Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Facial reconstruction of a Neanderthal

I already reconstructed some faces using skull of ancient people, but I always had the tissue depth of modern measurements to help me make this.

This time I choosed reconstruct a neanderthal man, using only the facial musculature how reference.

I used the coordinates of Manchester method shown in Caroline Wilkinson's book called "Forensic Facial Reconstruction". But, like I wrote, I haven't used the tissue depth markers. The reason is obvious... It's impossible to obtain this data, because we don't have any Homo neanderthalensis alive.

The Process

I tried to find some CT-scan of a neanderthal Skull, but I found only one. And it was not compatible with my software:

I tested more than twenty CT-scan software to convert the INR file in a mesh. Unfortunatelly I didn't get this time.

After I tried to use SfM to reconstruct using sequence of images, videos and other ways. But all in vain, like you can see in my attempts album:

To obtain a answer about CT-Scan I sent more than thirty e-mails to scientists, students and institutes asking about neanderthal skulls. But no one could help me.

In vain, I spent a lot of days trying , until deduce that I should to model the skull from scratch, even this being not the most accurate way to obtain the data.

First of all, I found a good skull references here:

So, the skull was modelled in Blender.

After, the muscles was placed, using a technology called metabals.

The skin over the muscles.

Obs.: Note that I put the eyes with blue color. My friend called Moacir Elias Santos, a brazilian archaeologist told me that the blue eyes is a genetic mutation that has not happened with Neanderthals, like you can see in these articles (thanks Moacir!):


The UV Mapping (texturing).

The first rendering... with right eye color.

The hair setup.

And the final results.

All the modelling was made with free software. I used:

Blender to model
Gimp to help with the textures
Inkscape to organize the references
All running under Linux Ubuntu.

I gave a image to Wikipedia, like you can see in these links:

The process was fun. The main goal was modelling all in a few hours with quality and precision... at least the possible precision.

I need to thank the Arc-Team for motivating me to write this article with my bad English.

I hope you enjoyed it. A big hug and see you the next article.
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