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. ❤

Microbial Magic

Anatomy, Inspiration, Prints, Traditional Work

The season of giving will soon be upon us so I thought I this would be a great opportunity to search the web and curate a mini exhibition of the anatomically awesome things that people create! For the first of this series lets start small, with some microbes!

Society6 is one of the sites I joined last year to help promote my work. And through it I have been able to find a variety of fresh yet talented artists:

Microbe 1 by Veronica Martinis


Microbe Family by AMOSLIDE

(And I am not quite sure what this is, but I like it too  … )

Microbes are also quite fashionable:

Bacteria – Thousands Of ‘Em (Pink) by Chayground

Microbe Onsie

Histoplasma Capsulatum by Yours Truely 😉 ( Autumn Kulaga )

Retro Amoeba Earrings by LemantulaDesigns


Or maybe you know someone that appreciates more tangible objects. You know grown adults searching for “collectables” ( a.k.a desk toys) .

Bacteriophage T7 Model

Shapeways is an amazing site bringing 3D printing and prototyping capability to the masses.

4c9o by Virtox

E-coli Toxin by Anthromod


And of course we can’t forget about the more commonly known plush microbes. Cuddly enough for an infant, even the bed bug is adorable!

Bed Bug Plush


Alicia Watkins is an Etsy Vendor who will create any one of a variety of microbes by cross stitch:

Microbes cross stitch set by Alicia Watkins

Or perhaps you are crafty enough to try out some of her patterns yourself?!


Know of any other microbial wonders? Feel free to share in the comments of this post!

Anatomy & Illustration Gallery Exhibit



As some of you know I have joined the Arts by the Bay Gallery in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Havre de Grace is a beautiful little town by the water in the north east of Harford County. We are about 30 minutes north of Baltimore.

At our last meeting I was chosen as the featured artist for the May 16th Gallery Exhibition and I am super excited!


Prosected Palm


Water for Elephants

I decided to focus the show on my  anatomy and illustration. I wanted to see how the my work for medical illustration and other personal work fit together.  I tend to think that because I use such a diverse set of mediums and subject matters, that I am lacking a style. But as I put things next to each other a small “Je ne sais quoi” seems to appear.  Again, I am very excited to share all of my work with anyone who can make it to the gallery.

I think this comes at a good time. It allows me to see where this work has brought me. Going through the piles of art has given me an opportunity to think about what I was trying to do with each piece, and whether I was successful. It also gave me a chance to find “hidden jewels”. Pieces which I previously thought were crap, but now seem kind of neat. Maybe there is something in each work that I subconsciously put in them all. . .

gallery artwork framed


See the rest of the picks this Friday May 16th 7 – 9pm!  See the other art by the rest of the Arts By The Bay Community, amazing art and good company!

Arts By The Bay Upcoming Events

Anatomical Decor


I want to share this table I refurbished a few months back. I received the table from my dad who had it around the house. The top was a little worn but as a whole it was in pretty good shape. Despite the rectangular shape, i couldn’t help but think the table would spectacular representing slides of human tissue cells. I thought the shapes would look delightfully abstract but still hold interest to those who same what was in the shapes.


Glomerulus table


Glomerulus table work in progress


On the table, the glomerular capsule is the largest shape and therefore the focus. The glomerulus receives blood
Is a part of the kidney and blood filtration process, which produces urine. The cells around the glomerulus are distal and proximal convoluted tubules that carry the urine to the renal papilla and eventually out of your kidney.

I used a combination of stain and acrylic paint. Then I spray polyurethanes the top for protection.

Currently the piece is for sale in Bel Air, MD at the Barely Used Consignment Shop.  

Classical Anatomy

Anatomy, Inspiration

In these stunning sculptures Cao Hui mixes anatomical realism with classical art. Think Michelangelo meets Eycleshymer & Schoemaker 😉

“Using Inspired by Alexandros of Antioch‘s Venus de Milo, Cao Hui‘s reinterpretation of the classic piece cleverly infuses the artist’s own affinity for Photorealism, Realism, and Hyperrealism. Hui is well known for his fleshy masterpieces and often uses his work to play tricks on the naked eye.” – QuietLunch

CaoHui1 CaoHui5Cao-Hui-2

Juxtapoz.com’s Feature on Cao Hui


cao-hui-sculpture-04 caoChair CaoHui31


An eventful spring is ahead!

Anatomy, Crafty, Events

To start off the semester I want to tell you about the great things we are doing this Spring!  We have three great events coming up soon.  Today I will inform you about ‘Anatomical Love’, ‘Digital Creations’ & our ‘Anatomical Zine’!

Next week the students of BVIS are hosting a gallery exhibition at Pilsen Thrift.

Anatomical Love will be an amazing show highlighting some work created by students. On display will be work completed while in the program as well as personal artwork. There are even whispers that some of the artwork may be for sale?!

