Reverse Transcriptase

3D, Molecular, Planning Ahead

I like small things. I like the things that affect us and we can’t see. It amazes me that viruses, bacteria, living and non-living entities which we can barely see can coexist with us, or really ruin our day.



The CGSociety is sponsoring a challenge put on by Autopack, the autoPack Visualization Challenge.
I do plan on submitting an image to the challenge, but I mainly used this as inspiration for my animation this semester. Originally I wanted to depict the entire life cycle of HIV. So I started storyboarding:

HIV Storyboard pg 2

HIV Storyboard pg 1

After I wrote and drew the steps out I realized this was a lot of information to cover in a 30-60 second animation.  I am still learning animation techniques and to learn all of the techniques in three months would have been pretty ambitious ( especially with project research in the background).  So It was agreed that I should focus on a part of the viral life cycle.


At this point I started thinking about HIV, and pondered “what really makes HIV so dangerous?” The answer is in the proteins HIV caries with it. One of these proteins is reverse transcriptase (RT). HIV uses RNA to carry genetic information. In order to infect its host HIV needs proteins like RT to make DNA out of the RNA. The new DNA is later integrated into the host DNA by Integrase (a character for separate HIV tale).


My main character, HIV Reverse Transcriptase, isn’t perfect. A lot of the time it screws up. One may wonder how this messy virus lives so long and infects so many. In fact, the constant mistakes made by RT works to HIV’s advantage. This ever so slightly will modify the envelope proteins, making them unrecognizable to the body’s immune system.

 I need to storyboard again and figure out exactly what will happen throughout the animation. But at least for now, I have my star.

HIV Reverse Transcriptase with RNA/DNA

HIV Reverse Transcriptase with RNA/DNA
pdb model 2hmi


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