Welcome to Adulthood



To say it’s been an adjustment is an understatement. It was goodbye to comfy clothes and flexible schedule and hello to dress pants, home lunches, and a thing called Pay Time Off. I’ve been at the big kid job for about 2 months now, and it has been filled with unknowns and just learning. Everyday has its wins and losses. Powerpoint, of course, is mostly represented in the loss column, as I really hope Powerpoint dies a slow death.

So unfortunately most of the stuff I’ve been working on is confidential with cases or I’m been under a nondisclosure agreement for a freelance project. However, I have finally had time to hop back into the 3D world and work more with Modo (above) as we decide on what 3D package to invest in. I’ve been working on materials since I haven’t had it at my disposal, and will get to more advance rendering abilities with hopes of finding some shortcuts. There’s just so much to learn in this world and it’s never ending, which is discouraging but yet still exciting. I do look forward to the day that I don’t feel like a complete beginner. 

I think the biggest lesson I have learned came from an article I read last month that absolutely applied to my work life and beyond. It talked about design and how we truly don’t understand problems. We spend so much time in the beginning eager to reach the solution the 1st time. But in all reality, it’s about quick iteration after iteration as we go through a journey that allows us to comprehend the problem. So in other words, in order to get to a solution, we must fail quicker to understand the solution. This completely applies when I try to understand the story behind cases and what the purpose of a visual must serve… work in progress. 



To say it has been awhile is an understatement. I have been religiously writing my paper and finally completed my rough. The light at the end of the tunnel is very dim but it is there. I still have to make my prototype video, which I am dreading.

I really wanted to participate in the CG Society competition in February, but because of its wonderful timing, I was a slave to my project research instead. The shark in the image is a Helicoprion. This species survived the epic Dinosaur extinction, but the grim reaper came knocking on its door in the early Triassic period (250 million years ago). The huge debate about this shark is the structure of its unique set of teeth. I originally wanted to do a theoretical piece on shark anatomy along with the set of teeth, but there is an absence of literature and with so many theories bouncing around, I much rather work with an expert in this field. Bummer. Model from CG Society was retoped in Modo and textured in Zbrush. Composting and background were performed in Photoshop.

The contest can be found here http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?p=7752783#post7752783
More about the Helicoprion can be found here.

-Till next time

Progress… I Suppose. Interface Construction.

Earlier this week I had my first Focus Group testing. It went well and it was a good experience to construct a test and watch users navigate through the Protein Data Bank (PDB) application. I’m making progress with the Interact with Collagen prototype, as I’m in the middle of just getting the bits and pieces to work, and working around technological constraints. I haven’t finalized color or the visual design of it, but I think it is coming along. I’m trying to get this done by the end of the weekend so it can be sent out to the research community to test for usability, give them the general picture of what the future app. will be like, and inquiring what it is that they want/need.

What is it about?
In short, collagen is the main structural component in our body. Its size and complexity make it extremely difficult to understand, as today’s technology is unable to accommodate its massive size. So Interact with Collagen is a tool tailored to researchers in the collagen or structural biology field with the goal of well…for them to interact with collagen. I will be deciding what is the best way to present the structure to provide specifics as well as big picture information of the structure. Another major goal of this project is to find a system that encourages and facilitates research collaboration. I have some ideas, but I still feel like there is a better idea out in the universe. I’m hoping it comes to me soon! In the meantime, I’ll try to keep my sanity and keep working. Cheers.

Semester coming to an end

Semester coming to an end

I wish Harry Potter’s world existed. What I would give to have the ability to go back in time to do more schoolwork as Hermione Granger did and still have my sanity. I have no idea how I have juggled everything on my plate this semester. I have two jobs, the school social media, full class schedule, research and IRB submission. I also felt the need to apply to the Vesalius Trust. So it’s safe to say that this kid has had a lot to do/ still to do. If I had to sum up the semester in one word, it would be Frustration. I’ve learned a lot, but it definitely has not been a smooth sailing three months.

