Burning Question: How can I create medical animations?
I find medical animations to be fascinating, viewing microscopic entities doing their work or watching how viruses infect their hosts. The field of technical medical animation has grown exponentially over the past decade, especially with the pandemic and recent medical discoveries. When I first published this article several years ago, the pickings were slim but now YouTube has hundreds of great examples. This is definitely an area seeing growth, used in research, biotech, and pharma. But judging by the tutorials, it seems like a field that employs a lot of women!
In this article
- How to become a Medical Illustrator and Animator
- Medical Animations Examples
- Medical Animations Tutorials – Featuring Cinema 4D, ZBrush, X-Particles, Maya, and After Effects
- 3D Models, Textures, and Tools from Medical Animations
- Medical Animation Freebies
It’s worth mentioning that you these tutorials and tools are also useful for medical themed entertainment. For example, use them in a film about a viral outbreak when your character is looking through a microscope. Or perhaps you need to show some alien DNA in a lab. Or maybe you are creating art for a medical drama. Lots of possibilities!
How to become a Medical Illustrator and Animator
Below, Annie Campbell explains how to become a medical illustrator.
In the interview below, Emily McDougall talks about getting into the Medical Illustration and Animation field.
Medical videos are used to educate patients, train doctors, and sell pharmaceuticals. And, there are lots of tools out there that can be used to create and animate everything from cells and viruses to the different systems of the body.
Here, we’ll show a few cool examples, and give you some tutorials on dividing cells, blood flow, and more. In addition, download some free models, or purchase some tools to create your own medical animations.
Medical Animation Examples
COVID-19 Animation: What Happens If You Get Coronavirus?
This video hit the web just as Coronavirus hit the world.
OneDown: Make Cancer the Victim
Cancer is a scary thing. Believe me. I went through it in 2019-2020. This video for OHSU Knight Cancer Institute explains the leaps and bounds that have been made in the research and treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia. Directed by Robert Sethi with Animation from The Mill, the 3D was created in Cinema 4D with effects and compositing in After Effects and Nuke.
There’s an article on The Mill website about the animation.
Instead of individually sculpting each cell we used a set of noise and rules to randomly generate them, giving us a lot more freedom. And the comp team, led by Martin Karlsson, did a really excellent job. They took our renders and really pushed the electro-microscope effect to the maximum.Ashraf Ghoniem, 3D lead artist, The Mill
Geometric Medical Animation Showreel 2020
Geometric Medical Animation shows their fine work.
Medical Animation – Vessel Studios
Watch Vessel Studios’ beautiful reel of medical animations and microscopic elements.
3D Medical Animation Demo Reel – John Liebler
John Liebler says, “A collection of my 3D medical animations, including “The Inner Life of the Cell”, “Powering the Cell: Mitochondria”, “Biology: How Life Works”, and other more recent work.” His website, which is at the bottom of the video, is artofthecell.com. John created this beautiful work in Lightwave and After Effects, and I’m guessing that these are scientifically accurate.
Medical Animations Tutorials
Below, check out several tutorials on creating cells, DNA, and more. The tutorials are for Cinema 4D, ZBrush, X-Particles, Maya, and After Effects.
Veronica Falconieri Hays | Maxon NAB 2020 Rewind
Veronica Falconieri Hays is a Certified Medical Illustrator. She shows you how to create a nanoscale cellular landscape in Maxon Cinema 4D. In addition, she explains how she modeled DNA and cellular structures with dynamics, splines, and sweeps.
ZBrushLIVE Industry Spotlight: Medical Illustration – Andrew Swift – ZBrush 2022
The webinar below aired on 26 July 2022 with Andrew Swift from SO-form and the ZBrush Team. Andrew showcased how he uses ZBrush within his medical illustration pipeline, and it’s riveting!
