3D Heart

3D, Anatomy, Crafty



About 2 years ago I needed to make a 3D model of the human heart for my research project.
3D anatomical heart

Then about a month ago I decided to try and 3D print it. The models are SUPER small ( 0.454w x 0.83d x 0.507(in) ). The following two objects are test prints of the model in strong flexible white plastic (left) and metallic plastic (right).



3D printed heartsThe models were printed via Shapeways, and the plan was to make necklaces for Valentines Day, but I think I will make miniature wall plaques instead. I will redo the model to create a point to hang the hearts from for the necklaces, and make sure the walls are thicker. I don’t want to mess these precious little hearts up!

Feel free to visit the model’s site here: http://shpws.me/A9oF .  While I don’t think others can print the model, because some of the walls are thin, everything seemed to turn out great! Some of the details (vessels)  printed a little messy since they are thinner than spec. But I like it, it gives the heart a more organic feel. ❤

Microbes are Back


This semester I am enrolled in the EVL’s game class.

Microbe Concepts

Microbe Concepts

I am a part of a team of 5 creators ( developers and an artist <– that’s me! ), split between UIC and LSU. The concept that we all agreed upon is that of a microbe infecting its host. In reality the game would include multiple levels, but for the sake of the class we will have one level. 

Immunity Concepts

Immunity Concepts

The level we are creating is ideally the ‘second to last level’. Here the player attempts to replicate and mutate and grow a colony with select-able attributes which prosper in ‘genetics’ and size.  The grid below represents the level. The blood brain barrier is at the top of the map and the green object represent lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are where enemies spawn from. In order to take over the layer the bacteria must take over and destroy the nodes while also collecting nutrients and out competing the immunity.


Capillary Level with Blood Brain Barrier

The diagram above displays how the player may interact with the game and some of the mechanisms it would use to take over the environment.

Below you can see some of the development in process:


Development in Process 1


Development in Process 2


Development in Process 3

I am enjoying creating concept art for the game and trying to think of how to enhance the project. However, I was chosen as the team leader, and I find it difficult to come up with and modify how the game progresses in such a short time span. 8 weeks is not much time to develop a game! But I am definitely please with what we have created thus far.

The website for the game is still under development but can be found here game.encephalostudios.com


Anatomy with CSS 3D

Anatomy, Inspiration

This evening I want to share with you this post I came across while doing research of webGL frameworks. What I also found is this slider which allows for the display of pre-rendered images from volume rendering. It wowed me…


” I geeked out by applying fake specular lighting, for that ‘fresh meat’ look, and volumetric obscurance to enhance the sense of depth on the inside.” – @unconed

Taxonomy Interactive – Organizing the chaos

Creative Coding, Just Learning, Planning Ahead

For information aesthetics we are coding our own program which reads a dataset and displays it to the user.  I chose to collect taxonomy information from the Integrated Taxonomic Information System. The dataset I collected consists of a list of names starting with the Kingdom ‘Animalia’ down to all Genuses ( I was having trouble downloading a list which included all species, probably because it would be huge). To give more context to the dataset I manually input the levels of ‘Life’ and ‘Domain’.  Then I parsed the data ( which was .csv) into strings representing the paths which looked like:


Which represents the taxonomic levels:


The path is then interpreted and presented to the user as circles which can be moved on the screen. Right now, the placement of circles has no correlation to relationship. Just the idea that larger circles represent more abstract groups of organisms (‘Life’ followed by ‘Domain’) while smaller circles represent more defined groups ( ‘Genus’ ). When the user hovers over a circle the lowest level name of that path is displayed, while the entire path is displayed at the top of the screen.

The program you see above only runs a sample of my dataset, as the entire taxonomic list is ridiculously extensive.

