Research Update: completing the models
I am very excited to announce that I have completed another phase of my research! The last several months I have been digitally extracting, reconstructing, and performing retopology on the models of the forelimb bones. It took a bit longer than I thought, in part because it was difficult to differentiate the bone from the matrix in places, and in part because I was testing out a new method of retopology using the shrink-wrap tool. The biggest lesson I learned after this process was how important it is to be able to study the original model during the extraction process.
Below is a visual example of the digital reconstruction process. First the models were extracted from the CT data. The result was a model with a great deal of geometry. Next, I repaired breaks in the bone and smoothed the model where there were artifacts from the extraction process. To finish the models, I needed to create an identical model with a more manageable amount of geometry. This processes is called retopology. It took several tries to figure out the best way to go about the process, but it ended up being fairly quick. Basically, I started with a very low poly model around the original, shrink-wrapped it, increased and adjusted the geometry as needed, then shrink-wrapped again.
As exciting as it was to actually finish these models, it was way more exciting to get them rapid prototyped! They were printed out at a 5x scale so that I can physically manipulate them later during the animation phase.