By Astrid Bina – January 16th 2020

If you have seen our previous post (if not, check it out here!), you’d see that we recently paid a visit to the Cumberland Campus of Sydney University. On there, we did CT scans on some of Haswell Museum’s specimens. This post documents the next step to rendering CT scans.

At the end of that day, we were then given a directory of files. This massive directory (about 3 GB in total!) contains what’s known as DICOM files, which are the images produced from CT scans. However, DICOM files are not like your regular .jpg or .png files – you need specific software to open them. RadiAnt is one software to view medical images such as CT scans. RadiAnt offers a 3 month trial, but requires a license afterwards. Alternatively, PostDICOM viewer, a free online website, is a good option for smaller DICOM directories.

Now, you may be wondering, how do you even generate 3D models from all those files?

Props to the wonderful developers of these software!

Well, worry not, because there are amazing programs that anyone can use to produce models from the scans. These software are Horos (for Mac only) and 3DSlicer (for Windows, Mac, and Linux), and guess what: they’re both free!

Plus, working with these software is (surprisingly) quite simple. All you need to do is import some DICOM files and the software will do all the rendering for you! But of course, the final product wouldn’t be as clean as you would expect. We needed to customize the parameters (we did a lot of trial and error!) and did quite a bit of cropping so that the final 3D models were just right.

Using Horos and 3DSlicer, we managed to generate pretty high-quality models. Unlike ones from photogrammetry, these 3D models have no texture. However, they are of higher resolution and are far more detailed.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we generated:

CT scan of wombat cranium on University of Sydney’s Pedestal3D.

If you are already itching to see more models, you’re in luck: we have uploaded some of our CT scan-generated models (and more) on!

A snapshot of the Pedestal3D gallery.

We will also add some more in the near future, so stay tuned for more updates on Pedestal3D!