3D Bones

3-D Virtual Reality images are created by photographing objects or areas of interest from various perspectives (generally 20-30 photos are used for planar movies). The resulting images are then welded into a single Quicktime file. These representations can be created to run automatically as in the specimen shown below, or can respond to the user’s mouse actions by rotating in one or more planes.

Dromeosaur Tooth

This is a delightful rotating tooth, for your enjoyment. Notice how, as the tooth rotates, one is able to see it from different angles. Also notice that the tooth is no longer in the mouth of a living dinosaur.

True 3-D images will enable the observer to see the entire image from all perspectives. Examples of multiplanar movement on this site are found in the 3-D images of the Dig Site, the Prep Lab and the  Fossil Repository. These were created from over 140 images each, that were welded into panoramas using special software and then made into 3-D movies using other software.

Nearly all of the bone images are single planar object movies created by taking 32 images as the specimen rotates in a single plane. These images are modified by cropping and adding in an appropriately-sized scale bar and then forming the 3-D object movie from the resultant images. You can see 3-D images of ten of our most popular bones by clicking here.

With the advent of Virtual Reality 3-D object movies of specimens, an investigator may observe an object of interest from many different perspectives in a single image presentation. In some cases, this may reduce the need to have the bone shipped to the scientist or minimize travel to the Museum to study the bones in person, for some types of questions. In all cases, having 3-D images yields more realistic images and gives the observer a sense of having handled the bone without any possibility of damage to the specimen.

The apparatus we developed to produce the object movies (actually, the 32 photographs that make up the 3-D object movie) was designed and constructed by Dr. Daryl Thomas of the Computer Science Department at Southwestern Adventist University. You can learn more about the apparatus we use by choosing “Rotating Table” from the menu at left.

You can choose to watch an object movie of the process of generating photos for an object movie of a large bone by choosing the “Making 3D Images ” in the menu at upper left of this frame.

If the movies do not display correctly for you, select “Help” in the menu above.

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