Anatomy and Art

a blog by Sara Egner

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tree #11

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I finally finished the new tree painting.  This one has been a bit of a wish for fall as we get through the final slog of all this over 100º weather.

painting of a tree against the moon

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August 26th, 2018 at 12:04 pm

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Making Coils in Illustrator

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Lately I’ve had some work come up that has required illustrating coils using Illustrator.  This is one of those things that has just always been a pain when it comes up.  So finally I took the time to work out a real strategy, rather than just fumble through it like I usually do.  Looking online for advice, I found that a lot of people struggle with this, so I’m going to share what I did with all of you as well.
coils

•  Make an oval.  For my example I went with 200 x 50.

•  Delete one of the side points, so that you have half an oval.

•  Duplicate the half and reflect it or rotate it to the other side.

•  Make one of your sides shorter (in my case, Side A remained 100 x 50, while Side B was shortened to 100 x 30).  Keep both sides the same width for an even coil.

•  If direction is important, you can fuss with reflecting horizontally to keep your line going in the same direction (significant if you’re using gradient lines or arrowheads)

•  Duplicate that and keep lining up the ends however far you want your coil to go.

•  And if you want to make the whole thing one solid line, go to Object > Path > Join.  Voila, now you have one even looking coiled line that you can put a single arrowhead on if you’d like, or cut wherever you’d like to add more arrowheads, or use gradient effects with, or warp as your project’s needs may dictate.

screenshot of pull down menu
It’s one of those things that seems obvious once you do it.  But until you do, or until you see it somewhere, it’s easy to lose a lot of time shaking your fist at the lacking zig zag effect which just won’t give you what you want, or messing around with the spiral tool or arc tool.  Enjoy!

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August 24th, 2018 at 7:38 pm

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The Moon’s Formation

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Today I finally got the go ahead to share one of the astronomy animations of late.  It looks like we may change something about the sun on the first one, but this one is staying as is.  This was definitely the crazier of the two to work on so far.  I don’t really ever get requests to crash things when I’m making bio animations.  So I did a few tests in advance of taking this one on, where I discovered the Voroni Fracture, which is super fun, especially when combined with the push-apart and random effectors.  Unfortunately, by the time we got the textures fully set and introduced a molten core, every scene that used Voroni fractures wound up taking forever to render.  There are spots where I would have liked to do it a few more times to finesse some of that stray space debris and get it just so.  But overall, I learned a lot working on this, and it was fun to try something different.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post anything fun from work on YouTube.  For a while there, most of my animation work was either going into larger interactives and needed that context to make sense, or was really small, and again best within the context it was being made for.

I’m looking forward to doing more of these.  And when we get things settled with that first one I’d like to show it off too.  It’s less smash and more elegant.  I think it’ll give viewers a good aha moment, and well, that’s my favorite part of working on things like this.  Well, that and the part where the details of my job involve all kinds of cool scientific knowledge.  Really, prior to making this, I don’t believe I’d ever heard this explanation for how our moon formed.

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention this awesome find for textures.  I only used them a little in this animation, but I’ve gotten good use out of the textures that are freely available from Solar System Scope.  It’s a lot like taking them directly from NASA, only these folks have already done the work of taking NASA’s telescope images and stitching them together to make a perfect texture for application to a sphere in whatever 3D program you might be using.  It’s really made working on these kinds of images nice.  So big thanks to them, and obviously to NASA.

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July 13th, 2018 at 9:09 pm

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Valencia

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I recently had the opportunity to travel in Spain.  I loved everywhere that I went, but I have to say that I was utterly charmed by Valencia.  The old town was beautiful, the paella delicious, but in retrospect I realized that it’s emphasis on both the arts and the sciences was really awesome.  And the proximity with which those categories were kept was refreshing.  My first pass through the city didn’t offer enough time to really explore much beyond the old part of town, but on my way back through later I decided to check out the Museo de las Ciencias.  The buildings over there were just too cool not to take a closer look.

Museo de las ciencias

I’ll admit, the architecture does overshadow the exhibits inside, but I really did enjoy walking around and seeing their displays.  They had things about dinosaurs, about Mars (I had to text a friend from JPL when I saw their Mars Rover display), a tesla coil, and a surprising smattering of health and anatomy related stations.  There were displays about cancer, and genetics, and muscle strength, and even dying.  It felt like a really different representation of these things than I can recall ever seeing in The US.  I found myself wondering if matters of health and medical treatments are perhaps more ingrained in the public consciousness over there.  There was even a little display where you looked through a mock surgical door window to see surgical videos.  It was interesting.

