Is it possible to render with cycles a 3D texture from discrete image data (eg. image sequence)?

Basically I'm trying to get volume rendering of medical data with cycles.


1 Answer 1


I've had success importing CT data into blender using the free 32bit version of the open source DICOM viewer OsiriX, free registration required (1).

  1. Import your data into OsiriX
  2. Double click the image-sequence to open it in the 2D Viewer
  3. Choose "3D Surface Rendering" from the "2D/3D" button in the middle of the toolbar
  4. Select the desired level of detail and (most important) the brightness of the pixels which should be considered the "object" (2)
  5. Use the "3D-SR Export" button in the new "Surface Rendering" window to choose your preferred output format (.rib, .vrml, .iv, .obj or .stl)

I went with .obj and it imported smoothly into blender.

(1) OsiriX is Mac OS X only. The site http://www.idoimaging lists free medical image viewing software for many platforms. Maybe there is one with a similar feature set…

(2) Maybe you have to experiment a little in finding the right values. The available presets for Skin, Bones and Metal usually work just fine, but I have to admit, that I have no medical knowledge and therefore cannot say if this would be the case with all the CT/MR data sets out there.

CT scan imported into blender

CT scan rendered with cycles

  • $\begingroup$ thank for the nice tutorial. Will use it as a fall-back if our data allows it. I found out that although cycles can render volume data (transfer functions and all), the volume shaders can only handle input from either a texture node or a smoke domain. Internally the smoke domain is identical to a volume dataset. Tag-line is voxel data input for cycles and that is define in the blender issue tracker but as of yet, nobody is working on it: developer.blender.org Similar question: link $\endgroup$
    – xalpha
    Nov 3, 2014 at 14:51
  • $\begingroup$ great render btw. $\endgroup$
    – xalpha
    Nov 10, 2014 at 15:01

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