Nanoscience 3D Simulation Using Autodesk Maya



NanoScience Simulation?   What the heck is that?  And how are they using 3d animation?  I am always looking for cutting edge real-world uses of Autodesk Maya and I came across an article about 3D Visualization of Nanostructured Surfaces and Bacterial Attachment.  I spent a couple hours reading about it; nanoscience is wild and how Maya is being used for scientific simulation is very cool.  Check this out . . .  ~Cornell


3D Visualization of Nanostructured Surfaces and Bacterial Attachment Using Autodesk Maya

“We ( Boshkovikj, Fluke,  Crawford & Ivanova) present a novel approach for the 3D visualization of bacterial interactions with nano-structured surfaces using the software package Autodesk Maya. Our approach comprises a semi-automated stage, where actual surface topographic parameters, obtained using an atomic force microscope, are imported into Maya via a custom Python script, followed by a ‘creative stage’, where the bacterial cells and their interactions with the surfaces are visualized using available experimental data. The ‘Dynamics’ and ‘nDynamics’ capabilities of the Maya software allowed the construction and visualization of plausible interaction scenarios.” 
~ Scientific Reports

What is Nano-Science? Watch this . . . or (long )


Nanomodelling with Maya

One of the main research tasks of the Visualization Lab is to use software similar to that used to create animated special effects in Hollywood productions, including Autodesk Maya. Data is pulled from various sources to create three-dimensional visualizations communicating complex nano-scale concepts. More importantly, we investigate how animation and graphic design principles in general can improve and further advance the research, inform discovery, and enhance communication processes. The research and productions are driven by the passion for visual storytelling that is combining accuracy in science and aesthetics in art. The animated work mainly covers modeling of cellular processes and material/surface analyses.

Give Childhood Back to Children


As a parent, I know I can make a huge impact on my children's life . .  HUGE!  And sometimes I feel obsessed with being a great parent worrying if I am doing the right thing.  I think we all do.  That obsession definitely transfer to my teaching philosophy.   First of all, I feel that being a parent I am more empathetic towards students.  I mean, when I see a student struggling or any situation, I try to deal with it as if, ‘what if this was my child?’   These students are someone else children. 

After reading the article, I sometimes question the impact I make.  I know I am and in a positive way, but as a high school teacher . . . is it too late?  I have taught 4th through 12th grade and I see the passion in students to learn slowly disappear, particularly in middle school.  The sixth graders come to school with such intense passion and excitement to learn and I noticed about mid way through 7th grade, it was almost completely gone.  Is it hormones, the drastic change in learning environment from a more nurturing to independent classroom,is it our society, and has it always been that way?

I know play is important and work ethics are too,  it is just finding that balance.  And there is that question of, if they don’t take those extra classes, will they not be able to compete with the other students?   One teacher I know preaches, if you do not take calculus in high school, don’t bother going into engineering.  All that makes me think, is that my brother didn’t take calculus in high school or collage for that matter and is one of the top mechanical designers at Kodak.  Hmmm . . .

All this thoughts always leads me back to, what is really important and what is success?  Check out this article and ask yourself, do you have enough play in your life?  Do your kids?  Students?  ~Cornell

Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less

Because students spend nearly all of their time studying, they have little opportunity to be creative or discover their own passions

   by Peter Gray, Ph.D. is a research professor at Boston College, and author of Free to Learn and Psychology - Sunday 12 January 2014

I’m a research bio-psychologist with a PhD, so I’ve done lots of school. I’m a pretty good problem-solver, in my work and in the rest of my life, but that has little to do with the schooling I’ve had. I studied algebra, trig, calculus and various other maths in school, but I can’t recall ever facing a problem – even in my scientific research – that required those skills. What maths I’ve used was highly specialised and, as with most scientists, I learnt it on the job.

