Sunday, January 29, 2012

Automotive finished

Finished up the old rolls... can't take any credit for the texturing, just a b c following the tutorial, but I think I learned a couple things anyway. And the lighting/rendering was all a preset from the tut. Well, okay, I can't take credit for anything here, but it was a learning exercise, and I quickly got a good feel for modelling in C4D.

Next up is some organic modelling?? Or should I spend time on something else? Speaking of cars... Top Gear is back!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Car modelling 2

The rolls is coming together... and so is modelling in C4D. I have to say that the tutorial isn't completely working for me though, cause we'll start making a piece and the blueprints are fuzzy and I don't know cars, so it's hard to envision how the piece will look in the end (like the fenders or something). But it's kinda fun at times and it's certainly satisfying to see a model coming together, especially when a strangely contorted piece of geo finds a place and looks automobile-ish.

In other news, my profile has appeared on the BMC website, along with my classmates's. Give 'em a read if you're at all interested. It's certainly a privilege to study with such talented individuals. Click the image below to get to the aforementioned page. The image is serving a dual-purpose as an image and a hyperlink. How convenient.
I've also restarted my personal challenge of reading a book-a-month. January was the Hunger Games trilogy. Okay, so technically that's three books, but they're quite fast to get through, and pretty entertaining. Nothing too mind-blowing, but overall enjoyable. I'll give the trilogy 4/5 stars. I'll probably check out the movie that's coming out too. February book? Not sure yet. I'm currently reading "Lighting and Rendering" and "Confident Color", but I don't think those count as leisure reading.

I'm still working on designing my website, and once I've got something concrete up, well you'll know, because you're all checking on a regular basis, right? No, I was going to say, once that's put together, I'll change this blog style to match the website and be a little easier on the eyes. Hope you're having a good weekend.


PS Oh yeah! The other big news is that I got a new wacom tablet... intuos 4. Can't wait to start doing more photoshop and zbrush work with it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Car modelling

After doing some basic tutorials on C4D and then experimenting with the fruit bowl, I thought the best follow-up would be to do a more in depth modelling tutorial. So I'm following a DT automotive modelling in C4D tutorial; Rolls Royce, I think. This is where I'm at so far.

Before I started, I found the modelling in C4D to be strange, awkward, and unintuitive. That viewpoint hasn't changed dramatically yet, but it's getting there. It really just takes time, seeing other people's workflows and customizing hotkeys and the interface to make tasks as smooth as possible.

I acquired Digital Lighting and Rendering by Jeremy Birn, and I've started reading it. Quite informative and an interesting take on teaching computer graphics. It's not tutorial or even software oriented. Mostly all about concepts, approaches, and ways of thinking, which is really what I wanted.

On monday I viewed an open heart surgery... wow, was that ever interesting. Seeing a beating heart, seeing the difference in color between oxygenated and deoxygenated blood (neither is blue; both are red) and really just getting an appreciation for the demands of time, concentration, knowledge, and physical condition on surgeons.  Couldn't do it. I really couldn't be in that world. But I'm continuing to enjoy being in my world. Couldn't imagine a better academic program, really.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cinema to the fourth dimension

Weeeelll... been learning some Cinema4D as part of the communications technology course this semester. For those not versed in the nerdy spectrum of 3D software, C4D is closest to Maya (in terms of software I have posted about on this blog). In fact, there's very few things that one can do that the other can't. However, some modules are more advanced and/or cleverly designed in one or the other software, so it's not a bad thing to learn both C4D and Maya (or modo or houdini for that matter, the other two packages that I find intriguing: modo for modelling and houdini for FX). But I digress. Here's my first attempt at making something after watching a few tutorials. It's not that great, but it's a lot better than my first Maya attempt, which fortunately has been lost in the sands of time (delgo doesn't count and anyway it wasn't even my first attempt either).
There's a lot I could say about how C4D is so cool and way better in area xyz than Maya or how C4D has some glaring holes in terms of functionality that are frankly shocking, but I try not to be boring, so I'll skip some of that diatribe.

Here's a screengrab of the setup.
I honestly don't know what this shows, besides that the fruit bowl wasn't a photograph (I'm always willing to provide solid evidence for that)... hey look, the table has legs. And there are spiky lines that represent lights (you'll have to take my word for it).

I just noticed today the etymological connection between Cinema4D and Biocinematics. Hmmm...


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Thymic transcription factors

Finally presenting my final image for immunology. As I mentioned in a previous post, I ended up converting it to a double-page spread. I like it this way, and it feels more complete.

The only problem is that I can't (won't) upload it at a high enough res to really read all the labels and stuff, but I'm sure I'll post a higher res version on my site eventually. I don't want to post the figure legend in the text either because it would be google searchable and not all of my events are actually published yet (though I do have permission from the professor who is doing this research to post it here). I've got to get up early for neuroanatomy tomorrow, so I'll cut this one fairly short.

