Some colleagues who have no experiece with ply files had some difficulties reading/writing the files. Here is the ply IO code I used. It was cropped from my research code and not compilable by itself, but I hope it would be helpful.
These meshes are generated using the method described in the paper: "Spacetime Faces: High-resolution capture for modeling and animation" by Li Zhang, Noah Snavely, Brian Curless, and Steve Seitz, presented in ACM SIGGRAPH 2004. We will try to keep updating this website and provide more and better data, as our research progresses.
Please be sure to acknowledge the University of Washington Graphics and Imaging Laboratory when using this data. You are welcome to use the data for research purposes. It is not to be used for commercial purposes, nor should it appear in a product for sale without our permission.