The real problems I’ve faced in life include . . . <<  Read More  >>>

Scientific American: Why Scientists Should Embrace the Liberal Arts

Science alone isn’t enough to solve the world’s problems

“But to be truly effective, we must start much earlier. What we really need is a much broader humanistic education for scientists (and nonscientists), beginning in K–12 education and continuing through the undergraduate/graduate and professional years. It is through the study of art, music, literature, history and other humanities and social sciences that we gain a greater understanding of the human condition than biological or physical science alone can provide.” ~ David J. Skorton is president of Cornell University

<<  Read More  >>

If you read the comments below the article, it is definitely a controversial topic.   In my opinion, one could say that the Renaissance was the most innovative epoch, and this is a period in history when the arts truly blend with the sciences .   To me, the sciences are to driven by rules that are not to be broken, but one must sometimes  look past them,  break, or bend them to find new  original thought and ideas.  I want to clarify, that the sciences are equally important; the more knowledge one has to work with, the more diverse one thoughts can be . . .

MakerBot Wants You to Buy a Teacher a 3D Printer

Did you register your program to get a 3D Printer?  I did . . .   Here is the link: 

MakerBot is a on a mission to bring a 3D printer into every public school in America.  Starting today, any public school teacher in the United States can request a MakerBot Academy Bundle and their project will qualify for Almost Home funding provided by MakerBot and its partners.

Each MakerBot Academy bundle contains a MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer, three spools of MakerBot PLA Filament, and a full year of the MakerBot MakerCare Service and Protection Plan.  MakerBot will also support teachers with the development of ongoing 3D printing curriculum that teachers can participate in and utilize in the classroom.

- See more at:

Bre Pettis was the first kid on his block to get an Apple II computer. The device was intriguing, and all his neighborhood friends tinkered with it endlessly even though it served little practical purpose. Pettis went on to start 3D-printing company MakerBot Industries (SSYS), and he sees its products in the same light: They may seem silly at first, but the kids will figure them out.

To get kids playing with 3D printers, Pettis is emulating Apple (AAPL) in another way. On Tuesday the company announced an ambitious plan to . . . <<  More  >>


Will 3D Printing Change the World?

CGArena: Dec - Jan 13, FREE Digital Magazine

CG Arena is a free downloadable CG Magazine with great articles and tutorials.

  • Interview with Tomasz Strzalkowski
  • Photoshop: Making of Maru Chui Wei
  • Maya: Making of Little Honey
  • 3ds Max: Making of Old Man in the Dark
  • Maya: Making of The Green Redemption
  • Gallery - Showcase of latest Impressive art

Link to Magazine

'Design Thinking' Concept Gains Traction as More Programs Offer the Problem-Solving Courses

Forget b-school. These days, is the place to go.
Stanford University's—the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design—has gained recognition in recent years for introducing the trendy, but murky, problem-solving concept known as "design thinking" to executives, educators, scientists, doctors and lawyers. Now other schools are coming up with their own programs.

Design thinking uses close, almost anthropological observation of people to gain insight into problems that may not be articulated yet. For example, researchers may study the habits of shoppers waiting to pay for groceries in order to create a more efficient checkout system that maximizes last-minute purchases while ...

Pixar Story (22) Rules

Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 03:39PM

From: The Pixar Touch Blog
Pixar story artist Emma Coats has tweeted a series of “story basics” over the past month and a half — guidelines that she learned from her more senior colleagues on how to create appealing stories:

#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.

#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.

#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.

#6: What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?

#7: Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.

#8: Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.

