Abstract Glass Building

3D Modeling

All models below are by The Digital Archive of Natural History and are licensed under CC BY 4.0.  They are shown to represent the unique possibilities of 3d Modeling in insect digitization.

Evolving to 3D

Images of pinned insects are not only useful for extracting label information but also provide a wealth of morphological information. Entomologists increasingly rely on 2D imagery for morphological analysis, utilizing landmarks or shape-based approaches, yet these approaches result in substantial loss of information when applied to three-dimensional structures, thereby limiting our ability to thoroughly characterize specimens and their traits.


Generating natural-color, 3D representations of biological specimens is a holy grail of specimen digitization. Techniques such as X-ray computed tomography, revolving SEM, laser scanning and photogrammetry have proven useful for capturing the 3D structure of insect specimens, yet little progress has been made implementing robust, production-level methodologies for 3D data capture at scale. Overall, insects comprise a mere 0.3% of the 3D data available in online data repositories such as DigiMorph and MorphoSource.