Methods for 3D-imaging of biological samples are experiencing unprecedented development, with tools such as X-ray micro-computed tomography (μCT) becoming more accessible to biologists. These techniques are inherently suited to small subjects and can simultaneously image both external and internal morphology, thus offering considerable benefits for invertebrate research. However, methods for visualising 3D-data are trailing behind the development of tools for generating such data. Our aim in this article is to make the processing, visualisation and presentation of 3D-data easier, thereby encouraging more researchers to utilise 3D-imaging. Here, we present a comprehensive workflow for manipulating and visualising 3D-data, including basic and advanced options for producing images, videos and interactive 3D-PDFs, from both volume and surface-mesh renderings. We discuss the importance of visualisation for quantitative analysis of invertebrate morphology from 3D-data, and provide example figures illustrating the different options for generating 3D-figures for publication. As more biology journals adopt 3D-PDFs as a standard option, research on microscopic invertebrates and other organisms can be presented in high-resolution 3D-figures, enhancing the way we communicate science.
Semple, T. L., Peakall, R., & Tatarnic, N. J. (2019). A comprehensive and user-friendly framework for 3D-data visualisation in invertebrates and other organisms. Journal of Morphology, 280(2), 223–231. https://doi.org/10.1002/jmor.20938