3D Scanning the Scott & White Moulage Project

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Warning: this article covers 3D scanning of medical replicas and contains some graphics that some people may find disturbing.

The Scott & White Moulage Project was created by Julie Bolin and Bryan Moss to highlight the artwork of Kenneth and Margaret Phillips. Between 1934 & 1955 they made over 3,000 medical wax moulages at Scott & White Hospital, to be used as teaching tools and in traveling exhibits.

Today, they have over 300 scans of the moulages on Sketchfab, making the collection much more accessible to an international audience. Bryan Moss tells us about this history of the project and about his workflow.

I had the idea to image these wax models about 17 years ago after Apple came out with QuickTime VR. I tried to get some of my colleagues interested, but with the technical and monetary restraints at the time, the project was deemed too extensive and cost prohibitive.

Fast forward to present day – the moulage project gets new life! The wax models needed to be archived and removed from the cases that they had been hanging in for several decades. I had mentioned to my director, Julie Bolin about my idea to convert the models to 3D so that they could be viewed on the web. She found a grant from National Network of Libraries of Medicine to facilitate the purchase of equipment to make this project possible. The Sketchfab website really helped sell this project with their easy-to-view 3D models!

Moulage 3-D Digitization and Preservation Project

Scott & White Healthcare Foundation
Richard D. Haines Medical Library and
Graphic Services Department

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Scott & White History

  • Dr. Arthur Carroll Scott, Sr. came to Temple, Texas to become the chief surgeon of the Santa Fe Hospital in 1892.
  • Dr. Scott hired Dr. Raleigh Richardson White, Jr. to be the house surgeon in 1895.
  • Dr. Scott and Dr. White created a full partnership in a private practice in 1897.
  • In 1904 they were able to open their own hospital and called it the Temple Sanitarium.
  • In 1922 the hospital’s name was changed to the Scott & White Hospital.

Art Department History

  • Dr. Scott hired Kenneth Phillips to start the Art Department at Scott & White in 1925.
  • Kenneth and his wife, Margaret, trained at Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic to be medical illustrators.
  • Kenneth’s skills were used for medical illustrations, motion pictures, photographs, lantern slides, and later moulages.
  • In 1934 Margaret Phillips was hired to do freelance work on the moulages. The next year she was hired as a staffmember.

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What’s a Moulage?

The term moulage is derived from the French verb “mouler” meaning “to mold.”
The mold is cast directly from a part of the body typically with plaster.
The plaster mold is filled with a wax mixture to create the moulage.

Kenneth & Margaret Phillips’ System – Teamwork

  1. Receive specimen
  2. Margaret sketches, outlines, and paints a quick watercolor of the specimen
  3. Kenneth creates the plaster mold
  4. Kenneth pours wax into mold
  5. Margaret completes the moulage by painting it with oil paints referring to her earlier painting to check color accuracy.

Scott & White Moulage Collection

  • Over 3,000 moulages were created
  • Used for:
    • Exhibits
    • Teaching tools
    • Display surgical techniques
  • Only about 1,300 moulages still exist in our collection.
  • The majority of them have been stored in our Department of Anatomic Pathology.

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Moulage Project Studio

  • Apple MacPro Work station
  • Tethered Nikon DSLR for image capture
  • Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop used for cataloging and image editing.
  • Constant-on color correct fluorescent lighting for consistent lighting
  • Strata Foto 3D for 3D imaging

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Converting Images to 3d

  • Strata Foto 3D uses photogrammetry to convert 2D images into 3D.
  • Uses a mat with various sized dots to align images in 3D space.
  • A homemade turntable was used to rotate the wax models as photos were taken.
  • After photos were taken (about 25 per model) they are touched up in Photoshop.

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  • Images are then imported into Strata Foto 3D

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  • A mask is applied to all images to remove background.

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  • The model is then rendered into a wireframe with texture from photos.
  • Model is then ready for upload to SketchFab.

Urinary Tract SF 11482
by Scott & White Moulage Project
on Sketchfab

Thanks Bryan!

Visit the Project here on Sketchfab to browse their digital collection.

– Bart

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About the author

Sketchfab Team


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