Our good friend and a smart innovative marine scientist Sly Lee of The HYDROUS had a nice online piece covering his work in Wetpixel.com. Sly uses Autodesk Memento to generate 3D textured models of coral from photos he and teams take underwater in coral reef locations around the world.
The ability to document a coral in 3D with textures is far more rich than 2D underwater sketching or 2D photos. The 3D models in addition to looking amazing and artistic generates a rich amount of accurate geometric and volumetric data so you can track growth or unfortunately the deterioration of coral colonies due to several environmental factors in our oceans. This is one of those practical applications of photogrammetry where creating 3D models or scans protects and help preserve and better understand the ocean and coral.
I had the pleasure of joining him photographing coral specimens in the waters off Kalaupapa Molokai Hawaii last year. Our team spent many hours SCUBA diving upside down taking thousands of photos of coral dodging moray eels, sharks, and jellyfish in the interest of research. I hope to join Sly underwater again someday even willing to take a few more jelly fish and sponge stings in the interest of science and pushing the envelope of Autodesk technologies.
When you have the 3D models you can also 3D print the coral which are amazing to see in person and are like an abstract art than anything. We printed this acropora genus of coral model from Palau on an Objet printer in SF a couple weeks ago for the REAL2015 conference. Who knows, perhaps these amazing pieces of natures fractal art could help crowd fund the study of the coral reefs and their preservation.
We at Autodesk always say imagine, design, and create a better world and in this case it is to help preserve and leave a better world and ocean. Keep up the great work studying and preserving our coral reefs and oceans Sly!
(Fun Between the Lines Fact: This is my 1st blog post from my new office in Portland Oregon)