CGArena: April - May 11, FREE Digital Magazine Issue Now Available

CG Arena is a free downloadable CG Magazine with great articles and tutorials.
  • Interview with Cris De Lara
  • Photoshop: Painting Megaman
  • 3ds Max: Making of the Dream Place
  • Modo: Making of My Little Fishes
  • Photoshop: Making of Sentinel
  • Maya: Making of Turkish Butcher
  • Gallery - Showcase of latest 3D inspiring art

Your Guide to Career Paths in Games Development 2010 (free)

The game industry is still in its infancy and growing exponentially.  Regions around the world are trying to capitalize on its growth.  TIGA a trade association representing the UK’s games industry recently produced a 16 page booklet, ‘Your Guide to Career Paths in Games Development’.  It is a career guide for the UK gamming industry and gives an overview of the kinds of jobs and career paths you should expect find.  Ultimately, it is a tool to stimulate the gamming industry in the UK and TIGA states on their site, “TIGA's vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business.”  no matter where we live, we all want to see this growth locally.  The film industry is Hollywood . . . WHERE IS THE GAME INDUSTRY?

The  booklet is available in digital format free from  It is worth checking out, particularly if you want to ride the “real-time” wave.   --  Cornell




  From the TIGA website (here) :

logo[1]The computer games industry is one of the fastest growing entertainment industries in the world. The UK games development sector is a world beating industry. We have the fifth largest games development sector in the world in terms of revenue and the largest in Europe. 28,000 people work in the games industry and there are more than 200 games development studios across the UK.

A career in games development is rewarding. Average salaries are £32,388 per annum, which is significantly higher than the national average of £25,000. Developing games is also intrinsically innovative and creative. There are various jobs and career paths within the games development sector, including artists, computer programmers, designers, testers and producers – all have a role to play in developing a successful game.

Generally you need to have a good degree (2:1 or above) in a relevant qualification to stand a chance of securing a job in the industry. Games developers in the UK are based across the country including Brighton, Cambridge, Dundee, Guildford, London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Yorkshire and the Midlands. Developing games offers a creative, rewarding and challenging career path in an industry set to become the Hollywood of the 21st Century.

‘Your Guide to Career Paths in Games Development’ gives an overview of the kinds of jobs and career paths you should expect in the games industry, including entry-level requirements and likely routes of progression.

Dr. Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO stated: “In our experience people are often unaware of the fantastic opportunities that exist in the UK games industry. They also do not realize the size of the industry here in the UK. We hope this guide will offer people practical, straight-forward advice on how to secure a job in this exciting sector.”

To download the guide click here.

Computer Graphics World - FREE


Maycover-1300-1[1]Sign up for your free digital copy of CGW Magazine, I have been receiving a paper subscription for at least 5 years or so, maybe more???  Now with digital copies, it makes it a lot easier to share with your students.  -- Cornell

CGW magazine explores graphics techniques, including the 3D modeling, animation and visualization are used in such applications as CAD/CAM/CAE, architecture, scientific visualization, special effects, digital video, film, and interactive entertainment.

CGW Education and Recruitment Special - 2009


Check out CGW magazine’s annual Education supplement, which addresses industry news that is relevant to educators.  Check out the 2009 issue, the 2010 is not out yet; I am assuming it will be out at the end of the year.    For some reason I have missed this all these years; I have a paper subscription, but have not come across this before.  Either way, check it out.  -- Cornell
This is a digital PDF  version - 16 Meg file.

PSD Photoshop Magazine - FREE


Here is another great resource for your students to check out.  PSD Photoshop Magazine has released the last four issues digitally and has offered them as free downloads.  Check it out, there are some great articles and tutorials.  -- Cornell 

Free Issues to Download





Psd_07_2010_en Psd_en_06_10 Psd_en_05_10 Psd_en_04_10_www

Original Link:

The Creativity Crisis

Here is a must read article.  There is a present and future decline in creative minds emerging from our educational institutions.  Our students creativity is disappearing at a time when  they need it most – the ‘conceptual Age.’  This Newsweek article published July 2010 our creative history and leads us to the future.  you got to read it.  - Cornell


For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong—and how we can fix it.

