Friday, September 30, 2011

Textbook Illumastration


This is a photocopy of the second sketch I did off a prosected specimen for Textbook Illustration. This same specimen was the source for an illustration (recognizably similar yet vastly superior to this one here) in Grant's Atlas. Homework for this week is to label photocopies of the sketches. And to transfer one of the sketches to illustration board in preparation for carbon dust. Yeah! After labelling this first sketch, I think I'll change it up a little bit to try and make it clearer on the other sketches. So eventually I'll post up the third sketch, maybe not labelled, or maybe labelled and not labelled. And we'll see the carbon dust turns out and I can post up that too!

Umm... I thought I was going to have a lot to say in this post, but I guess not. Any questions?

Oh yeah, I'm firmly convinced ("convince yourself") that the hypogastric nerves are not solely sympathetic, as certain sources seem to imply, since pelvic splanchnics have branches running superiorly through hypogastric nerves and through the superior hypogastric plexus to provide preganglionic parasympathetic fibres to derivatives of the hindgut along the inferior mesenteric artery. Oh, all this peripheral nervous system stuff is messing with my brain. Literally. HA!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

ROM rant

Well it's been a while since I ranted about anything, so this goes out to the anatomists or physiotherapists or anyone else that follows the nonsensical pattern of rotational axis naming.

First off, there are a few planes that the body can get divided by:
Frontal plane or coronal plane, which is like cutting you down from top to bottom so your face falls off, or rather divides you into a front and a back.
Next up is a transverse or horizontal plane, which, for example, could cut horizontally so you have a top and a bottom half. Incidentally, guillotines do this.
And finally there is a sagittal plane, which cuts to divide left from right, like if you straddled and then fell and sat on a running chainsaw (that's never almost happened to anybody I know *cough*).

If you're still unclear:

So that's all fine, I buy that, it's helpful and reasonable.

Now, someone got it into their head that since some body joints allow motion, we need to describe the motion of the bones and joints in terms of the axes that they rotate around. That's fine too, a shaking head indicating "no" is one example. A straight leg kicking a ball rotates around another axis, and bringing your arm straight out from your side to the left is the third axis. And these axes need names apparently and THIS is where all mathematical reason is discarded.

I'll just say what they are named and then I'll explain why it is just wrong. The frontal axis passes through the body from left to right (like a pencil passed through your ear holes - apologies for the graphic examples, but it's hard to describe planes and axes without describing things passing through the body). The sagittal axis passes through the body from front to back (like when someone pokes you in the chest with their index finger - there, nice and harmless). The final axis comes up with a new word and calls it the longitudinal axis, which when you shake your head "no" is what the head is rotating around (an axis passing from top to bottom). And movement examples of the frontal axis and the sagittal axis would be kicking a ball and lifting your arm out from your side, respectively. Confused? Yeah, and it's totally not my fault. What were they thinking?

Okay, I'll start with the most basic and logical argument against this nonsense naming. An axis exists in ONE dimension. A plane exists in TWO dimensions. ERGO, there are TWO axes that run parallel to a plane, and ONE axis that runs perpendicular to a plane. So, it is NOT possible to unambiguously name an axis after a plane UNLESS that axis runs perpendicular to the plane and NOT parallel to it, which is the case here. According to these preposterous naming conventions, the sagittal axis actually runs parallel to BOTH the sagittal plane AND the transverse plane. The frontal axis runs parallel to the frontal plane AND the transverse plane. The longitudinal axis runs parallel to both the sagittal and frontal planes. Okay, so there's no transverse axis, so theoretically you can't get confused, IF you remember which one the longitudinal axis is, but it still doesn't make sense and it does my head in.

I am forced to think in this manner: Abduction of the arm is rotating around an axis. It is not the longitudinal axis, so it must be either the sagittal or frontal axis. The axis runs parallel to both the coronal and transverse planes. There is neither a coronal nor transverse plane, but the coronal is also known as the frontal, so it must be rotating around the frontal axis. Was I right? Not 100% sure. No, I looked at it again and I'm wrong. Abduction of the arm is rotating around an axis parallel to the transverse and sagittal planes. Ergo sagittal.

I will defer to a mathematical example. If you have a cube that sits in XYZ space, you can take that cube and move it in the XY plane. You can move it in the YZ plane, and also the XZ plane. You can also rotate the cube around each of the X, Y, and Z axes. NOTICE that if you are rotating.... ah never mind. I'm too tired for this.


"/rant" is an internet typing to signify the end of a rant. It's derived from XML as far as I can work out, where any element is terminated by a forward slash followed by the name of the element (in this case the rant) and enclosed in , but I guess were deemed unnecessary for the /rant version.

Have a good week!


P.S. ROM stands for Range of Movement, which is apparently what this stuff is used for.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

First Medical Illustration

Well here 'tis, my first bit of medical illustration, for the textbook illustration part of the anatomy course I'm taking at the moment.

It's a (mostly) linear sketch of a saggital section of someone's head. I hope that's self-evident. The bulk of it was drawn from a (slightly distorted) dissected specimen though a lot of the brain bits were taken from a real textbook illustration, cause that section was mostly uninterpretable (mushy) in the real specimen. Unfortunately we haven't learned the head part of the anatomy yet, so some of it is a bit foreign to me and hopefully it's not incorrect (through distortion or misinterpretation) in the drawing.

