Read or Write a PLY File

PLY_IO is a MATLAB library which reads or writes data describing a polygonal mesh in a PLY file.

A PLY file contains a sophisticated data structure describing a polygonal surface. A triangulated mesh is a very simply case of such a surface; a PLY file can also describe a mesh surface involving higher order polygons, and it can contain auxilliary information about normal vectors and so on.

A TRI_MESH or triangulated mesh surface, is described by a pair of arrays:


The computer code and data files described and made available on this web page are distributed under the GNU LGPL license.


PLY_IO is available in a C version and a MATLAB version,

Related Data and Programs:

BEZIER_SURFACE_DISPLAY, a MATLAB program which reads two files defining a Bezier surface and displays it.

FEM_BASIS_T3_DISPLAY, a MATLAB program which displays a basis function associated with a linear triangle ("T3") mesh.

FEM_BASIS_T6_DISPLAY, a MATLAB program which reads a quadratic triangle mesh and displays any associated basis function.

OBJ_TO_PLY, a C program which converts an Wavefront OBJ file to PLY format.

PLATO_PLY, a C program which creates a Platonic solid and writes it to an ASCII PLY file, by Greg Turk.

PLY, a data directory which contains a description and examples of PLY files.

PLY_DISPLAY, a MATLAB program which displays an image of a 3D graphics file in PLY format;

PLY_TO_IV, a C program which converts a PLY file to INVENTOR format.

PLY_TO_OBJ, a C program which reads a PLY 3D graphics file and writes an equivalent OBJ graphics file.

POLYGONAL_SURFACE, a data directory which contains examples of polygonal surface files.

STLA_DISPLAY, a MATLAB program which reads an ASCII STL file and displays it.

TRIANGULATION_DISPLAY_OPENGL, a C++ program which reads files defining a triangulation and displays an image using OpenGL.


The original versions of the files PLY_READ.M. PLY_WRITE.M and PLY_TO_TRI_MESH.M were created by Pascal Getreuer.

Source Code:

Examples and Tests:

You can go up one level to the MATLAB source codes.

Last revised on 25 June 2007.