I was finally was able to compile and organize all the photos taken of the cat dissection. The virtual cat dissection is simply a collection of pages that walk you through the dissection and point out various structures. Photos are labeled to help supplement a real dissection done in a lab. I did encounter some design issues with how to organize the pages. Not all the cat structures fit into perfect categories, like the spleen. I tried to organize the pages in the same way students walk through the cat dissection, so it wasn’t realistic to do only the digestive system and only the urinary system. In the end, I decided to just focus on regions of the cat and the organs housed within them.
The whole process has been quite time consuming but I am happy with the results. My photography skills can use improvements and a new camera this year has improved the quality of the photos. In addition to the virtual cat dissection pages, the galleries have all the pictures of the cat (even the bad ones). I picked specific pictures for the virtual pages that most clearly illustrate the structure’s location and appearance.
Unfortunately, this year we had a shortage of male cats, and the two we had in the lab were neutered, which means I do not have proper images of the male cat reproductive system. Hopefully, I will have better luck next year.
Lastly, here are some of the specifics of how I made the pages and adjusted the images.
The photos were taken with a Nikon Coolpix S8100. In most cases, I had the flash on auto after discovering that the flash wouldn’t normally go off with the lighting in the lab, and the photos would be too dark. Even with the flash, shadows and contrast were sometimes not the greatest. Turns out, these new cameras are great at faces and scenes, but they don’t seem to know how to deal with anatomy. I also used the macro setting to get close-up images.
The pictures were then imported to the computer. I used Google’s Picasa to adjust the lighting on many of the pictures. Picasa is great at just auto adjustments, if you click the “I’m feeling lucky” button, often it fixes lighting and contrast problems with minimal work. Picasa also allows for the exporting of photos with a watermark (the little anatomycorner.com) in the corner of all the pages. The photos are also hosted on Picasa which allows me to just use their gallery widgets. If you’ve had experience with WordPress, then you know that WordPress galleries are very clunky to use. With Picasa, changes to my gallery are easy and automatically reflected in the gallery at anatomycorner.com.
While I love Picasa’s features for some things, I noted that Picasa is not great with adding text and arrows. Picnik can add text, but it’s really limiting with the arrows and text tools. For adding arrows, I went to Sumopaint.com. Sumopaint is an online image editor that has a ton of features, many of which I haven’t really used.
I’m still not completely settled on my image editor. I know that Photoshop has way too many features that I won’t use to justify the price tag so I am in a constant state of looking for image editors.