Someday I hope to make it back and check out the Oceanographic aquarium and maybe even catch an Imax viewing at the Hemispheric.  Really though, all of those buildings were just such beautiful architectural masterpieces, that it was lovely just walking around as well.

I did have a little confusion that made me laugh about there being two NH hotels right next to each other when I first got in.  Turned out that one was the Hotel NH Valencia Las Ciencias and the other was the Hotel NH Valencia Las Artes.  Anyone who reads here with any regularity knows that I would have combined those offerings, but I did enjoy that they were literally right next door to one another.  I asked what the difference was, and I was told that the science section was a 4-star hotel whereas the art section was a 3-star section.  I guess there’s some commentary in that about the expectation for artists to be well-paid.

map

Overall though, I was very taken with the level of artistic detail in so many spaces, alongside the emphasis on science, and then add to that all the history that just comes naturally with European cities and their buildings which date back so very long ago and constantly keep that sense of history alive in modern day-to-day life.  A lot of that blend was just the way Spain is in general, but I think that the University of Valencia was maybe pushing that rich content blend just that much further.  All in all, it was a beautiful place to spend a little time.

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July 8th, 2018 at 11:22 pm

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Upcoming Show

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Austin locals, please do come check out the works that are going up at Forbidden Fruit this weekend.

art show info

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June 5th, 2018 at 8:14 am

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With

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I finally finished this piece I’ve been working on for a while now.  I’m calling this one With.

 

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May 20th, 2018 at 1:25 pm

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The Young Artist and the Critic

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I don’t usually post memes here, but I just liked this one.

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April 8th, 2018 at 1:42 pm

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Nephron Anatomy

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I recently had an assignment to create a nephron illustration.  I’ve illustrated nephrons before, and I even thought I’d be able to re-use some of my old work.  But it turns out, all of my previous work with nephrons was at a more introductory level.  I have to say, I was downright disappointed.  Because science gets complicated, and anatomy in particular, there are a lot of times when models are simplified for clarity, but it really bothers me when I feel like students are actively mislead.

The first time I ever illustrated a nephron was in grad school.  I did it for my pen and ink assignment, and was really happy with how it turned out.


Then not long after I started with Sapling Learning, I wound up illustrating a nephron in Photoshop.


We even used arrows with this one at one point to show flow.  And I looked at a lot of images throughout making both of these images.  But not until a more advanced illustration request came up, did I ever realize that the distal tube of the nephron always passes by the opening of the capsule between the efferent and afferent arterioles.  There’s actually an important feedback process that happens there where the contents of the tubule affect dilation and therefore the rate of filtration happening.

If you look up the juxtaglomerular apparatus you can find a lot of references at this level.  That one detail of form is an important part of how nephrons work.  So it bothers me that it’s so widely agreed not to feature it in more introductory images.  They do that for clarity, but I think it’s too important and really I’m not sure that it actually adds all that much more complexity.  So this is my most recent nephron artwork.  It’s not my prettiest version, but it does tell more of the story.  If we’d had more time, we probably would have done more with the form of the podocytes.  They really weren’t the point of the illustration though, so we settled for at least giving them a nod.  This was more about showing the layout of the cells between where the distal tubule passes between those in and outgoing arterioles to allow for the signal exchange about how much filtration is needed and for flow to be appropriately affected via dilation.


So now I’m hoping that moving forward, I can always use that simple design change in representing nephrons so that when students get to this part, it’s not so jarring.  Maybe a lot of students don’t get stuck on details like that, but I know that I always have, and I know that I’m not the only one.

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March 21st, 2018 at 2:16 pm

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Head and Neck with Jasmine

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I recently got a chance to put a friend’s face in some anatomy work.  Sometime back the lovely Jasmine Harris let me photograph her face at Macmillan and I recently had the opportunity to pull it up for an AP illustration.  I used the Zygote model for much of the internal anatomy and made some adjustments to both fit Jasmine’s head and neck more appropriately and also to improve the accuracy for the cutplane view.

image - head and neck anatomy

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February 12th, 2018 at 10:14 pm

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Prints Again

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Picked up test strips of art prints today.  I’ve been enjoying playing with changes in scale on prints, and I think I may try blowing another of my smaller pieces up.

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February 10th, 2018 at 12:54 am

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