Latent Print Operations

Forensics

The information and resources on this page are for law enforcement.

For general information about the FBI Laboratory, visit fbi.gov.

Forensic Facial Services 

The FBI has a team of highly-trained forensic artists ready to provide forensic facial imaging services to federal, state, local, and international partners. 

With extensive training in craniofacial anatomy and art, our forensic artists can produce:

  • composite sketches
  • digital image modification
  • postmortem imaging
  • facial approximation

These tools allow for immediate public release for identification and information purposes.

These services are only available to law enforcement partners.

Forensic facial imaging products serve as investigative leads in active and cold case investigations.

Services include:

  • Composite sketching: Forensic artists provide composite sketching services both in-person and virtually. Composite artists have extensive training in cognitive interviewing and drawing.
  • Digital image modification: Forensic experts use computer software programs to modify photographic images for investigative purposes. For facial age progressions of fugitives and missing persons, forensic artists take into consideration familial aging patterns and anatomical changes that occur during the aging process. Other digital imaging services may include the image alteration of fugitives or missing persons by changing hair and clothing for seeking information posters.
  • Postmortem imaging: Forensic artists can produce a likeness of a person from the images of the deceased individual digitally or by hand. Often, a postmortem image is the last attempt in successfully identifying a person in a cold case investigation.
  • Facial approximation: Forensic artists work closely with FBI anthropologists when producing 2D and 3D facial approximations from skeletal remains. Tissue depth markers, which are added to a 3D print of the original skull, determine the soft tissue facial features. Facial approximations can also be done with clay or 3D software or as a 2D rendering.

Request Forensic Facial Services 

For more information about the facial forensics services program, you can contact visual_arts@fbi.gov or (703) 632-8194.

Route all federal (non-FBI), state, local, and international requests through the local FBI field office. Email visual_arts@fbi.gov for additional instructions.

The FBI Facial Forensic Services Program does not provide facial identification sercices and does not provide forensic image training services.

Operational Projects 

The Laboratory provides technical support for:

  • Crime scene survey
  • Crime scene documentation
  • Demonstrative court presentation
  • Three-dimensional physical models
  • Crime scene photography

Highly-trained visual information specialists and scientific and technical photographers use high-end computer aided design (CAD), three-dimensional (3D) modeling, and computer animation functionality in their daily applications. Personnel can travel both domestically and internationally to provide crime scene support.

Our experts can provide detailed and accurate on-site documentation for:

  • Crime scenes
  • Bullet trajectory
  • Accident reconstruction
  • Bombings
  • Plane crashes, and more

Our personnel create:

  • two- and three-dimensional crime scene diagrams
  • three-dimensional digital and physical models
  • computer animation
  • digitally interactive scene and scenario reconstructions
  • scientific and technical photography

Request Operational Projects Assistance 

(703) 632-8194

Photography 

The FBI's highly trained scientific and technical photographers use both digital video and digital still photographic equipment to provide:

  • Direct vertical and oblique aerial photography
  • Aerial mapping
  • Operational site surveys, including special events
  • Venue photography
  • High-resolution digital still photography
  • 360-degree spherical imaging

FBI photographers can deliver a virtual “walk-through” of the venue or incident scene, which increases the speed, safety, and effectiveness of response personnel.

Aerial photographers can create large-scale, mission-specific images in digital and hard copy formats, with or without gridlines for reference.

Request Photography Assistance 

(703) 632-8194

Crime Scene Documentation 

The FBI Laboratory provides technical support services, such as:

  • Crime scene surveys
  • Crime scene documentation
  • Demonstrative court presentations
  • 3D physical models
  • Crime scene photography

Laboratory personnel can provide documentation for scenes like:

  • Crime scenes
  • Bullet trajectories
  • Accident reconstructions
  • Bombings
  • Plane crashes

Lab personnel can create two- and three-dimensional crime scene diagrams, three-dimensional digital and physical models, computer animation, digitally interactive scene and scenario reconstructions, and scientific and technical photography.

Request Crime Scene Documentation Assistance 

(703) 632-8194