So for my final…

…I decided to continue with this project. I think its great I was able to parse the data, but this isn’t really how I want to display it. I want some sort of relationship between each node and the path be evident. So my goals for the final project are to:

  • Make the ellipses into spheres, so they are more representative of a 3D space.
  • Allow the user to rotate in the 3D space.
  • Display one level at the beginning of the application, then display the contents of a level when a node is clicked (if you click the node again its contents will hide, i.e. a toggle effect).
  • Arrange the positioning of the nodes, so that appropriate nodes are within proximity of each other ( no longer random placement).
  • Check and ensure the nodes are not overlapping.

If I have time left, I might try to implement a slider that allows the user to quickly go from displaying just the ‘Life’ node to all nodes… I just really like the idea of having a center node and then others radiating out from this node. I am not sure if I want connection lines. While I think they give better context, I enjoy the chaos within the organization. Because ultimately taxonomy is just a way for us to organize and comprehend the chaos.

So to get started I went through a tutorial by Jer Thorp on Spherical Coordinates:

This image links to screenshot of me playing the interactive

This image links to screenshot of me playing the interactive

I used spheres instead of ellipses ( as he does ). I like how the nodes move along spherical paths (oppose to moving linearly in x, y, z space) and I am hoping this tutorial will help me keep the nodes realative to each other , using undrawn spheres as boundaries.

If anyone has other suggestions for how to improve the first iterative, please share :D! By the end of the semester you should see some progress.

The Omega Desk

3D, Molecular

OmegaDesk Displaying a Neutrophil

I am stoked to tell you about my independent study. This semester I signed up with Luc Renambot to learn how to use a multi-modal work station through the creation of an interactive. To build the interactive I am working with Victor Mateevitsi and Alessandro Febretti. This OmegaDesk lives in UIC’s Electronic Visualization Lab (EVL).

For this project I started with the idea of the heart. I thought since I was building an interactive for my research project, I might be able to reuse assets and focus on the interaction. But I don’t have all of the heart yet, and so I moved on to components in the blood. The two forms I am showing today are a neutrophile (above) and an active state platelet (below). I really enjoy building these microscopic components. They look very inhuman, but whenever I make them I feel something happens that gives them personification.

Active Platelet, which I thought turned out looking like a head crab. Victor said it looked like a [full raw] chicken (lolz). Now I can’t unsee it.

Stay tuned! I still have a few more blood components to create and implement!

Mouse Embryo

3D, Just Learning

I took some time to practice modeling with Molecularmovies.org ‘s Mouse Embryo tutorial (http://molecularmovies.com/pages/bysoftware/ ,  it is the fourth tutorial under the ‘Maya’ section ).

This tutorial was very helpful, and gave me a better understanding of subsurface modeling. I would say the trickiest part was modeling the toes by extruding along a mirrored axis.



I really love 3D, and I am uber excited to be learning more about Autodesk Maya this  semester.  While I am not a huge fan of UV mapping, I do enjoy a good texture and shading session. A shader that most 3D artists grow fond of is sub-surface scattering. The problem with sub-surface scatter shaders is they can drastically increase render time. So in my free time I am trying to find alternative methods.

In the following post, Hosuk goes over how he explored combining multiple shaders to get the same effect. I found it an interesting read, but need to better understand normal maps.

Fake Sub Surface Scattering

I have also found that playing around with the Ramp Shader can give some pretty nifty effects.

If anyone else out there has some nice techniques please share! Or let me know what you think about Hosuk’s approach.

Summer Drive

Just Learning

Sometimes it is hard to be motivated ( in general fear and money are pretty good ones). Even when curiosity and/or creativity exists, there is sometimes a gap between thinking and execution. However  (usually) once you conjure up a little drive the gap closes and you pick up momentum. Luckily I got back into the swing of things during the first week.

This summer my main time consumers are going to be a:

Multimedia class

Flash Animation

Advance Imaging techniques

process kidney whole screen

Mimics, DICCOM data from Osirix database, Kidney, Aorta

& Pathophysiology.

Over the next 7 weeks I will also get an introduction to the surgical field, clinical sciences and the opportunity to present my research proposal (August 1st).

Stay tuned as I will explain the above images/ projects in future posts. And yes… there will be some flash.