Athanasios “Noseman” Pozantzis: Organic Shape Morphing Inside Cinema 4D
Learn how to create a medical-style motion graphics animation in this NAB 2017 presentation by Athanasios Pozantzis. This was featured in our MAXON NAB 2017 Rewind – Volume 8: Character, Organic, Procedural Modeling with the video from Cineversity.
Medical Animation Tutorial: Create Villi using Maya 2017 MASH Motion Graphics New
Emily Holden of Emily McDougall Art shows how she created a cool medical effect with Maya and MASH.
Blood Flow with MASH in Maya
Medical Animation Tutorial: How to Create DNA in Autodesk Maya using MASH
Watch another tutorial from Emily Holden with a focus on how she animated DNA.
Sub Surface Scattering, Blurry Reflections, X-Particles, Physical Render, and Blurry Transparency
Medical Animation Tutorial – Creating a simple cell model in Maya
Annie Campbell, featured above, explains how to create red blood cells with Maya and After Effects.
Cell Dividing: Adobe After Effects Tutorial
Caleb Ward explains how to visualize cell division in After Effects.
CINEMA 4D Neuron cell Easy Animation l 뉴런 애니메이션 쉽게 표현하기
This one from Tutorials View+ has English and Korean subtitles and looks really cool!
Medical Animation tutorial: Track Mattes in After Effects for Protein Transition
Learn Medical Art, which specializes in Medical Animation, shows you a technique in After Effects.
Brain Cells in Cinema 4D and After Effects
An oldie but a goodie from motionsquared, in two parts.
3D Models, Textures, and Tools from Medical Animations
To make this fast and easy, check out these pre-made options, as well as tools you will need to create Mmedical animations.
A collection of 50 exciting organic Element 3D models for Sci-Fi VFX, medical & scientific visualization.
The pack includes numerous stylized biomedical 3D models, which include DNA, virus cells, blood cells, neurons, bacteria and other micro organisms. It’s everything you need to create organic animations.
VFXER Bio Cell for Element 3D, of course, requires Video Copilot Element 3D. Element 3D is a fantastic tool for making repeated elements, like cells, move around. In addition there is a VFXER Bio Cell Bundle available.
20 medical related elements that will hopefully save you tons of time on your projects!
This one doesn't contain cells and microscopic elements, however, you may need models for defibrilators, EKG Heart Rate Monitor, MRI Machine, and lots more. Use these models with Cinema 4D.
Detailed 3D-model of a human eye. For close-ups and animations.
Dosch 3D: Medical Details – Human Eye contains a detailed 3D-model of the human eye, including the optical nerve, blood vessels, muscles, retina, lacrimal gland and more.
18 Fully Customizable Studio Lighting Scenes
This pack includes a scene inspired by microscopic medical graphics.
150 V-Ray Textures
And 10% are microscopic shaders, including Mucous, Red Globule, Virus, and more.
And the tools to create your own medical animations from scratch…
3D computer animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering software
Maxon Cinema 4D is a professional 3D modeling, animation, simulation, and rendering software solution. Its fast, powerful, flexible, and stable toolset make 3D workflows more accessible and efficient for design, motion graphics, VFX, AR/MR/VR, game development, and all types of visualization professionals. Cinema 4D produces stunning results, whether working on your own or in a team.
Create expansive worlds, complex characters, and dazzling effects
Maya is professional 3D software for creating realistic characters and blockbuster-worthy effects. Bring believable characters to life with engaging animation tools. Shape 3D objects and scenes with intuitive modeling tools.Create realistic effects—from explosions to cloth simulation.
Medical Animation Freebies
10 Free: Medical, Anatomy, and Science 3D Models & AE Projects
Medical and science animations have become wildly popular in the last month. Today we’re featuring a collection of free medical, anatomy, and science models and projects from around the web. Many are for Cinema 4D, but some will work with any 3D application. There are also a couple of After Effects projects here to keep things interesting. All are free for personal or commercial use unless otherwise noted. You can’t redistribute them, obviously. Enjoy!
Posted by Michele Yamazaki