A whole new 3D world

I created, or modeled, my first 3D living thing this week! It is a mouse embryo. No, I did not choose to create a 3D model of a mouse embryo. It is not a beautiful thing, and it is in fact a little bit gross. But it was an assignment in my 3D space modeling class in which we’re learning the program called “Maya.”

Maya is used by Pixar to create a lot of their animated movies. The finished products certainly have a certain feel and look to them, despite the vast amount of controls Maya gives you in terms of shading, coloring, texturing, lighting, etc.

Here are a few screen shots of the process, and my current end product. I hope to mess around with it a little bit more and sculpt it more to refine it. Then I’ll set up some lights… and camera, action! No, the mouse embryo will not move. It will just sit there, perpetually in 3D space.

the mouse embryo at its beginning stages, having started with a cube and built from there.

wire mesh of the mouse embryo

You can see in the background of the above picture that I imported an image of the embryo to use as a reference for size and shape. The blue shape is the model that I’m building. To create it, you start with a basic polygon shape, and “extrude” the edges and faces of the shape to build more and more of the mouse. You can manipulate every single edge, vertex and face of the surface, which should ideally be made of four-sided polygons.

It’s all still pretty overwhelming to me, and there is a TON to learn! Maya has like 50 bajillion buttons and tools. Hopefully I’ll model an organ or biochemical process for my main project in the class, or perhaps even a big toe!

current mouse model- it looks a little sad? Don't cry, little mouse embryo!

Picutre of author

About Claire Shapleigh, Biomedical Visualization

Hi, my name is Claire and I'm in my second year of the Biomedical Visualization MS program at UIC. It's a combination of art and science, and it's pretty fun. So far I've dissected a human body and learned how to draw in 2D using a computer AND my hand, and I'm about to learn how to 3D model. Holler at me if you have any questions about the program!

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One Response to A whole new 3D world

  1. Marina says:

    Hi Claire,

    I was wondering if you would let me use a jpg version of your mouse embryo. I'm a grad student in biochemistry with no designer skill at all. I would use it in a very tiny corner of my thesis, if the background is white with not too much color inside the mouse. If so, I would put your name and contact info in the Acknowledgment part if you want. Let me if that works for you :) Thanks !