Come back soon!

This project will be launching soon.

Digital Life: Creating 3D Models of Sea Turtles

Support UMass Amherst

Final update 3D sea turtles

March 11, 2019

Dear 3D sea turtle fundraiser


I first of all want to thank all of you for your kind contributions to our mission.  With your help, we aimed to create 3D sea turtles for conservation, education and science.  We made a big step in reaching that goal and we have created five 3D sea turtle models (see below), representing five of  the 7 species of sea turtle.  We also have on hand materials for creating the last two (leatherback and olive ridley).  Thanks to your contributions, we were able to do the needed field work and obtain the proper materials to complete this work.  Over the next year, I aim to raise more money to complete the last two sea turtles.  Together with UMASS, I will be working to close out this fundraiser in the coming weeks and I will attempt new ways to raise money for this project, which has been so successful.


You will be pleased to know that our 3D sea turtles have been downloaded thousands of times!  They are used by scientists, educators and artists all around the world.  I have reached out to all of you regarding your perks and please respond if you have not already done so.


Thanks again for all your support


Duncan Irschick, Director, Digital Life Project


3D sea turtles

Loggerhead sea turtle - Animator Johnson Martin


Hawksbill sea turtle - Animator Johnson Martin


Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle - Animator Robert Gutierrez


Green Sea turtle - Animator Jer Bot


Flatback sea turtle - Animator Jer Bot


two 3D models released on Monday at 9 AM!

March 30, 2018

Dear Minutefund Donors


I'm very excited to announce that the Digital Life team will release two 3D sea turtle models on monday, April 2 at 9 AM, along with a press release.  The two sea turtles are "Scallywag", a green sea turtle that suffered an amputated flipper in a shark attack (and survived), and "Shelly", a loggerhead sea turtle.  Both were scanned in Southern Florida in June 2017, and animators Johnson Martin and Jer Bot spend many hours reconstructing them.


As a special "thank you", I am attaching below a preview of both models - THANK You so much for all your kind support - it means a tremendous amount to us.  


"Scallywag" (Green sea turtle)


"Shelly" (Loggerhead sea turtle)


Our team continues to work hard on other species that we hope to release later this year - THANK YOU again.


With warm regards


Duncan J. Irschick, Director, Digital Life Project

Update 3D sea turtle work - Miami June 2017 trip

November 01, 2017

Hi Everyone


I first of all wanted to thank you for your kind contribution to the sea turtle fund - I'll be reaching out to each of you over the next week or so to start to provide you with your gift for your kind contribution.  Your hard earned money has really helped us get off to a great start.


In June of 2017, our team travelled to the Loggerhead Marine Life Center in Juno Florida.  This work was directly supported by your funds!  Among the participants was photographer Christine Shepard who took all the photographs of the sea turtles.  The research was facilitated by Dr. Jeanette Wyneken from Florida Atlantic University and was done under a consent permit from the permit from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  Charles Manire was a great help, as was the staff from the Loggerhead Marine Life center.  We greatly appreciate their willingness to work with us on this research.  With this group, we were able to use the Beastcam technology to photograph the turtles from several different perspectives.  The turtles that we were able to access included Loggerhead sea turtles, Green Sea turtles, and some hatchling leatherback sea turtles.  Below are a few images taken from this trip!  


Our team had an amazing experience and the photoshoot went off well.  The sea turtles were inconvenienced only slightly and we were able to successfully gather some 3D data from several.  Back at the University of Massachusetts, the Digital Life team, including UMASS undergraduates Brooke Ackerman and Mackay Eyster, each have spent countless hours poring over these photos.  This is detailed, time intensive work and we aim to do the job right.  Our first job was to create 3D models of the dorsal views of the sea turtles, which will then be integrated with the 3D ventral views of the sea turtles  This is complex work that will require many hours of detailed work with 3D animators.  We have created these 3D "halves" on two separate animals - a large loggerhead (preview shown below, dorsal side) and on an amazing baby leatherback sea turtle.  You can open the link below and use your computer mouse to scroll around the animal.  Please note that this is not a finished model and a large amount of work remains to be done to integrate the "top" with the "bottom" half.


Preview of a 3D dorsal view of a loggerhead sea turtle


Our next goal is to travel to Australia - I am travelling in November to work with collaborators from the University of Western Australia to capture 3D models of Flatback sea turtles.  While none of the sea turtle funds will likely be used for this work, this amazing animal will be an incredible addition to our collection.  In 2018, we hope to travel to Costa Rica and the Bahamas to gather data on Olive Ridley sea turtles and also Green and perhaps even Hawksbill sea turtles.


I thank you again for your kind contribution.  Your support means a lot to us!


With kind regards


Duncan J Irschick

Director, Digital Life Project

University of Massachusetts at Amherst


Our Crowdfunding Groups