Graphical User Interface #2 – Done.

As my research project snowballs on and I continue towards the inevitable collapse in on myself like a dying star, I managed to finish the second of three graphical user interfaces. This is a web-based GUI meaning that it is coded in HTML 5, CSS 3, and jQuery. This will be run as an HTA (HTML Application) to launch the selected surgical simulation when the case image is clicked.

The background is created with three images animated at different speeds using the CSS 3 parallax effect as seen here. The highest level of navigation is an accordion like Slidedeck separated into categories of simulations offered and reference material. Within each of these categories are three more levels of navigation (surgery, subcategory of surgery, and case) in which I used jQuery tools to create the tabs and CSS 3 transitions to smoothly animate the color, size, or location of the tab on hover. I also created an anatomical icon webfont using this tutorial for the surgery subcategories of Ventriculostomy (normal, small, and shifted) and Lumbar Puncture (simple and complex). This allowed me to easily animate these icons on hover using the previously mentioned CSS 3 transitions instead of relying on static images.

The GUI is currently installed on the simulator and is being used at a conference in April. I’m very excited to hear the response from the potential customers and users.

Science of Beer

It’s St. Patrick’s day tomorrow and in honor of my almost complete animation on alcoholic fermentation I’d like to share this dorky but fun video on the Science of Beer. The graphics are pretty great too. Cheers!

Blob Mesh Testing

Blob Mesh – the newest tool in my 3ds Max arsenal.

As I continue my animation about alcoholic fermentation I’ve modeled, textured, and animated some yeast cells dividing. Here’s two test renders using Blob Mesh to recreate the budding cells.  As I’m learning to create this effect I realize that the resolution of the blob mesh, varying size of the cells, and timing are all important components to creating a realistic stretching/budding effect.

Alcoholic Fermentation

Beer is an interest, nay a love, of mine so I’ve decided to make an animation about alcoholic fermentation which is the magical process that converts sugar into carbon dioxide gas (CO2) and ethyl alcohol. Yum. My next animation will explain this process visually using 3d models of the molecules and enzymes involved and the associated chemical equations. My goal is to maintain a rich amber color scheme in each level of the animation (molecular, cellular, and live action) while telling a visual story of cascading events in a dynamic environment. My animated storyboards layout my general idea but the timing needs to be slowed so the viewer can more easily view the scene and read the equations. Also, the audio is a stand-in for now.

Fall 2011 Wrap-up

The semester has finally come to an end, so I thought I would use this post to recap some of my work. Also, it’s a great opportunity to start using these lovely drop caps from dailydropcap.com. So great. The bulk of my time this semester went towards learning a new 3d application, Maya. I have a good foundation with 3ds Max but I still found the experience of learning a different user interface (and basically way of thinking) to be difficult. Maya is a large, powerful program that will take many more semesters to master. I also had difficulties keeping the keyboard shortcuts, command menus, and docks separate in my mind when using both 3ds Max and Maya in one semester for two projects. It kept me on my toes, to say the least. For my final renders of my Maya project (zombie ant) I had extremely long render times due to the subsurface scattering on the leaf and the fur used on the ant. I was unable to use some more advanced settings (final gather, and depth of field) due to the render times. I feel the overall scene is too dark to show the detail in the modeling of the ant. I foresee future tweaks to many aspects in the scene including the modeling, lighting, textures, and renders – pretty much improving the entire scene. Also, I’d like to animate the fungus growing out of the ant’s head and the white fuzzy fungus that grows throughout the body as the ant decays. Generally, I’d like the ant and fungus (Ophiocordyceps) to be more accurately represented. National Geographic has a very informative article and amazing pictures if you’d like to learn more. Also, see my previous posts. For now here’s some still renders of my final scene:

Another large portion of my time went towards developing my project research with a company on campus, Immersive Touch. I will design a GUI (graphic user interface) for the ‘internal’ controls of their surgical simulations. This will also be the bulk of my work over the semester break and the spring semester. I will be designing for the iPad using Titanium Appcelorator which mainly means I will be absorbing as much about GUI design and JavaScript as humanly possible. In an effort to choose our GUI design software, we played around with an application called JumiOne which establishes wireless communication between the PC and the external control (iPod Touch or iPhone). Using a set of images representing the buttons unpressed, buttons pressed, and a color map of button locations combined with some XML code for a keypad, we were able to create and implement a GUI on the iPod Touch that controls the Fluoroscopy within the simulation. The buttons are styled after the ever-so-popular ‘orb’ style and control the view rotation, setting of the anterior/posterior or lateral views, and the training score.

Zombie Ant: From Maya to Mudbox

The basic mesh of the ant was completed in Maya. This is an example of the standard UV mapping (spherical) option within Maya. Not helpful.

I then separated the mesh into 6 legs, 2 antennae, and 3 body segments.

I then unwrapped each individual UV shell then recombined the mesh.

I was then able to send to model with UVs to Mudbox to begin sculpting finer details.

The head so far:

After my sculpting is complete I will create a displacement map and a normal map from my high poly model in Mudbox and apply these maps (as well as diffuse coloration and specularity) to my low poly model in Maya to recreate the details.