Links to reduced Smithsonian models

Many people asked how to get the reduced models from Smithsonian collection.
We reduced some of them and uploaded to Vizup website. Each archive includes two or three decimated versions  (with 1 million, 500 thousand and 250 thousand triangles):

(c) The original 3D models are from Smithsonian 3D collection: Please see The Terms of Use.

Happy Holiday’s printing!

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Studying paleontology? Now you can 3D print your own mammoth!

Mammoth skeleton print on the Formlabs Form

Mammoth skeleton print on the Formlabs Form

At the recent SM 3D conference I was sitting next to a man who works for the Smithsonian, the world’s largest museum and research complex in Washington D.C.  He discussed their new theories about using 3D technology in education.

The Smithsonian galleries exhibit less than 1% of its collections at any given time.  But with the use of 3D technology, these collections can become more accessible, allowing the Smithsonian to use the internet to share 3D data that can be printed and viewed elsewhere. Now students can not only view the museum’s collections virtually, but they can also utilize the 3D viewing capability to go into more detail.  They can use datasets to create their own prints, mastering mathematical and technological skills along the way.   3D printing is a major motivational tool for teens, and can enhance classroom learning in many ways.  The Smithsonian has already released 3D models of some items from its collection, which can be downloaded from their website.

After the conference I met with a friend of mine, an avid 3D printing hobbyist.  As I expected, he leapt at the chance to try out his 3D printer on pieces from the Smithsonian collections.  Unfortunately, his Ultimaker Cura software couldn’t recognize a model file.

The problem with the Smithsonian’s models is that they are huge, ranging from 5 to 15 million triangles; not many 3D printing software programs could handle them.  Most consumer desktop 3D printers have a .1 mm resolution and a printable area of 5x5x5”, and cannot process models larger than 1 million triangles.  If you want to 3D print models using online 3D printing services, model size can be a problem, too.  Most of these services don’t allow uploads bigger than 500K triangles.

This problem can be easily remedied.  Vizup software can reduce the model’s polygon count up to 100 times, while keeping the visual quality.  The 3D model of Abraham Lincoln’s life mask was greatly reduced using Vizup Desktop, and then successfully printed-take a look!

Lincoln 3D modle

Lincoln life mask 3D model – original size

Lincoln 3d model

Lincoln life mask 3D model – reduced 10 times




If you are 3D junkie and want to print a 3D model which is too detailed for your 3D printer’s resolution, Vizup can surely help you, too.  Use our Vizup Desktop, or send us your model file to, and we’ll reduce it for $10-25/model. Happy 3D printing!

Credits: many thanks to Boris Rabinovich who influenced this post and provided photos.

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Pasturing a digital mammoth – Friday afternoon 3D fun

Our SketchFab friends introduced me to another very cool French start-up – Augment. This late Friday afternoon I gave it a try. I must admit – it was a lot of fun to play with the Augment app on my iPad and iPhone. And here is the result:


Full disclosure – I had to decimate the Smithsonian mammoth using our Vizup 3D optimization tools to fit into the Augment app.

The virtual Mammoth is here: Download the app, scan the bar code and have the mammoth in your room.

Or if you want to play with the mammoth by yourself, the reduced models are there:

Wooly Mammoth (c) Smithsonian X 3D

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Putting cutting edge 3D technologies into a single pipeline

How would you put several modern 3D technologies together to make something cool? For instance, how about Google Glass, 3D scanning and 3D printing?

Todd Blatt has done exactly that in his recent 3d scanning through Glass experiment. He used Google Glasses to make hands-free pictures of Markus Aurelius, processed the pictures with Autodesk 3D tools to create a 3D model and printed it at Shapeways. Pretty cool, huh?

Seems like, there is missing piece in that pipeline. The resulting model is about 11MB (166 thousand triangles and it’s unnecessary large for 3D printing and on-line visualization. As an experiment, I decimated the model 4 times with no visual or geometry degradations. Here is the interactive comparison: .

