Secrets of a Homicide: 3D Models
Depository model cutaway
Computer models are created using a combination of polygonal detail and realistic surface maps.

For instance, rather than model every brick on the face of a building, computer artists use texture maps to give 3D models a hauntingly realistic look while using a minimum of computer horsepower.

It took over six months to create the model of Dealey Plaza. The principle resource utilized in the creation of the model was a survey map prepared by Drommer & Associates for the 1978 House Select Committee on Assassinations.
More than 500 personal photographs and measurements, gathered during multiple trips to Dallas, Texas, were utilized in the construction and placement of all fixed structures -- including the Records, Criminal Court, and Dal-Tex Buildings. Contemporary photographs were studied in order to ensure that the model matched Dealey Plaza circa 1963. Contours of the surrounding earth scape were plotted using a grid of markers, which were physically placed in Dealey Plaza and photographed from multiple angles. These photographs were then imported into software which extracted three-dimensional data from the images to create a dimensional model of the landscape. Dallas today

Detailed, three-dimensional foliage was also developed for this project. Photographs of the period were used to match each of the virtual trees to the width and height of its real world counterpart. The tree in front of the Depository was "trimmed" to match the way the original foliage would have impaired the vision of a depository sniper.
Sniper's nest
The model of the Texas School Book Depository was based on blueprints and took three months to create. Dallas Police Crime Lab photographs and local TV news film were used to position over 5,000 boxes on the Depository's sixth floor. The position of the boxes surrounding the southeast corner window were based primarily on three Dallas police photographs (identified as Warren Commission Exhibit's [CE] 511, 512, and 716), and one news film sequence (taken by Tom Alyea) show the original configuration of the boxes.
The use of full-size blueprints allowed extremely accurate measurements during construction of the Depository model. A check of the southeast corner window's brick opening against the computer model showed the model to be within an inch of the actual dimensions. Across the size of the building model, this reflects an accuracy of better than 99.9 % - well within acceptable figures.

The presidential limousine began as a digitized model of a 1961 Lincoln convertible. The resulting computer model was then modified to match the dimensions of the presidential limousine's original body draft, provided by Hess and Eisenhardt. Details were created based on a multitude of photographs taken during the 1963 Dallas motorcade. Particular attention was paid to the seating arrangement as depicted in photographs taken by the Secret Service and FBI in the White House garage the night of November 22, 1963. limousine wireframe

Sculptor Mark Stuckey was commissioned to create life-size clay busts of President Kennedy and Governor John B. Connally. Rubber molds and plaster castings were created from these sculptures.

Digitizing The surface contours of each casting were then covered with a series of lines to form a grid that encompassed the entire sculpture. This grid became the basis for importing three-dimensional data points into the computer using a digital probe. These data points were then "connected" in LightWave modeler to re-form the original surface grid. The result was a three-dimensional virtual model of both the president and governor's head. After applying texture maps, both head models were attached to generic, virtual human bodies which were clothed and rigged for animation.

Secrets of a Homicide: JFK Assassination © 1995-2008 Dale K. Myers. All Rights Reserved.
Published by Oak Cliff Press, Inc., P.O. Box 608, Milford, MI 48381-0608