Monthly Archives: April 2014

This semester, so far, has been a real mix of classes and assignments. The first eight weeks were dominated by the Neuroanatomy course, while the second eight were spent practicing and solidifying skills and concepts presented in my studio courses. In addition, I started my first teaching assistantship. It has been a wonderful opportunity to get a view inside the different learning styles of undergraduate students while also re-learning the concepts of Cell Biology (and not to mention learning how to operate a Zeiss fluorescence microscope, wow!!). I’ve also just begun using the I-share library system, which I’m sure will come in handy once my research begins to take off. So far I’ve checked out a few books on developmental biology and grammar. After grading seemingly endless lab reports this semester, I’ve gained some interest in correct grammar and writing technicalities to ensure my writing can communicate as well as possible. With the end of the semester just around the corner, I only have a few projects and a final presentation to complete, and then there will be some time to recuperate from my first year in the BVIS program. It’s been amazing so far, and I’m beyond excited to see what my class comes up with this summer!

As per usual, here are a few images of what I’ve been working on lately.


Exercise 8 for Computer Visualization

This exercise helped the class learn the power of the program Mimics, which allows a user to input medical imaging data (like MRI) and construct a 3D model from that data. The mandible that you see in this image was taken from the Visible Human Project male dataset. My classmates and I used Mimics to scroll through the individual MRI slices and mask out the mandible from the rest of the tissue. We had to do this for each slice, but the program has a couple of options that make this process somewhat less taxing. After we masked out the data, we saved a file that could be imported into Max. This model has an excess of polygons that make the model’s functionality less than optimal, so to alleviate this issue we re-topologized the model by drawing on our own polygons. Eventually, the model was brought into Mudbox for some painting and this was the result.

Our last exercise for Illustration Techniques was to digitally reproduce part of a carbon-dust drawing from one of the masters of medical illustration, Max Brödel.


The original Brödel drawing from 1917.

Max Brödel was one of the pioneers of modern medical illustration, and started the first program at Johns Hopkins University in the early 20th century. He was a master of anatomical drawing, pen and ink, and carbon-dust techniques. His work is delicate, nuanced, extremely accurate, and beautiful.


…and my digital reproduction.

At first, I felt afraid of butchering his wonderful work by reproducing it myself, but in the end I learned so much from this exercise. Brödel uses tone with such success, and by studying his technique I feel I am a lot more at ease with digital rendering.

Next, I’ll be re-topologizing kidneys and doing another digital reproduction piece, this time originally by Tom Jones, the founder of the BVIS program! I’m really excited, as this piece is all about color (finally!).



The first project for Computer Visualization was due for critique yesterday. I can’t believe how far the class has come and all of the final scenes turned out amazing. I got a little caught up in modeling the blastocyst for my scene, which is supposed to illustrate implantation during human embryonic development. Earlier this month we met with small groups to talk about what scene from our storyboard would be most appropriate and dynamic as an animation still.


Here is a small part of my storyboard, which has 6 sketches and descriptions in total.

The blastocyst hatches from the zona pellucida before it implants on the endometrium to continue its development. This hatching process seemed right for the project, and this is the result.
This image was not what I turned in, but rather what I came up with after taking advice from my talented professor and classmates during our critique. I can’t believe how much more comfortable I am with 3D software, despite the accelerated nature of the course. It will be exciting to see what we come up with for our next assignment!