Computer graphics simulation of natural mummification by desiccation
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Authors: Frerichs, D., Vidler, A. and Gatzidis, C.
Journal: Computer Animation and Virtual Worlds
Organic bodies are subject to internal processes after death, causing significant structural, and optical changes. Mummification by desiccation leads to volume shrinkage, skin wrinkling, and discoloration. We propose a method to simulate the process of mummification by desiccation and its effects on the corpse's morphology and appearance. The mummifying body is represented by a layered model consisting of a tetrahedral mesh, representing the volume, plus a high resolution triangle surface mesh representing the skin. The finite element method is used to solve the moisture diffusion and the resulting volume deformations. Skin wrinkling is achieved using position based dynamics. In order to model a visually believable reproduction of the skin coloration changes due to mummification, a skin shading approach is used that considers moisture content, hemoglobin content, and oxygen saturation. The main focus of the work in this article is to recreate the appearance changes of mummification by desiccation, which, to the best of our knowledge, has not been attempted before in computer graphics to this level of realism. The suggested approach is able to model changes in the internal structure and the surface appearance of the body which resemble the postmortem processes of natural mummification by desiccation.