An article in The Daily Mail reports on a new documentary from National Geographic showing the development of three mammal species—dog, elephant, and dolphin—from conception to birth. The Daily Mail piece suggests that a variety of techniques were used, including direct imaging.
The caption for the above image includes a credit for “CGI Artist, Steve Gomez,” which doesn’t tell much of a story. A “Behind the Scenes Facts” page goes into some detail on “4-D ultrasound” techniques (although the very phrase obfuscates the simple fact that it’s just 3-D scans in time), but how those data are reconstructed into the imagery used in the show gives me pause. Briefly, during the preview, one sees what appears to be raw data from the ultrasound. showing the dog fetus moving around—let’s just say that it’s not as spiffy as the elephant above.
The main page of “In the Womb: Animals” also features an interactive timeline that I quite fancied. Perhaps they’ll add greater detail on the process used to go from low-res ultrasound to slick 3-D (um, 4-D) animation.