyrer on January 19, 2016 at 10:30am

Hey Mateusz,

I'm new to point clouds, so I'm not sure if my problem is with Volvox or just... general incompetence..

I'm attempting to convert a pointcloud I've been given into a mesh (I specifically need the very uneven floor). Its a Rhino Point cloud, and 30+mill points.

My first approach i'm attempting to utilise volvox to remove most of the unwanted data from pointcloud, (walls, columns etc) Then explore some different meshing techniques to generate appropriate floor mesh.

Does that sound sensible to you?

Comment by ng5 Alex on September 8, 2015 at 11:52am

Hello machinestories,

using .ply format rhino opens this point cloud without problems. it has point, normal and color information. then using this c# script by david rutten this point cloud gets referenced to grasshopper (4.8 minutes needed in my pc). problem is that it outputs no normals (dont speak c# to pinpoint the problem).

then provided that the preview of the points is off i managed to work in grasshopper with 30million points.



Comment by machinehistories on September 8, 2015 at 10:48am

This sounds great. We had a recent project with 20 million points in e57 format. We ended up using cloudcompare which was a very good opensource tool. There is an e57 import plugin for rhino but it would just crash on import. Using cloudcompare I had to decimate the cloud quite a bit to bring it into rhino. Do you have any idea of what the point count limits are in rhino. Looking forward to having these capabilities in GH.


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