This textbook illustration is the extra graduate component of the anatomy course we get to take. So yes, I'm only taking one course at the moment. However, looking at the schedule for the coming week, there's 25 hours of course (sing.) scheduled, which isn't including the hours (and hours) of studying, prep, and drawing that will need to be done. But I enjoy it, especially the drawing and the embryology. The radiology I keep nearly falling asleep in, mostly cause it's on Friday afternoons.

And I've learned that eventually we'll be doing surgical illustration... yes, in an OR. I think.

(still working on the alien review/tutorial)


Friday, September 9, 2011

After the Rain

I forgot to post this before I left Victoria, so here's the final painting I did for my art lessons. Actually the first canvas I did too, and I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out. Hope you like it.

I know it's not the best presentation (in terms of the hasty background and crop) but hopefully it gets the point across. The weird wigglies you can see in the sky and the road are an artifact of the texture of the canvas upon digital resizing. It goes away if you click for larger.

The long-memoried readers might recall this post:

Yay, it's Friday.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Logitech and Luteinizing Hormone

So, since I was just studying some embryology at the moment, of course I'm going to start a blog post.

First off, I learned a new internet abbreviation. TL;DR - too long; didn't read. That can be used by someone who thought some bit of text was too long and decided it wasn't worth reading. Or it can be used by the author as a disclaimer and is often followed by a summary for those who don't want to read. If you find my blog too verbose, that's fine, your unspoken protest of not reading doesn't bother me; if you write TL;DR in the comments, I'll just assume you didn't finish high school. If you want me to write TL;DR here and then summarize the below, tough. Here's a picture for you:

That's special. (The mushroom represents you in a world where words are too many.)

So now for the text:

I'm into the second week of classes, and the pressure of the information fire hose seems to be backing off a bit, or at least I'm getting more acclimatized to it. I've had some pretty intense experiences so far, with dissection and trauma images... but it's also intriguing and rewarding, when a structure looks the same in situ as it does on the page, or when I'm able to recall a vessel learned last week that relates to a new region of study.

I'm learning to read x-rays (a practical skill in the future? who knows?) and I'm getting a crash course in embryology as I said, which is a ton of new info, worth a grand total of 5% of the mark for this course. The student part of me says, "That's really not worth as much time as it's asking to be invested". The student part of me says, "This is amazing stuff. I'm going to learn as much of the developmental process as I possibly can."

Ummm, but other than the studying, oh yeah lynda and logitech. I'll start with logitech. About, oh, five years ago, I bought a Logitech MX Revolution laser wireless mouse. It's pretty much awesome. So upon moving to Toronto and finding that I couldn't find the USB wireless receiver, I was fair mortified. The mouse survived the move fine, but without the little plastic bit that sticks in the computer, it's useless. In the meantime, I've been using the mouse that came with my Wacom tablet, which is okay, but a bit like using a twig to brush your teeth. I thought about just buying a new mouse, but I really like the MX Revolution, and Logitech doesn't sell it anymore. I looked up replacement receivers, and you can get them for 10 bucks from Logitech, but only if you live in the states. I looked on ebay, but the cheapest was 25-30 bucks including shipping and tax and all, and that's just a bit steep for an imperative bit of plastic and no guarantees it'll work. A google search pointed me to someone who pointed me to the Logitech customer service phone number. I phoned them (yes this story is going somewhere). After a long hold wait (typical) the customer service rep (hereafter referred to as the CSR) told me that my mouse was out of warranty (what? after 5 years?) and that he could send me a free receiver (atypical). So... that's in the mail. Wut wuut.

Alright, for the above paragraph only: TL;DR: I got a free mouse usb thingy.

And... is like digital-tutors or (I'm not sponsored by anyone, so I can freely name competitor sites consecutively) except their maya tutorials are not as extensive as DT or SM, but they have a much much broader base of video tutorials, for software like sketchbook pro, cinema4D, illustrator, flash, premier, after effects, photoshop, facebook, and google. I won't watch the facebook tutorials, it might make me depressed. Umm, so, what about it? Well it so happens that part of my tuition goes towards unlimited premium continual access to all their tutorials. That is so very great. I've already made a long list of the tutorials I want to watch, uppermost in them sketchbook pro (got started on that), cinema 4D (cause my demo trial is ticking away), and illustrator (cause I haven't got a very good foundation in that one yet).

And... simplymaya have generously given me the opportunity to review another of their video tutorials. (See, I can accommodate multiple sources of great digital training) It's only 10 hours long, so I should be able to bang out a review in... a matter of hours. Many hours. Stay tuned for that, simplymaya readers (*crickets*).

Now, let's see, what else has been a-happening. I think that's about it for now; I'd better get back to the embryology. Did you know that the heart starts out as a single tube (essentially a blood vessel) that folds and twists and fuses and grows holes?

Ah, you made it to the bottom. For all the non-TL;DR types out there, here's a different picture:

Aw, a kitty. You can conquer the most intimidating body of text, or the side of a sofa.