Although I won't talk about it much here, I did watch a laparoscopic subtotal colectomy this morning. It was somewhat shocking but very interesting. And I paged through Vesalius' 1543 work on the human body. Very very cool.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Website building

A small note on the seed of my website that has recently been planted. Hopefully with some time and a bit of work on my part, the site will develop into something that has style, structure, and content. One can only dream.

URL is here:

I've been using a new domain registrar to forward and I won't say which registrar, because I'm not sure if they're good or bad yet, but the technically minded will have no difficulty finding out. I've noticed that it doesn't always connect, and you get a stupid This webpage is not available notice. If I hit refresh once or twice, it'll connect fine. Don't know why it does that, but it's certainly annoying. For the time being, if you're updating your bookmarks, maybe better to put in and as the sites for now.

Going to view some kind of surgical procedure tomorrow morning, so I'd best review some more anatomy and get some sleep.


Monday, January 9, 2012


I got my email forwarding set up, so from now on you can email me at "mail [at] biocinematics [dot] com". Obviously replace [at] with @ and [dot] with .
It's just better not to have a real email address just typed out, because bots crawl the web and harvest email addresses for spam. I don't know how intelligent they are or if that's even still relevant, but something to think about.
Actually, I'm gonna do a test. I'll make a new alias... call it and see if I start getting spam to that address. Bring it on, spambots! I'll even give a mailto: link in case something is searching for mailto html tags.

So back to the original email address. I like getting emails, so if you have questions or comments that you'd rather not put in the comments section below posts, or just don't know how or aren't able for whatever reason, or if you just want to say hi, send me some mail. I like getting emails; oh I already said that. So there's a good chance I'll actually respond to emails too.

That's it for now; I should get back to my illustrator work.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Immunology for real this time

Okay, last post, way back last year, I intended to post some concept work for the illustrator piece I was doing on an immunology topic. I wanted to make sure the content that I was posting was published, so first I emailed the professor I was working with to make sure it was okay to post here; so that's just to say why I didn't post it last year. Enough of the convoluted explanations, on to the work and some news.

Here's one of the later stages of the concept work (pencil and paper, labels in illustrator):

Here's a color mock-up in photoshop. The color palette is based off a van Gogh, I think (so it is undeniably beyond criticism - just kidding, no doubt I've improperly represented it - I was trying to think of a polite word for bastardized). That being said, I've tweaked the colors and toned them back a lot in the illustrator piece.

Half an hour before the deadline to submit the final concept, it was suggested that I turn the presentation style into a double-page spread, like you'd see in a scientific magazine. So I added another page with some dummy text (i.e. lorem ipsum) and stuff. As you might imagine, that took place after the deadline, so I've been breaking the rules a bit and working out a few of the ideas in illustrator (big no no). I'm getting close to finished with the illustrator work. It takes way longer than you think to do anything. The amount of time I spent on those nuclear pores... good grief.

So that's the final project for the class that technically ended before Christmas. The rest of this post is a lot of text, so you can quit now. What's up this semester? Well, instead of one class, we've got 4. Actually 5 really, because one of the "courses" has two areas of focus, two profs, and two major final projects, in addition to all of the ongoing small assignments.

1. Evolution of medical illustration: This one sounds fun, similar to the History of Biology course I took in undergrad and thoroughly enjoyed. There's some overlap, looking at Vesalius' groundbreaking works, for example. But then there's other characters and trends, BrĂ–del (could only find the umlaut for the capital O on my numpad), Steven Gilbert and a bunch of other stuff I'm sure. We get to see and handle an original, first edition, only a couple hundred left in existence, 16th century, De Corporis Fabrica.

2. Surgical illustration: This one for the moment is the most daunting, cause we'll be in operating theatres, sketching and taking notes on real procedures. It's one thing to dissect a cadaver, but I get the feeling that seeing a beating heart would be a bit more awe-inspiring. I'll have to accurately and visually depict a procedure in the medium of my choosing.

3. Neuroanatomy: I actually haven't had a class for this course yet, so it remains to be seen what it's all about, but it might be similar to the immunology course; learning some content and illustrating a specific topic.

4. Communication technologies - New media: In the past, students have created websites for themselves using flash. I was relieved to hear that the profs are keeping up to date, and with the apparent decline of flash-based sites, especially with the prevalence of mobile devices that don't support it, we'll be focusing on HTML5 and CSS3 instead for our sites. I used to like flash sites, cause they can be pretty slick, but now I just want something that works everywhere, is clean, straightforward and content centered. We'll see if I can achieve that.

5. Communication technologies - 3D: Finally we're getting into 3D. It's been all too long time since I did any personal projects in Maya. For this class, we're  using Cinema4D, which is good, because it'll be beneficial to learn another 3D package. If I know two packages reasonably well, it indicates (to employers) that I could pick up a 3rd or 4th quite quickly. Learning software is definitely something to be strategic about. For example, I'm of the view that if you know Maya and zBrush, you probably already know 90% of Mudbox. So all else being equal (it's not), it's better to learn Maya and Z than Maya and Mudbox.

And... here we are at the end. 

Hey look! It's the TL;DR cat. All growed up. Aww.