VRML Models from The World of Water
exhibit produced by the Bureau of Economic Geology

Texas Blind Catfish

Two Texas blind catfish specimens were used for a 3D animation in World of Water exhibit at Witte Museum.   In order to capture 3D information, Dr. Susan Hovorka and Dr. Dean Hendrickson arranged two specimens to be X-ray scanned using Computed Axial Tomography at the High Resolution X-ray CT facility at the University of Texas.   The two specimens that were scanned were Trogloglanis pattersoni and Satan eurystomus; both species are found naturally in the Edwards Aquifer in the San Antonio area.   The specimens are part of the Texas Memorial Museum collections at the University of Texas.   Both specimens were mounted on a wet sponge and X-ray CAT scanned simultaneously by Dr. Julian Humphries.   Two scans were done, a low resolution scan and a high resolution scan.   For the World of Water, exhibit only the low resolution scan was used.   The X-ray scanner generated a stack of parallel 2D images that formed a 3D block volume.   The 2D images were processed by Reuben Reyes to create 3D models.   Using 3D software, the two specimens were digitally separated.   Each specimen was digitally retouched due to data loss in the thinner areas of the fins and whiskers.   The sponge that the specimens laid on was also digitally removed.   The specimens were laid out very well for the X-ray scan but the orientation of both were curled so that both would fit in the circular X-ray scanning window.   The goal for the World of Water exhibit was to make the two 3D models digitally swim and move realistically for an animation, in order to do this both 3D models were digitally straightened out so that the spine was straight and not curved.   Once the specimens were straight, a tail movement and fish swim movement were added digitally.   This movement can be seen in the VRML models and were also used to make the animations for the World of Water exhibit using 3D Studio Max.   Color was added to the skin surface from photographs of both species to give a more realistic rendering.   In the final render of the animation, the skin color was made to look bluer to match the water color in the animation.   The VRML models on this page were reduced in size using a facet reduction called decimation.   This was done so the 3D models would be easer to download and view but beware that the models are still large.   You will need a high speed connection, a fast graphics card and VRML plug-in to view.   Below are static and swimming 3D models of both Trogloglanis pattersoni and Satan eurystomus in VRML format.   Click on images to view VRML models.

Blindcats Trogloglanis
 Static Models
  Size 2301 Kb
  122485 facets

  Size 2435 Kb
  102834 facets
  Swimming Models  
  5965 Kb
  122485 facets

  8231 Kb
  102834 facets
  Common Name     Toothless

Bone Cave Harvestman

A 3D model was produced for the World of Water exhibit at the Witte Museum of Texella reyesi; commonly known as a Bone Cave Harvestman.   The 3D model of this species was made from several photographs of a Bone Cave Harvestman.   The 3D model was created using a text editor and a VRML viewer.   The ideal way to produce a 3D model would have been to have a 3D scan of a specimen, but at the time, that this project took place we did not have a specimen readily available.   Instead a 3D model was built by looking at pictures and using a best guess and artist creativity to put the model together.   The size of this species is typically 1/8 inches (1.4 to 2.7 millimeters).   They live in caves in moist areas and are found in the Edwards Plateau in Travis and Williamson counties, Texas.   Texella reyesi was listed as endangered in 1988.   This 3D VRML model was created by Reuben Reyes, and because it was made from photographs it is not as accurate as one from a 3D scanner.   Color was added to match the color from the photographs for the final 3D model.   Animation rendering was done in 3D Studio Max.

Texella reyesi
also known as Bone Cave Harvestman
Static model (file size 217 Kb, 6378 facets)

Earth and Sun

The final product of the World of Water project was an animation; it starts and ends with a view from space of the Earth and Sun.   The Earth was created with digital elevation maps from USGS and the color or texture was from NASA satellite images.   The Earth VRML model on this page is a simple version of Earth the actual version used was very large and complex.   The complex version of Earth contained 4 levels of detail for a zoom into central Texas.   The Sun was made with perlin noise to simulate the surface texture of the Sun.   To simulate the Sun surface three spheres were used, each with a different perlin noise pattern.   Each sphere was of a different size and was texture mapped as semi-transparent.   The spheres each with perlin noise and semi-transparency were then set in motion.   This was to give the illusion of a volatile moving surface.   The outer most sphere was set to rotate via the x axis, the middle sphere was set to rotate via the y axis, and the inner sphere was set to rotate via the z axis.   A program was written to create the spheres of the Earth model with elevation and of the Sun model.   The program also had an option to include the texture maps.   Programming and VRML models of the Earth and Sun were produced by Reuben Reyes.   Other VRML models of the Solar System made with the same program can be found at VRML Models of the Solar System .   Click on images below to view VRML models.

  The Earth.
  129,600 facets : File 1,999 KB.

  The Sun.
  24,300 facets : File 314 KB.

How to view VRML models?
You will need a VRML viewer or VRML client for your web browser in order to view VRML models, here are a few that are free.   For Windows use Cortona, Blaxxum, Octaga or Cosmo.   For Mac OS X use Cortona.   For SGI Irix use Cosmo and for Linux use Octaga.


3D Viewer



Last update: Saturday, 20-Aug-2005 10:15:07 CDT
Web by Reuben Reyes