Design What You Want
Why use a medical illustrator?
The demand for medical illustrations has grown significantly over the last several years. The ability to reach clients through the use of online and digital platforms has provided an unprecedented way of providing high quality medical communication to millions of people. Medical and scientific information is often complex and the best way to support written and spoken content is with visual aids such as illustrations and animations. Using visual explanations eliminates language barriers and allows the viewer to absorb the information in an entertaining and engaging way. Medical illustrators are skilled in developing the best way to visually explain and present the information, often in ways that the client may not have considered. Medical illustrators are generally trained to a Postgraduate or MSc level in a medical, scientific or medical art subject.
How are medical illustrations produced?
Traditional methods such as watercolour painting and pencil drawing are still used by some medical illustrators however illustrations are predominantly produced using digital methods, most commonly Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Illustrator is used to produce more diagrammatic illustrations whereas Photoshop is used to essentially digitally paint the illustration in a more freehand way. Some illustrators choose to use 3D Applications such as Maya, Blender or ZBrush to produce particularly complex illustrations. A variety of styles can be achieved using 3D techniques and offers the user the ability to experiment with perspective and unusual viewpoints difficult to produce using traditional methods.
3D is often used as the basis for a 2D still illustration. Once the model has been digitally modelled and sculpted it can be rotated and lit from different angles with infinite ways of rendering an illustration. This can then be imported to Photoshop and enhanced using digital painting techniques.
Another advantage that 3D offers is the ability to use CT and MRI scans as reference when producing anatomical models. Accuracy is incredibly important in medical illustration and the key to this is good reference material. 3D now offers the user the advantage of using CT and MRI scans. The scan can be used to produce a 3D reconstruction of various anatomical structures and used as a ghost to model a highly accurate digital model.
3D medical illustrators are also able to take advantage of the wealth of digital 3D data available online. For example, the protein databank is a free and opensource collection of cellular parts and mechanisms that can be used to reconstruct entire viruses in 3D using accurate atomic models. These can then be used to create illustrations and animations with a high degree of accuracy and realism.
3DMedicalIllustration.com produces illustrations and animations of anatomy, surgery and medical equipment for use in an array of healthcare educational and promotional products. I use state of the art hardware and 3D software to create very detailed and often photorealistic medical illustrations.