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Primal Pictures: Making of a 3D Digital Model

Since 1991, we have pioneered creating and developing the world’s most medically accurate and detailed 3D digital anatomy solutions.

Real Data, Real Anatomy

Our model is made from real CT cadaveric scans acquired from the NLM Visible Human Project (VHP). All our 3D anatomy content that we create, and you see, is both an accurate explanation of the 3D structure of the human body, and authentic. So authentic in fact, that there are one or two anatomical quirks we have kept within our 3D digital model to show normal anatomic variation. These include a U-shaped transverse colon and an enlarged liver.

The outstanding detail and accuracy in our model are derived from the data set for the Visible Human Female, which contains over 5,189 anatomical images. The exception, of course, is the male pelvis, which we built on the data for the Visible Human Male.

3D Reconstruction: Why We Did It

When we began, over 27 years ago, flat 2D textbook images were the number one learning aid and computers were bulky, pricey and low on processing power. What’s more, for the average consumer, even dial up modem-based internet access was a technology of the future. In fact, when we first started out, all our 3D interactive content was delivered pre-pressed on CD-ROM via the postal service!

The Primal model was born out of a need for clinicians to have a 3D anatomical reference to be used alongside imaging and help visualize 3D scenarios. There was nothing like this on the market. Catering for this market meant accuracy was paramount and the standard expected was that of excellence – Primal’s number one value.

Soon it was evident that it was not only clinicians that needed reference tools in 3D but students too, as being able to visualize structures and spatial relationships in 3D is a difficult skill to acquire and learn. We created a model in so much detail, with a little tailoring, it had the capability to become not only a resource for clinicians and practitioners at the pinnacle of their careers, but also for students, where every career begins. That is why we have made it our mission to support every stage of the learning process.

3D Reconstruction: How We Did it

The original 3D modeling process was painstaking. It involved taking CT slices of the female VHP cadaver, outlining thousands of individual tissues and structures by hand, and tracking the contours of each anatomical feature through successive layers. This enabled us to create a wire-frame 3D model for each anatomical structure, which we built stage by stage into an accurate CAD-CAM model of the complete anatomy.

Working together, anatomists and graphic artists then added textures and colors to flesh out the model and create shadow and depth. This was supplemented by integrating functional animation data taken from a Primal employee as we put him through his paces running, jumping and doing sit ups.

Our 3D Digital Model Today

Having built our model in such detail, our inhouse team of anatomists and graphic artists makes it possible to customize the model and add further detail for different specialties.

As we constantly refine our quality of content across mobile and online platforms, we bring you the latest technological advances to give you the best user experience.

Our model may be 27 years old, but it never dates. Today, our web-based solutions can be accessed by users anytime, anywhere on desktop, laptop and tablet devices.

Our expert team of anatomists and graphic artists still works tirelessly to segment imaging data, research, and bring you the most amazing 3D multi-layer anatomy resources. Plus, just like when we first started out, all our content is further peer-reviewed by leading anatomists and subject matter experts worldwide, to ensure the highest level of accuracy, reflecting current knowledge.

Taking 3D Digital Anatomy into the Future

We’ve come a long way since all our content was delivered on CD-ROM. Today, we continue to shape the future of 3D digital anatomy, partnering with immersive, augmented and 3D printing technologies to enrich learning, teaching and course-building, and with clinical workflow and surgical treatment platforms to improve patient care and outcomes.

Our 3D model was trailblazing in 1991, and we have no plans to stop. Our path is still to ignite inspiration and empower our customers. We would love you to join us on our journey.