Foundations and guidelines for high-quality three-dimensional models using photogrammetry: A technical note on the future of neuroanatomy education

André de Sá Braga de Oliveira, Luciano César P.C. Leonel, Edward R. LaHood, Hana Hallak, Michael J. Link, Joseph J. Maleszewski, Carlos D. Pinheiro-Neto, Jonathan M. Morris, Maria Peris-Celda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hands-on dissections using cadaveric tissues for neuroanatomical education are not easily available in many educational institutions due to financial, safety, and ethical factors. Supplementary pedagogical tools, for instance, 3D models of anatomical specimens acquired with photogrammetry are an efficient alternative to democratize the 3D anatomical data. The aim of this study was to describe a technical guideline for acquiring realistic 3D anatomic models with photogrammetry and to improve the teaching and learning process in neuroanatomy. Seven specimens with different sizes, cadaveric tissues, and textures were used to demonstrate the step-by-step instructions for specimen preparation, photogrammetry setup, post-processing, and display of the 3D model. The photogrammetry scanning consists of three cameras arranged vertically facing the specimen to be scanned. In order to optimize the scanning process and the acquisition of optimal images, high-quality 3D models require complex and challenging adjustments in the positioning of the specimens within the scanner, as well as adjustments of the turntable, custom specimen holders, cameras, lighting, computer hardware, and its software. MeshLab® software was used for editing the 3D model before exporting it to MedReality® (Thyng, Chicago, IL) and SketchFab® (Epic, Cary, NC) platforms. Both allow manipulation of the models using various angles and magnifications and are easily accessed using mobile, immersive, and personal computer devices free of charge for viewers. Photogrammetry scans offer a 360° view of the 3D models ubiquitously accessible on any device independent of operating system and should be considered as a tool to optimize and democratize the teaching of neuroanatomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • 3D surface scanning
  • anatomy
  • education
  • medical education
  • neuroanatomy
  • photogrammetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Embryology


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