Here is a sneak peak of my cross-stitching project:

Heart - CrossStitch

(While this masterpiece is quite tedious, it did give me an excuse to watch over 40 hours of The Tudors)

If you can’t make it out February 8th, then come see us March 1st at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Chicago. The NMH+MC is a private venue, therefore an RSVP is required. Email uicbvis.students@gmail.com with subject “Digital Creations RSVP“, please include your name and name of any guests.


Digital Creations is a chance for me and my colleagues to show artwork made with different media while in UIC’s Biomedical Visualization Program. Ranging from 3D medical tools to personalized independent projects this exhibition will highlight the range of work we are capable of.

And last but not least, the Student Association of Medical Artists (SAMA – the BVIS student organization) will be represented at the Chicago Zine Fest.  On March 9th from 11am – 6pm we will have two tables set up, one for a bake sale ( baked good for donations) and another to sell Anatomical Zines.


 This festival is serving as our annual fundraiser. Profits will be used to help fund figure drawing held throughout the year, as well as reimburse students who submit there work to the Salon at the Association of Medical Illustrators Annual Meeting ( a very prestigious event for our field 😉 ).

We can’t wait to see you this semester!

Anatomy on Society6

Anatomy, Traditional Work

Last year I joined Society6. This online art community has a nice collection of self-published work. This site provides work by a lot of different artists, all of which have added themselves to the community. It is amazing to see how creativity flows throughout our society.

Society6 provides a means for artists to share as well as sell their artwork as prints, phone cases or hoddies/tshirts. While the artist does not always making a lot per piece -depending on what profit they set for themselves with each print- they are able to help create awareness of what they do. And while some people are of the opinion sites like this “cheapen” the value of art, I think it is a great way for artists to build a community, share work, and fund their addictive art habits. It almost feels like going to the farmers market, and buying locally.

For this post I just wanted to share a collection of Anatomy Art I found while searching the site:

Gross Anatomy by Asleepstanding

The Eye by Broken Colors

True Anatomy by Ben Geiger

Anatomy 03 by Alvaro Tapia Hidalgo

Being Human 3 by Anapt

Boy Next Door – Silhouette and Anatomy Love Painting
by Joy Chokchai

Society6 has a lot of work to share, don’t be afraid to explore more!

The Polycystic Kidney

3D, Graphical Works, Just Learning, Retopology

Polycystic Kidney Disease is an inherited disease. Most of the time this disease is an autosomal dominant genetic trait. This results in the disease affecting at least 1 out of 1,000 Americans, sometimes even more , given that not everyone shows symptoms. The size of the affected kidney is overwhelming. This disease must be terribly painful given amount of space it intrudes on within the person’s body.

Editorial for PKD – mock ad for the PKD foundation.

To start the construction of this model, we extracted a model from DICOM data provided by the instructor. The model was exported from Mimix as an STL, improted into 3DS Max, then exported as an FBX so it could be imported into Mudbox. Once in Mudbox, I created then molded a sphere to flow with the over all shape of the kidney. A displacement map created from the high-poly kidney model and then applied to the re-shaped Mudbox sphere. This is the same process I used to create a model of my face.

Like I mentioned previously, Mudbox is AMAZING! The ease of sculpting, painting and creating detail on the model is extremely intuitive.

Screenshot of Kidney from Mudbox

The over all look and feel of the kidney changed throughout the process of building the model.  Going from Mudbox to Max to Photoshop can really take a toll on the final product.  You just have to stay calm, pay attention and keep modifying settings to get what you want.   When I was in Mudbox I spent a lot of time painting different layers, adjusting the hue and saturation of the layers, and sometimes even the opacity.  Then when you save out each file type ( the 3d geometry and the texture files) they are not always applied as you want them to be in 3Ds Max. And what I mean by that is, you have to do a lot of adjusting, the process is not as manual as you might hope. I found it easier to save the kidney from Mudbox using “Save scene to 3DS”. Then I saved each of my paint layers from Mudbox using “Save channel as Photoshop document”. This can be done  by right clicking on one of the paint layers ( you can’t right click over “Diffuse” you have to right click over one of the layers… but don’t worry it exports the entire channel ; )  ). In 3Ds max I changed the Bitmaps to link to the .psd documents. If you follow this process you have to open up the .psd in Photoshop, and turn off the red grid.

The hardest thing to get to show as I wanted was the bump layer. Turns out, you can apply it over “100”. I also had to jack up the reflection, glossiness and specular layer more than I anticipated. The grand lesson from any 3D project: no matter how quick you think you might get through to rendering, there are always more properties you can tweak. No wonder all the good projects have teams of masters working together creating this type of work.

The the final frustration -once you render out the overall image and the different channels- keeping the overall feel in Photoshop. The feel changed some after I added the specular channel and did a screen layer of the lighting channel. I started loosing the orange in some of the bubbles. However I was okay with how it changed because I am REALLY pleased with how I got some of the bubbles to show up.  I really wanted the iridescence of the cysts to come through and I think I achieved that (especially with the large bottom right cyst above the PKD logo ).

An work in progress detail I tweeted while painting the polycystic kidney

To learn more visit PDK Fountation Website.