About Sculptor

Sculptor is an interactive multi-resolution docking and visualization program for low-resolution density maps and atomic structures. We are developing Sculptor as a GUI-based extension of the Situs docking programs, to allow an interactive exploration and analysis of volumetric maps. Sculptor combines 3D rendering with advanced mathematical concepts like clustering techniques and pattern matching algorithms to permit an almost instantaneous fitting of the high-resolution structures and to facilitate typical post-processing work like map editing or resolution adjustment. Sculptor is an SBGrid supported application.

Recent releases have added routines to efficiently model conformational differences, to interactively carry out the peak-selection for exhaustive search tools, and have added accelerated visualization techniques using programmable-GPUs.   

Sculptor Version 2.1

The latest release of Sculptor includes multi-scale ambient occlusion illumination (Wahle and Wriggers, 2015) and the DPSV and VolTrac algorithms for denoising and detecting filamentous densities (such as alpha-helices and actin filaments) in maps from EM and tomography (Starosolski et al., 2012, Rusu and Wriggers, 2012, Rusu et al., 2012). 

Architecture Status/Date:
64bit Linux (~2006 and later) available
32bit Linux (~2006 and later) available
Windows (XP and later) available
source code, GNU LGPL license available
Mac OS X (10.7 and later) available

If your OS is not supported:
Version 2.0



The previous major release, Sculptor Version 2.0, is available for download.  A number of new features are introduced, including the following:

1. Multi-fragment exhaustive search (using the MOSAEC algorithm) and simultaneous off-lattice refinement (using Sculptor's Refinement tool).
2. Scripting capabilities were added to Sculptor via the Lua programming language.
3. Visualization is improved by supporting real-time ambient occlusion.

4. A new PDF user guide was created.

5. Several minor bugs in 1.2 were fixed. All functionalities of 1.2 (see below) were retained.


Download Sculptor and PDF User Guide

People and Contributions

Sculptor has been developed from at biomachina.org with contributions from the following authors (in alphabetic order): Stefan Birmanns, Maik Boltes, Paul Boyle, Jan Deiterding, Frank Delonge, Sayan Ghosh, Jochen Heyd, Oliver Passon, Mirabela Rusu, Francisco Serna, Zbigniew Starosolski, Manuel Wahle, Willy Wriggers, and Herwig Zilken.

Version 1.2

The Sculptor 1.2 release supported ¨interactive global docking¨ peak search as a major new feature, but also added programmable-GPU accelerated rendering of atomic models, other smaller improvements and bug fixes.

Interactive Global Docking (IGD) is a novel technique that enables an interactive peak search in translation function scoring landscapes generated from exhaustive docking tools like Situs  / colores (Situs release 2.5 supports IGD). In experimental volumetric maps with a heterogeneous density distribution, or significant areas that are not accounted for by the atomic model, multi-resolution docking can be problematic. The correct solution may be difficult for the automatic algorithms to detect, as the docking contrast - the numerical difference of scores of false and true positive solutions - can become very small. An interactive screening of the scoring landscape allows the user to select carefully the potential solutions, which then can be further optimized using an off-lattice refinement technique. Please click on the image below to see a video with the interactive global docking in action:



Programmable-GPU accelerated rendering and shading of tube, cartoon and van-der-Waals representations. The new code is optimized especially for low-end machines with inexpensive graphics cards (for example netbooks with integrated Intel GMA950 graphics chips, like the Asus EEE PC) and does not only lead to a higher-quality representation, but at the same time also achieves a significantly higher performance. Sculptor also enables the investigation of pleiomorphic systems, especially in combination with the efficient flexible fitting technique which was introduced in Sculptor 1.1 / Situs 2.4.




Speed improvements and code-cleanup in the areas of the cross-correlation coefficient calculation, loading and saving of volumetric maps, display of the coordinate system and clipping planes. Rendering under Microsoft Windows was improved.

Download Sculptor and PDF User Guide