A blog about scientific and medical visualization and all that’s involved.

Archive for February, 2009

Desktop 3D Scanner

Posted by Janet on February 23, 2009

Update: Regarding my comment about the object selection option below, here is a response from Ronny I. of NextEngine.

Hi Janet,
You’ve have a very interesting background. We’re constantly thinking of ways to improve our product. I’ve added your request to add the feature to trim only what is visible.
Ronny I.


Recently I had the opportunity to try the NextEngine Desktop 3D Scanner. This is a laser scanner that scans three-dimensional objects. The data is imported into its corresponding software for editing, and the final model can be brought into other programs for further refinement.

I was surprised by how easy both the scanner and the software were to use. They actually work like they were supposed to. The scanner itself was nice because it’s small enough to fit right on your desk, and connects to your PC (sorry, PC only) via USB. It comes with a rotating platform that holds your object. My favorite part is the set up. Depending on the size of your object, the platform is placed closer or further from the scanner to allow the scanner to capture the whole object. The distance is built into the scanner settings, and by simply threading the cord that connects the stand and the scanner through different openings, the stand is automatically placed at the optimal distance. There is a part that can be attached to the platform to help hold your objects in place (not shown in the picture above). If you don’t want this part to be in the way, clay also works nicely for holding the object in place.

I was quite impressed with the software too. The last time I used a (different) 3D scanner, its corresponding software was a pain to deal with, both in function and interface. The other software had a few bugs, so I often got error messages that prevented me from continuing with my tasks. It also did not perform as well as it should. For example, I would always have trouble filling “holes” in my model–filling one hole opened up another. I haven’t had any problems with this scanner’s software, ScanStudio. The interface was easy to understand and navigation was a breeze. The performance was pretty impressive even though sometimes I do have to manually align different “shells” of the model. So far I haven’t encountered any bugs yet. My only complaint is that there is no option for selecting only the front of the object, so you have to be a little creative when making a selection. (Maybe they fixed the problem now–I’m probably using an older version)

I think the best part about this scanner is the price. At $3000, it includes the scanner, the software, other accessories, and is entirely affordable by a single person. Many scanners cost A LOT more. In my opinion, it holds up to its claim that it “outperforms many $25,000+ scanners.” Don’t worry about size either, unless you are trying to scan something very big. The fact that the scanner is small does not limit it to scan small things. Medium sized objects can be scanned in sections and then stitched together in the software.

Posted in digital 2D/3D, photography/imaging, stores/products | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

IMATS 2009

Posted by Janet on February 20, 2009

I was very excited this week having found out about the IMATS, the “International Make-up Artist Trade Show.” As many readers already know, I was learning how to make facial prostheses as part of my graduate study at UIC. In the past few months I have been making prostheses for patients at the UIC Craniofacial Center (under the supervision of my instructor, of course), but always wanted to do something that involves more creativity. The IMATS, one of the largest gatherings of make-up artists around the world, features all kinds of make-up techniques, including special effects prosthetic make-up. I just read on the exhibitor list that factor II, a supplier of prosthetic materials, will have a booth at the show 😀

The show includes student competitions, a special museum exhibit, speakers, workshops, and more. It takes place this June 20 and 21 at the Pasadena Convention Center at 300 E. Green St. in Pasadena, California. If all things work out, I will be flying out to attend. Tickets may be purchased online here at the advanced prices until May 17.

Click here to watch exhibit videos.

Posted in announcements, prosthesis | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Magritte with Rose

Posted by Janet on February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine’s Day from “Revealed”


Art by Rene Magritte
(rose added 2/14/09)

Posted in fine art, miscellaneous, Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

How Should I Prepare for an Interview at a Medical Illustration Program?

Posted by Janet on February 8, 2009

Hi Janet,
I have finished the applications and portfolios and have an interview coming up with a couple of medical illustration programs. I want to ask you what your experience was like during the interviews if you are willing to share. What should I prepare for? Are they rigorous interviews or am I making it out to be something that is not?

Any advice for me?


Hi Amanda,
First of all, congratulations on getting the interviews!

Generally, you definitely want to dress and act professionally for the interviews. Some interviews are pretty rigorous, but don’t be nervous. Just think of it as an opportunity to meet other people in this profession.

You should expect an all day interview, or at least a couple hours, so wear comfortable shoes. Also dress weather-appropriate, because you might be walking between buildings out in the cold (or heat, depending on location and time of the year). Some places have a group interview followed by an individual interview, or vice versa. During the group interview, you will meet many faculty members, get a tour of the department, and meet some students. The individual interview is a chance for you and a few selected faculty members to get to know each other better, for you or them to ask any questions, and for you to show your original pieces (some programs require this).

Regardless of whether the program requires you to bring original artwork, it wouldn’t hurt to bring a few. If the picture in your portfolio doesn’t do a piece justice, I would definitely bring that and let the committee see the original. You can also bring good pieces that don’t fit into any category when you’re putting together your portfolio. Works that you did after the application process is good too because it allows them to see how you’ve improved over time. Keep in mind that whatever you do, don’t bring mediocre pieces and never apologize for your work. There’s always more work we want to do on our pieces, but you should be proud of what you present.

When you have a chance to speak to the students, it’s a good idea to ask about any frustrations they’ve encountered within the program. Specifically, you should ask them what they like and dislike about the program, classes, or the faculty members. People tend to keep things positive when they answer these questions, but you can sometimes tell by their reaction if you ask about a specific class and their eyes light up or they pause and say something like “well…I don’t know about that…” All places have their strengths and weaknesses, but it’s better to know the pros and cons before you make a decision about which place you’d like to go to.

Your one-on-one meeting with the committee members is a good opportunity for you to discuss/negotiate any financial issues–see what scholarships are available, ask about any chances for tuition waivers. However, remember that not all of them are absolute promises. University scholarships and assistantship positions do have the potential to get canceled, especially in this economy. Although all programs teach medical illustration, they can be very different in their curriculum and teaching style. You should take some time before and after the interview to think about which program is more suitable for your personal goals. Don’t be afraid to address any concerns you have with the committee. Remember, they are trying to impress you as much as you are trying to impress them.

Good luck!

Posted in discussion | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Virtual Pelvic Floor

Posted by Janet on February 5, 2009

Posted in anatomy, digital 2D/3D, videos | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »