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Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca

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Class OverView

What is Medical Illustration and Animation?: Course Description

The medical field has seen so many advances over the last 200 years. Working right beside that has been the use of medical illustration. Medical illustration has always given the medical profession the ability to communicate theory's and results for the benefit of the next generation. Even when it was seen as taboo, surgeons have continued to advance their skills and understanding of human anatomy.

As a niche market, medical illustration and scientific visualization is proving to be a highly competitive field. While certification isn't required for this field as of yet, it may one day be. This class will not be for certification. However, this class will help you to develop a professional level of work with your final pieces.

Over these next 10 weeks we'll be creating medical based illustrations and animations. We will take a look at obstacles and short cuts that have benefited my pipeline. I'll take you through various medical scenario's and what to be aware of and how to start your career in medical visualization.

We will have weekly assignments and critiques with every assignment. We'll meet every day to go through phases of pipelines that I have used often to accomplish the visuals that I create. I'll include assets for you to download every day and use to help launch your projects.

We'll approach the end of the class with enough work to create a small demo reel and a direction for advancing in your career.

Course Focus

Students will be expected to already have working knowledge of working with 3D software. I'll be demoing with Maya, ZBrush, Octane, Mental Ray, After Effects and Photoshop. Beyond that we'll explore some free software as well.

I've had the pleasure of working for this field for almost 13 years now. I truly feel as though I've been on the front lines with both advancements in medicine as well as CG. I've experienced the unique relationship that medicine has had with technology. I remain excited to watch how medicine will benefit from advanced scientific visualization.

3D has solidified its' relationship with medicine and is growing in demand. 3D software has seen its own advancements with powerful software like ZBrush and Maya. One can only expect this trend to continue. 3D has allowed technology to aid in the communication of what can't always be seen with the naked eye.

As we begin, be ready to hit the ground running! We will be covering a lot in the class. We will cover different approaches and identify which pipeline is appropriate for each situation.

Required Hardware

  • 3 Button Mouse
    • This is a must for most 3D Applications
  • Wacom tablet or Cintiq
    • A tablet will be necessary for digital painting and sculpting
  • 1 - 3 TB of Digital space.
    • Back up your work! Most 3D projects will have a significant digital footprint. Each of my projects have varied from 10GB - 130GB.
  • PC vs. Mac
    • A machine will obviously be required. Whether you choose to use PC or Mac environment should be determined by you. I personally will be instructing the class via PC.
  • 1 Black Prisma Colored Pencil and a midgrade-toothed paper (like a Molsken Sketchbook)
    • Sketching needs

You are welcome to buy your own software however everything listed can be downloaded in a trial version or student version. Trial versions will have limitations such as a watermark or some other disabled featured.  These attributes won't be counted against your work.

Plugins Used

Programs Used

  • ZBrush 4r7
  • KeyShot5
  • Maya 2015
  • After Effects CC
  • Photoshop CC
  • Adobe Bridge CC
  • Premiere CC


  • 3D Skill level: Moderate


  • All assignments will be executed digitally deriving from 3D applications. However traditional skills will be used when appropriate. All projects must first be address with a thumbnail for approval. I will be acting as your art director and I will be dictating changes as you complete your work.
  • Weekly required studio time =  (8hrs +/-)
  • Not for certification
  • Hard Surface vs. Organic Modeling
    • This class is focused on creating Medical Imagery. As a medical Illustrator or animator you may often have the opportunity to work with ready-made medical devices. However there may come a time when you need to modify the topology of a device for animation purposes, Rendering Purposes, or it simply hasn't been built yet.
    • If hard surface objects are provided to you then the majority of your efforts are going to be focused on organic sculpting and rendering.
  • Traditional Skills are a plus
    • Having these skills will be useful for the preliminary staged of your final projects. We will be drawing a lot of thumbnails and be working with silhouettes and shapes.

Daily Downloads

  • Each week there will be content for you to download. Each download will contain a lecture demo of the steps covered and assets used or created in the demo for you to use. On Mondays I'll be giving you the assignment with sketched notes and directions for what is required. Each week your assignments will be due on Friday by 10:30.

Work Submission

  • All final projects will need to be submitted with a proper folder structure for organization.
  • Any file submitted with "final" or "master in the name" will not be considered for review and will need to be fixed with the proper name format.
  • Folder Structure:
    • 001_Project Name - RDarling
      • Renders
        • Project Name - RDarling
        • .jpg
      • Resources
        • 3D
          • Maya
          • KeyShot
          • SolidWorks
          • stl
          • iges
          • ZBrush
          • DAZ
        • AE
          • 001_Project Name
        • Premiere
          • 001_Project Name.proj
        • Output
          • Images generated in 3D apps
        • Layered Files
          • 01_Image Composite.psd
          • 02_Image Composite.psd
        • Reference



Favorite Design Sites

Online Medical Fluency


Recommended Books FREE 3D Assets

  • Medical Devices
  • Various 3D Models
  • Textures
  • 3D Brushes
  • Operating Room


Top 30 Global Medical Device Companies

Continued Education