Anatomy and Art

a blog by Sara Egner

Archive for July, 2018

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.

Written by Sara

July 13th, 2018 at 9:09 pm

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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.


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.

Written by Sara

July 8th, 2018 at 11:22 pm

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