Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Mike Smith's Medical Illustrations & Safari Books Online

Some of the most elegant illustration being done at present is coming from the field of medical illustration.  Medical animator and illustrator Mike Smith produces some particularly stunning images.  Watch the demo video below, a little under 3 minutes long.  Speculative fiction, science fiction, in print and on film, owes a great deal to the vision, imagery, and techniques, of medical and biological illustration.

Our ability to comprehend the powerful forces and interactions in the microscopic worlds around us and within us are made possible by this kind of illustration.
Here are two stills from a previous animation.  The animation is linked below.

image of bacteriophage T4 virus
bacteriophage T4 virus - Still image from animation depicting a 
bacteriophage virus attacking a bacterium.
Done with 3ds Max and After Effects.

These illustrations require a great deal of knowledge of computer tools.  The artist knows and uses the computer as a painter knows the hairs on the brush, or the physical and visual qualities of pigments as they adhere and blend on brush and painting surface.

Image of Stereocilia
Stereocilia - This image depicts stereocilia in the inner ear, and the 
 resulting chemical reaction travelling down the pillar cells.
Done with 3ds Max and After Effects
Watch them in action at the Demo Reel (bacteriophage T4 and stereocilia).

All images above are copyright and used with permission of Mike Smith.

Mike Smith used the programs 3ds Max and After Effects to create these animations.  You can learn about using this software from the tech e-books available from MCPL in Safari Books Online.  You can access these from the E-Books section of the library's website, MCPL E-Books.

You will need a current library card to log in.  These books are free to read through the library website, but do not download,  You can read them online in your browser window.  When you enter Safari, there is a search box in the upper right hand side of the page.  Search for 3ds Max or After Effects and you will find a selection of books on how to use these programs.  You can do a more general search for animation, or search for any other tech subject that interests you.  There is a huge online library available to you through Safari.

If you are an illustrator or are looking for a local illustrator, there is an illustrators trade association in the DC area you can visit online here: The Illustrators Club of Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia.  There is a fair amount of information here, including links to illustrator portfolios, including medical illustrators, FAQs, fair practices, and business and legal tips.

Nell M

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