NewsWeek  July 2010
Experts assess 10 drawings by adults and children for signs of out-of-the-box thinking. View gallery.
Back in 1958, Ted Schwarzrock was an 8-year-old third grader when he became one of the “Torrance kids,” a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tasks newly designed by professor E. Paul Torrance. Schwarzrock still vividly remembers the moment when a psychologist handed him a fire truck and asked, “How could you improve this toy to make it better and more fun to play with?” He recalls the psychologist being excited by his answers. In fact, the psychologist’s session notes indicate Schwarzrock rattled off 25 improvements, such as adding a removable ladder and springs to the wheels. That wasn’t the only time he impressed the scholars, who judged Schwarzrock to have “unusual visual perspective” and “an ability to synthesize diverse elements into meaningful products.”
The accepted definition of creativity is production of something original and useful, and that’s what’s reflected in the tests. There is never one right answer. To be creative requires divergent thinking (generating many unique ideas) and then convergent thinking (combining those ideas into the best result).
In the 50 years since Schwarzrock and the others took their tests, scholars—first led by Torrance, now his colleague, Garnet Millar—have been tracking the children, recording every patent earned, every business founded, every research paper published, and every grant awarded. They tallied the books, dances, radio shows, art exhibitions, software programs, advertising campaigns, hardware innovations, music compositions, public policies (written or implemented), leadership positions, invited lectures, and buildings designed.

Introduction to Forensic Animation Technology

Eugene Liscio, P. Eng.

Provided by AI2-3D Forensic Animations
In the legal industry forensic animations have seen a growing use by lawyers and courts since the early 1990’s. Even so, there are still numerous people who have avoided this technology simply because of a lack of understanding. Yet, time and time again, forensic animations have proven to be advantageous in deciding settlements or trials simply because they are one of the best communication tools available to lawyers and accident reconstructionists today.

A forensic animation is the use of full motion computer graphics to recreate an event or to explain the inner workings of a device or process. Ironically, the same software used to create feature films such as Lord of the Rings or Spiderman is also used to create accurate and detailed animations which are admissible in court.

There are basically two types of animations, substantive and deive. A substantive animation is where physically accurate simulation software is used to provide the movement of objects based on data inputs. A common example is an automobile collision where the accident reconstructionist begins by collecting all the necessary data such as the terrain geometry, road conditions, vehicle specifications, impact speeds, friction coefficients, etc. This data is then input into the simulation software and the output is a set of data which describes the motion of objects. Many simulation programs also have the option to graphically animate the results of the simulation although, most are still lacking in the level of realism. Alternatively, the data may be output to another 3D animation program which can provide a much more realistic and higher quality animation. It is important to understand that the movement of objects is calculated based on dynamics and physically accurate mathematical equations.

Demonstrative animations (which are perhaps the most common), vary from showing how a mechanical device may have failed to how a medical procedure may have gone wrong. These are simply informative recreations based on data supplied to the animator and normally confirmed by an expert. Demonstrative animations may also be used to recreate vehicle collisions; however the animator or accident reconstructionist would provide the basis for the movement and timing of the vehicles as opposed to a simulation program.

Regardless of which type of animation is used, they still need to be accurate and should normally have solid data or reference materials to aid in there construction.

When to consider a forensic animation?

Read the rest of the article . . .

The Career Coach, a Monthly Column on Animation World Network

Pamela Kleibrink writes a monthly column on Animation World Network called ‘The Career Coach’  It is worth checking out, especially if you are going into the animation or VFX industry. She has  over 150 articles covering everything from the interview all the way through keeping your job.  --- Cornell

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter/hiring strategist for clients such as Blue Sky, Toybox, Framestore, Digital Domain and Walt Disney Feature Animation. She is a career coach and consults with colleges and universities to design animation training programs. Her animation production background includes features such as Bebe's Kids, the Fox television series The Simpsons and the original Amazing Stories episode of Family Dog. She writes a monthly column on Animation World Network ( called The Career Coach.  Pamela Kleibrink Thompson discusses those foolish moments that could hinder jobs or careers.