Today, I finished my final Pharmacology assignment and my iPad application. I had a moment of relief and then I remembered that the black cloud called animation is still following me. This image is part two of the final assignment; part one being a storyboard. The project entailed finding the resources to support a chosen topic that branched off of the original one, which involved Protein Kinase M2. I chose to focus on PKM2’s ability as a kinase in the nucleus and its relationship with the transcription factor, STAT3. Pictured is STAT3 on the promotor of an oncongene and different domains of significance are highlighted. In short, PKM2 phosphorylates STAT3 at TYR 705. When this occurs STAT3 dimerizes and the 705 residue interacts with the SH2 domain of the opposite monomer and results in a stabilization of the molecule.

And now onto the next one.

Autopack’s Assignment Finished… For now

Autopack's Assignment Finished... For now

Finally reached a point where I am ok to walk away. Because there are only so many angles to make a sphere dynamic (sarcasm) I instead chose to capture a moment in HIV. I decided on the event just before the virus injects its capsid into the host cell. I focused on color and played with texture to get a lot of detail into the HIV cell while the rest of the image is blurred. Fun project. Glad its over. Onto the next one!

Have I seen these before?!

Have I seen these before?!

Well these look familiar! Who knew work could be so fun. I am really enjoying my GA position and the Business Department. It has been a little slow the past week, which is fine with the mound of classwork and research on my plate… S.O.S.

I am in the process of trying to finish my HIV image. I have experimented with different Zbrush features and moving elements back into Max, but with all my newly acquired knowledge, I have inadvertently created more work for myself. Work that I would have set up differently IF I knew the project was evolving in this direction. I guess thats just the learning process.

Now off to trying to finalize my proposal and complete IRB forms.

HIV 3D Sketch for AutoPack assignment

HIV 3D Sketch for AutoPack assignment

Last year, CG Society had a contest that involved the Autopack plugin and bringing the HIV recipe into a 3D application. Artist from a wide range of fields got their hands dirty and resulted in some fantastic entries. Our animation class is having the same assignment that will hopefully show Autodesk that this is a vital tool for our career field.

This is my 3D sketch of the virus entering the cell. I am thinking of having a more zoomed in shot but keeping with a large landscape field. I wanted to use red to highlight the injection of the capsid within the cell. Of course, I will have more surface proteins imported via Autopack, but I wanted to give everyone an idea of what approach I will be taking. I just bought Zbrush, may the experimenting begin!

UIC Digital Signage

UIC Digital Signage

These were created to advertise for the business resume review and career fair in the next few weeks. I have never created a digital signage so hopefully there won’t be any revision once I deliver these. They took me longer than expected. Unfortunately, there are not shortcuts in the creative process. I took a more typography route, but felt limited since it had to be legible at a distance. Now off to complete an assignment that is due tomorrow and my project research. I am getting nowhere on that thing.

First project done on the job.

First project done on the job.

It was the second day of classes and I was staying up to 3am. Great start to the semester eh? I landed a Graduate Assistantship in the UIC Business department last week. The university is currently undergoing a rebranding process, and the dept. needed some help to carry the branding image to their dept. My first project consisted of four landing pages for the site that showed a connection with four suburban high schools that they are about to recruit. It has been awhile since I have worked solely in Illustrator, which is odd for me to stay in one program anyway.

Meet Benard and Project Research

Meet Benard and Project Research

Today is the day that I sit down and force myself to put on paper all the information that I have in my noggin pertaining to my project research. At the moment, I do feel like my buddy above with a broken arm. Sometimes I wish there was a little red button that you can push and poof it is completed to perfection. So what is my project research you ask? Well to summarize it, I will be studying and comparing different database infrastructures, and compile my information into a framework that will inspire or be applied to other databases. So a lot of geeky stuff. I will be focusing a lot on the Protein Data Bank and a few others. All of which I aim to help improve the visualization of macromolecules by helping to define good vs bad data while addressing accessibility. This ties in a lot of issues like funding and big data. Sometimes I feel like the next step is trying to find the cure for cancer. However, I have to refocus and tell myself baby steps. Wish me luck.

The image above is call “Meet Benard.” He is the product of the character design project in my Zbrush class. What I had in mind was an Orthopedic application that allows the viewers to interact with the little guy by informing him about fractures, bone repair, and post operative care. He is accident prone so the users would have numerous opportunities to learn and teach.