3D rendering software solutions

Computed tomography, or CT, is a scanning technology that uses X-rays to create images of the inside of an object; it is widely used in hospitals for diagnosing internal injuries and diseases. CT is a powerful technique, which is capable of producing images cheaply and quickly, usually without causing any damage to the original sample. This means that it has many applications outside of hospitals, including the study of fossils in amber(i.e. modern palaeontology). Medical scanners use low-energy X-rays and short exposure times to reduce the amount of radiation a patient receives, but non-medical (industrial) CT is not restricted in this way (when applied to inanimate objects like fossils). Therefore, such systems can penetrate dense layers of amber and generate very high-resolution images, resolving details less than one-hundredth of a millimetre in size. CT scans can be reconstructed into 3d objects and here at AAKZ we offer STL, NRRD and UVF files, we may start offering DICOMS too for all our vertebrate fossils. If you cannot see the fossil or file format you require listed here please feel free to contact us.

AAKZ has tested dozens of rendering softwares and we discovered that most of them were either more suited to medical research than scientific research or they were far too awkward or restrictive. There are Open Source free rendering software solutions that are far more efficent and practical producing superb results. All the softwares needed to do rendering and ray-casting are already prebundled in many Linux installations like Debian. If you would like a painless render without loss then we recommend the following flow:
1) Import your stack of raw images, these could be BMPs or TIFFs and when scanners give you the option we prefer to use TIFFs and this stack is converted into an NRRD file using ImageJ https://imagej.net/. An NRRD file is nearly raw raster data and so your data is stacked in a 3d volume without any compression or loss of data, this is very important with scientific research and so it is always our first step in creating a volume to be rendered.
2) FIJI is our second program in most workflows and ironically FIJI is simply ImageJ plus a load of bundled plugins, the name FIJI is supposedly derived from F' It's Just ImageJ using FIJI we can import now import the NRRD and it will be automatically saved as a UVF file that can be rendered and exported in a multitude of formats.<3>If we wish to do advanced rendering or ray-casting we then import the UVF generated by FIJI into ImageVis3D where you have unlimited rendering power using computer resources intelligently. These 3 programs are the core of numerous massive buggy chuggy bloatware expensive softwares that force the need for better hardware. By using these programs that are free the entire process is far faster and much smoother. Using this flow you can render happily with bulkier programs if you do not have a very powerful computer you will be lured in to using Cloud services which considering the large amounts of bandwidth consumed as well as security of data it is far better to use these simple tools.

Researching ambers does not have to be expensive and throughout this website there are numerous tips and pieces of advice that are useful to collectors and scientists alike. Many simple cheap solutions can be implemented without sacrificing quality, if there is a research aspect that we have not answered then please feel free to let us know and we shall endeavor to help whenever possible, if you have any interesting solutions that you would like to share with is then of course we are always glad to hear from you too.