List of all her articles:


Here is a short article for your students to read about self sabotage and what people do so that they are not successful.  It interesting because I see it all the time with students.  They need to learn to get through this before college, but sometimes it is so ingrained at home that it is hard to overcome.   - Cornell


By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson | Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson.

"I pity the fool"–Mr. T, Rocky III

People do a lot of dumb things to sabotage themselves. No one is immune -- not even me. Watch out for these ways we make fools of ourselves.

Failure to Follow Up
When I graduated from college, I wanted to be a film editor. I made cold calls to production companies and editing facilities to try to find work. One of the people I contacted was a film editor named Carol Littleton. She offered to meet with me but I didn't go to the interview. I don't remember why, but I do remember thinking I should have called her to tell her I couldn't make it and try to arrange to meet another time. But I didn't. A few years later, Carol Littleton was nominated for an Oscar for editing E.T. :The Extra-Terrestrial. Ooops.

Overlooked Opportunity
A while ago, a candidate called me and  (The Rest of the Article)

Open Letter To James Cameron: Fairness For Visual Effects Artists

james-cameron-avatar-sam[1]Here is an interesting article about the work environment  and future trends of a visual effects artist.   It was written by a Huffington Post writer, VFX Artist, and instructor Lee Stranahan.


To James Cameron,

I'm addressing this letter to you because you and your films have been such an inspiration to so many who either watch or work in the movies. I'm asking for your help in addressing a problem that few in your audience have probably ever given a thought to -- the unfair treatment and working conditions of visual effects artists around the world.

Visual effects films were dominant commercial forces in 2009. Films like Avatar, District 9 and Star Trek all succeeded because they brought together visual effects with great writing, acting, directing and other cinematic elements. There are other films for which the visual effects seem to be the primary audience motivator. Without any slight, the reality is that people did not go to see recent commercially successful films like G.I. Joe or the Transformers movies for the script, music or the acting. They went in droves to see the spectacular visual effects - the "thrill ride."

For all of these films that rely heavily on visual effects, the studios and theater owners made hundreds of millions of dollars. The writers, composers and actors all will receive well-deserved residual payments for decades to come. But the visual effects artists don't . . .  (more)

For the rest of the article check out the Huffington Post

The Discovery Channel’s take on AVATAR

Avatar: Making the Movie Discovery Playlist: Discovery News' Jorge Ribas interviews Avatar director James Cameron, producer Jon Landau and actor Giovanni Ribisi.

 Tech: Avatar: Motion Capture Mirrors Emotions Tech: Avatar: Motion Capture Mirrors Emotions  02:42

Avatar's new performance capture technology may revolutionize the way directors, actors and animators collaborate to create whole new worlds on screen. Director James Cameron explains the process.

3-D Delivers Depth, Not Gimmicks  02:28
Tech: Avatar: 3-D Delivers Depth, Not Gimmicks 
Rather than relying on classic 3-D tricks to make the audience jump, Avatar director James Cameron wanted to use the technology to give depth to the world he created. Jorge Ribas finds out how the camera works.


What's the Future of Film?  03:41
Tech: Avatar: What's the Future of Film?

  • What will movies look like 15 years from now? Director James Cameron thinks they'll be bigger, sharper and in 3-D. Jorge Ribas sits down with the cast and crew of Avatar to get their take on the future of film.



Science Behind Pandora  02:39  Tech: Avatar: Science Behind Pandora

For his new movie Avatar, director James Cameron took real world science into the outer reaches of science fiction. Jorge Ribas finds out how he created the alien wildlife of planet Pandora.

James Cameron Full Interview 20:54
Tech: Avatar: James Cameron Full Interview

Avatar director James Cameron talks about his new film, and the technology he needed to get it on the screen.

When Play Means Pay: Video Game Jobs On The Rise

You can Listen to the Story or read it.

Original NPR Article:

(Just in case the article gets deleted; here it is.)

Joshua Brockman/NPR

Todd Howard, the game director for Bethesda Softworks, plays Fallout 3 in his office. He says the casual culture is one of the attractions of a career in the video game industry.