Vizup Optimization example | Marcus Aurelius Google Glass 3D scan | Compare reduced and original mobels

Marcus Aurelius Google Glass 3D scan mesh simplification by Vizup

Thus, my version of that cool 3D pipeline would be:

GoogleGlass > 123D Catch + Meshmixer > Vizup Optimization > 3D printing. 

Is it legal? It’s another story. Check the very informative article from Museum and Web group.

Credits: many thanks to Simon Martins @ SolidSmack who influenced this post.  


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Set the world’s 3D art free – Kickstarter project by Cosmo Wenman

Cosmo, a 3D scanning fine art enthusiast, is up to make 20+ sculptural masterpieces accessible to all by 3D scanning and publishing their 3D printable files into the digital commons.

Vizup supports the project by offering 3D optimization tools for model decimation and on-line visualization. Please support Cosmo at Kickstarter!

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Vizup SDK new version released (May-2013)

New Vizup SDK version is out!

After several mounts of extensive development and testing, we are releasing a new Vizup SDK version. The new SDK codename is “May-2013 SDK release”.

The goal for the new release was to accommodate recent enhancement requests (thanks to all of you for your feedback) and prepare internal optimization engine infrastructure for new SDK-based Vizup products (watch for upcoming announcements).

Functional updates and API changes:

  • Internal optimization engine code changes to better support model structures (for OBJ, VRML, etc).
  • Vizup_Regenerate() is only needed to retrieve an optimized model with a specific reduction ratio. Vizup_Optimize() now leaves the data model in a correct stage for retrieval with final decimation.
  • Increased Vizup_Optimize() performance, up to 10% for some models
  • Infrastructure and API changes to support C# and JVM-based adapters.
  • Vizup_AddTriangleNormals() now takes non-normalized normals as well.
  • Removed restrictions for creating soup mesh vertices in the specific order. It’s possible now to call Vizup_NewPoint() in any order, even with duplications.
  • Introduced Vizup_NewTriangleSoup() to replace overridden Vizup_NewTriangle() for triangle sour meshes.

The changes are mostly internal, but there are a few API updates. Please review a ChangeLog for more details. Linux versions are available as well.

If you have an active subscription and maintenance contract, please download the update from the same original URL. Or request an evaluation version.

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What happens when you mix written fiction and interactive 3D video game?

It’s hard to explain. You should just see it!

large_building (2)

We are excited to tell you about one of our long-term customers – a UK-based team of digital artists and writers called Dreaming Methods. This is a project where they are exploring combining the written word with digital media to create new kinds of reading experiences. These guys really do amazing things!

They have developed more than 30 projects over the years. And they’re still at it – now in the form of 3D worlds that linger somewhere between literature and video game.

Fullscreen capture 3112013 125850 PMTheir latest creation, Zone, is a creepy experience that lasts only 90 seconds following a fatal car accident. This is a good example of successful usage of the Vizup Technology for 3D model decimation and optimization.

Zone has been brought together and published using Ambiera’s Coppercube software. But it’s terrain, created using freeware terrain building software, resulted in a mesh with over 175,000 polygons (25MB) – jaw-droppingly too huge to handle. After applying Vizup decimation the polygon count was reduced to an amazing 5,250 (350k).

zone_landscape_before       zone_landscape_after

Andy Campbell, the Dreaming Methods’ founder, said, “By feeding models into Vizup we were able to generate low-poly versions of objects we didn’t think we’d be able to use: pylons, buildings, vehicles and even two highly detailed Poser models that were custom-shaped into dead bodies (eg. the dead man: 30,000 polygons down to 3500). And the models imported seamlessly into Coppercube where the Zone world was being assembled, with very little additional manipulation required. Vizup will remain a key tool for us as we explore other ideas in literature and 3D space, particularly as we head into mobile app development for the Android and iOS platforms.”

zone_dead_man_before     zone_dead_man_after       zone_dead_man_poser_textures

Dreaming Methods’ team is creating something entirely new in the growing scene of the electronic literature. We are happy that Vizup technology is taking part in creating the future.

Best regards,

Vizup team

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