A method is developed to produce animated stereographic representations of microfossils seen through a binocular at full-focal resolution by means of computer-assisted light microscopy. Stereopair images were obtained using a special stand for the binocular microscope that allows users to acquire a pair of images from slightly different angles of view at the same focal plane. Increased depth of focus was possible with the application of a special macro available from the NIH-image software library. Quantitative relationships between the working distance of the objective lens to object, and the parallax displacement of the resulting images on the computer monitor are given. These are useful in generating images at improved depth of focus. Three-dimensional animations were created from sequences of stepwise changing aspects of the object and from various focal levels, that were combined into a moving representation using Quick-Time Virtual Reality Authoring Studio from Apple Computer, Inc. A special eucentric specimen holder was designed in order to take images of the same object under varying orientations. The method is well suited to illustrate microfossils in the size range between 100 to 1000 Ám and is a useful new technology for teaching purposes, construction of illustrated type-specimen databases, and for the display of microfossils to a general audience in museum exhibitions.
Michael W. Knappertsbusch. Natural History Museum Basel, Augustinergasse 2 4001-Basel, Switzerland.
KEY WORDS: Microfossils, microscopy, depth-of-field, stereo-vision, animations
Copyright: Palaeontological Association
30 August 2002
Submission: 18 December 2001 Acceptance: 26 June 2002