Imagine having a boss who encourages you to play games during the workday.

It's a reality for many people in the video game industry, including Todd Howard. At midday on a recent Friday, he was playing Fallout 3 in his office. When Howard, 39, first started at Bethesda Softworks in Rockville, Md., 15 years ago, his parents told him to have a backup plan.

He didn't need one.

Now he's the company's game director. Howard oversaw the creation of Fallout 3, a popular coming-of-age video game. As he demonstrates the game to a visitor on his Xbox 360, his avatar, a 10-year-old boy, is treated to a birthday party.

A woman's voice chimes in and remarks: "He's growing up so fast."

The company — a division of ZeniMax Media — is also having a teenage growth spurt of its own.

"For our company, there are certain areas where we are hiring very aggressively because we are growing rapidly," Howard says.

The recession forced some game studios to close or make sizable layoffs. But ZeniMax nearly doubled in size during the past year, growing from about 250 employees to more than 400, in part owing to its acquisition of another video game company.

Finding a job in the video game industry is a dream come true for many people who grew up playing games on computers and consoles. And the field is swiftly expanding as people turn to mobile devices like the iPhone and social networking sites like Facebook for entertainment.

Emerging From Adolescence

Analysts and developers point to a common thread: The entire video game universe is maturing.

"I'd say game industries are sort of coming out of their adolescence," says Drew Davidson, the director of the entertainment technology center at Carnegie Mellon University. "They're in their late teens and so there's still a lot of growing to do."

Game Developer Research says there are about 45,000 total employees in the U.S. video game industry, with an average salary of close to $80,000. Salaries can reach into the six figures, and programmers are among the highest-paid. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for computer software engineers, some of whom develop video games, will grow by nearly a third in the next decade.

Video Gaming Degrees

Davidson says colleges around the country are tuned in. "We're seeing a huge upswing in terms of universities trying to offer degrees that focus around games or interactive media ... just because they're so popular."

More than 200 institutions from MIT to DigiPen Institute of Technology are offering courses or degrees in video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group for the video game industry.

"The U.S. is the No. 1 video game market in the world," says Michael Gallagher, the chief executive officer for the ESA. "So, here at home we have a very strong market for employment in video games."

The hubs for the industry include Austin, Texas; Boston; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Seattle; North Carolina; and the Washington, D.C., metro area.

The job market is growing because of mainstream demand. Just look around — you can see people of all ages playing games on mobile phones. Social networking games are also wildly popular on Facebook. Some of the companies focused on this niche include Playdom, Playfish and Zynga, which created the popular game FarmVille.

Broadband access and new digital distribution channels for games have also made it possible for small teams to develop games by working out of a coffee shop or someone's garage, Davidson says.

A Casual Culture

Howard, of Bethesda Softworks, says people also want jobs in the video game industry because a day at the office is casual — not corporate.

"Sometimes I equate it to an organized fraternity," Howard says. "We play games at lunch, we have a giant movie theater in the building, we have a pool table, [and] we have multiple video game setups."

They also have their own chef. So, employees effectively live at the office. It's an industry that values creative collaborations among artists, designers and programmers. The majority of jobs are full time with benefits, and it's a fluid career with people moving across the country, or the world, to take on new projects. But recruiter Mary-Margaret Walker says these patterns may change.

"I think we will see more consulting and more contracting and more virtual working," Walker says.

That means video game development teams may no longer work and play in the same physical space.

At the Bethesda Softworks headquarters, Howard works near his team of nearly 100 developers.

With an Xbox 360 controller in his hands, he says, "The greatest feeling in the world is making a game and then going to the store and seeing somebody buy it. It's very special."

The journey from start to finish for a big console game can easily take about three years and cost more than $100 million. These high stakes — and new gaming platforms — are among the reasons smaller, independent companies are taking root to produce games for the future.