Options for editing 3D Model

Currently, I take a 3D model, export the OBJ file, import it into SketchFab, and make various adjustments like adding annotations, moving the camera around etc.

I am wondering what software is needed to actually edit the 3D model from the exported OBJ file that DroneDeploy generates. Is this possible? My goal is to be able to cut elements out of a model.

My general sense is that this is not possible for the same type of reason that a complied program cannot be decompiled, or that a hashed value cannot be unhashed. When I look at the decimated objects in the OBJ export, I get the sense that an operation has been completed that requires a source file for editing.

If I am correct, that would suggest that I need a separate tool to create the 3D model from the images and allow edits before an export.

Can anyone confirm if my logic is correct?

Hi @htm2112, great question. I need to check with my teammates here at DroneDeploy to see what advice and information we can give you. In the mean time, I’d also love to hear from other community members about their workflows and what works for them!


No, you can edit it. The .obj file is a standard format used across 3D graphics programs.
Importing it into Meshlab or Blender (both free) will allow you to edit it and re-export it.

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I import the .OBJ file into Rhino 6 as a mesh and can do cutouts using my interactive Python script. I also generate 3D contour maps, 3D elevation maps, 3D slope maps, 2D profile curves (like in DroneDeploy but with more details), 3D area & 2D area and volume measurements. If you have Rhino (costs 1K from McNeel), I can send you my Python script to try out. I think its maps are 2X better than those you see in DD and have more coloring options. Plus you can generate results beyond what you get with a Pro plan.

I attached some examples below. These are focused on extracting quantitative information from the 3D model so no textures are shown.






Hi, @htm2112 — these are some great answers that our community members have chimed in with! Do their replies answer your questions? I’m actually learning a lot about this myself, as a newer member of the DroneDeploy team. Let me know if you would still like me to look into this further, or if you have the answers you need now. :slight_smile:


Great information! I was able to use Meshlab to make the edit I was looking for. The solution with Rhino is much more involved, but is sure to help others. Thanks so much for posting that. I’m sure it will be a valuable resource for those who search this topic.

If you want to go crazy in a 3D world, you can import .obj into Epic Unreal Engine for VR simulation. It’s free. The learning curve is rather steep but amazing.