The first step in building a three-dimensional (3D) model of a fossil is to digitize the object. We are using a high-speed and high-accuracy laser scanner (Minolta Vivid 910), which not only samples the fossil with high precision, but also provides rich color information. Due to its light weight (11kg), the 3D scanner can travel with us to other collections.
The raw 3D scan data need to be processed to produce a complete surface model of the fossil. The crucial step is to accurately merge the individual scans into a single mesh. Most of our processing is done in Raindrop Geomagic Studio, but we have also used Rapidform.
For research purposes we keep high resolution 3D data, but for data exchange via the web we reduce the filesize – this guarantees fast and smooth loading of the 3D objects.
Rapidform offers a 3D compression and publishing tool using ICF (INUS Compression Format). The two other file formats we are providing, Wirefusion (WF) and 3D Compression (3DC), are based on VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language). 3DC files do not preserve the vertex colors of VRML files, leaving fossil images monotone.
Feel free to contact us if you would like to receive more details about our procedures. Email.