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Real-Time Visible Human Using GLSL Emulated Volumetrics


humanKai Kostack has recently posted an amazing video tour of the human body using Blender. The simulation is in real time and hasn't been possible until now, thanks to the latest GLSL features and speedups of Blender over the past year.

Just a quick warning:

Highly sensitive people should be aware that this video shows a cadaver and nudity before they click one of the following links.

Kai Kostack explains:

"In this demonstration you are about to see a little (10 minutes) tour through a real female human body (age 59) from the Visual Human Project. Everything is real-time recorded.

The shown "block" consists of 1746 x 570 x 666 cells in resolution. It's a plain stack of hundreds of planes each mapped with slice of the dataset. i have written a script to fully automate the process of conversion. It is rendered by a basic GeForce 8600 GT with 512 MB of video memory on top of a 2,4 GHz Quad-Core system with 4 GB of memory. "

And the process of acquiring the data for this 3D representation:

"From Wiki: The female cadaver was encased and frozen in a gelatin and water mixture in order to stabilize the specimen for cutting. The specimen was then “cut” in the axial plane at .33 millimeter intervals, resulting in some 40 gigabytes of data. The process of grinding the surface away is entirely destructive to the specimen and leaves no usable or preservable “slice” of the cadaver.
So yes, you better be dead to get a scan.

This is clearly a powerful and very interesting application of Blender, which could have many uses in the medical world. The full video can be downloaded, watched on Youtube or watched on Vimeo. Theres also a thread on Blenderartists for discussion and further information.


  1. Cood be rly good for alot of ppl to be able to view a bodie like this. I can imagen that it would be rly usefull for education purpose.

  2. thank God i'm not a doctor... and thank God there are some doctors out there! :-)
    anyway a lot of time has gone by from the age of leonardo!
    but... i didn't understand very well how did they do that... how to scan, how to put all in blender, what can do the script, etc.
    and why did they use just blender
    may be for o.s.? so that they can use it in a free way, modify, etc.?

    this function is very powerful, and i think it would be useful in the schools too
    but now i'm going to eat something and i can't stay here to look at the old lady
    rest in peace, my darling!

  3. simply amazing!
    that's something with really a great potential.
    similar visualizations since now were allowed only by high end equipments.

  4. HeatingFreezer on

    @Agile: Yes it is archaic, but there is not yet a method to show the different tissues in that "clarity".

    You can use an MRT/CRT, but that provides only B/W images colorized only by "density". After all it's just giant microtomy. So Yes again, archaic !!

  5. @stupiduser: actually, if this is like the first time I saw this, then it's quite grim.

    The man I saw, as far as I remember, was a man on death row who gave his body to science, though I can't be sure on that. It was a while ago!!

    Anyway, the froze him inside and out in this massive block of ice. Turned him upside down, then shaved, YEP SHAVED, micro layers off the block from the bottom up and scanned them.

    Then they arranged the layers in a computer and used volumetrics to render his entire body so you could scan through him at all angles.

    Although this is old tech, this is still impressive that it's done in Blender! And a sign of volumetrics (emulated or not) to come! Woot!

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