Skip main navigation

The ‘Virtual Bone Lab’- How to use the 3D Models

Watch how to access and manipulate the 3D models of bones to make the most of all of our learning tools.
Welcome to the virtual bone lab. In this short video, we will describe how to best use the 3D models that are provided throughout this course. 3D models will most often be attached to articles, and you can find them at the bottom of the page in the ‘See Also’ section. They can be easy to miss, so we will remind you at the end of each article. 3D models will also be incorporated into some discussion steps. In this case, images will also be provided, if this is your preferred method of looking at the bone or object.
To access the 3D models, scroll down to the ‘See Also’ section and click on the link. You will then be taken directly to the model hosted on the Sketchfab website. From here you will be able to view, rotate and manipulate your model. This will allow you to see all sides and aspects of the bone or object. It is important to remember the bones are three dimensional, and each surface and angle of a bone can yield important information. It can be challenging to think in terms of three dimensions when looking at two dimensional images, which is why we have included as many 3D models as possible.
Once you have your 3D model in front of you, you will want to practice manipulating it so that you can see all sides. This can be quite tricky at first, but after a few minutes of practice and playing around, you should be able to do everything that you need. We will describe a couple of key features and tips to help you get moving with your model. Hold down the left mouse button to grab and rotate your model. This will allow you to turn the model from side to side or up and down. You can even pull the model diagonally, if this helps you to better see a particular feature.
You might want to zoom in closer to a model, either because the bone is small, or because you want to concentrate on a specific feature. To zoom or focus in or out, scroll in or out using your scrolling wheel. To zoom in at a particular point, double click the left mouse button on your mouse. Double click the black negative space surrounding the model to zoom out again. If you would like to physically move your model in the digital space, hold down the right mouse button and move your model to the desired location. Please bear in mind that moving your model in this way will affect how the model rotates.
If you have adjusted your model in a way that is confusing for you simply exit the model and reload it. The original settings will be restored and you can begin again as new.
Some models have small numbers located on them. These will often be annotations to guide your learning or highlight particular features on the bone. Single click the desired number to bring the feature and annotation into view. Double clicking the number will zoom in on the highlighted feature and might adjust the angle of your model. Don’t forget to view all sides of the model as some annotations maybe along the back or bottom of the model.
We hope that this has been an informative guide on how to use the digital 3D models in this course. Don’t forget to look for them in the ‘See Also’ section at the bottom of some articles and discussions. Most importantly, be sure to have fun looking at all aspects of the models.
Take a look at how our 3D bone models work and listen for some tips and tricks. Give it a try by clicking the links to SketchFab.
Links to 3D models are often at the bottom of an article or discussion in the ‘SEE ALSO’ section, so be sure not to miss them!
Check out the link to the annotated skull seen in this video in the ‘SEE ALSO’ section, just below. Most of the key bone and anatomical landmarks are highlighted, making it a useful guide for future weeks in addition to helping you master the virtual bone lab.
This article is from the free online

Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education