• CGSociety :: Special Feature

    30 April 2013, by Paul Hellard



    Scientific visualization is a multi-billion dollar industry, which aims to investigate and communicate the realms that exist beyond our normal senses. In the molecular world of alien-looking shapes and bizarre physics, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) attacks critical immune system defense cells in human blood, causing the disease AIDS. This pandemic has taken over 33,000,000 lives, with millions more added each year.

    Autodesk has united with two leading research institutes, challenging artists to explore this mysterious world. They provided competitors with a cellPack model of HIV in blood serum and a powerful open source app, called autoPACK. Artists were asked to convey humanity's complex relationships with this virus, be they emotional, political, or intellectual. An opportunity to be a pioneer on the frontier of science!

    Researchers in Graham Johnson and Arthur Olson's biology labs united with Autodesk to challenge participants to explore the mysterious world of HIV:
    "We provided competitors with several choices of 3D models of HIV in one of its native environments, the blood plasma found in human blood vessels. We generated the procedural models from an ever evolving cellPACK recipe using our open-source packing app called autoPACK together with our molecular modeling app called ePMV. The more complex models contained hundreds of thousands of molecular components that contestants interacted with via the standard autoPACK GUI in a variety of 3D hosts including Maya, 3D Studio Max, Softimage, Cinema 4D, Blender, PMV, and Chimera.
    We challenged the participants to convey humanity's complex relationships with HIV, be they emotional, political, or intellectual. We further asked them to excite general audiences with visuals that will help us spread interest in the search for a cure.

    We want to thank all of the participants for helping us to meet the major goals of the challenge and for providing fascinating glimpses into this 'invisible' world. Words can't express the satisfaction we feel in watching the variety, effort and creativity spread across the submitted imagery. The α-released software, massive models, and subject matter required considerable practice and research to handle, thus it thrills us to see 2,324 installations of the software, 85 entries, and dozens of masterful final entries. We are further encouraged to see film and 3D industry companies like Autodesk and CG Society supporting open-source scientific software development and look forward to continued collaborations. We hope that the general packing solutions of autoPACK will keep CG Artists, engineers and scientists engaged with each other and with the software and that users from diverse background will continue to explore the biological recipes provided through the interface as these cellPACK recipes continue to expand and improve.

    I want to thank all of the esteemed judges as well as the other developers: The cellPACK HIV model and autoPACK software are provided open-source by Art Olson's Molecular Graphics Lab at The Scripps Research Institute and by Graham Johnson's Mesoscope Lab at the University of California (qb3@UCSF). uPy host GU interfaces for autoPACK by Ludovic Autin."

    –Graham Johnson PhD


    The cellPACK HIV model and autoPACK software are provided open-source by Art Olson's Molecular Graphics Lab at The Scripps Research Institute and by Graham Johnson's Mesoscope Lab at the University of California (qb3@UCSF). uPy interfaces for autoPACK by Ludovic Autin.

     

    Christopher Harkins (Charkins) from Louisville, KY, USA wins the VIDEO First Prize for 'Anatomy of the HIV Virus'.





    Artist comments:
    I am ecstatic and honored by placing first. I really thought that I wouldn't place first because a lot of those submissions were really well done, obviously a lot of hard work and creativity behind them. I do hope this animation has educational value and will be used for some purpose other than winning the prize.

    I put in a great deal of effort on this challenge, more effort than I've ever put forth on a personal project. A lot of learning and flexing new muscles. I lost track of how many hours I put in, but much of the time was reworking and refining, a luxury I don't often get with most projects. I'm proud of this animation, I'm just so happy that it's being recognized! In the last days of the competition, it was stressful waiting on renders, hoping everything would come together on time, but overall it was a fun, rich experience. I'd love to do more medical animations in the future, a great blend of technical information and abstract illustrations.


    Judges' comments
    "Nice. Educational and well shot!” - A. Ward

    "A nice approach to a "Tour of HIV". The visuals are sumptuous and it succeeds in its goal to educate about virion structure." –D Goodsell

    "... this "110%" effort you put in should really make a huge difference when scientists watch this and it can now become a valuable teaching piece. Outstanding job to fit in the addition of the HIV RNA with only one week to go, especially since you had to go out to Blender to get it all working. I love the lens zoom effect and the thorough exploration of this early version of the autoPACK HIV model." – G. Johnson (host)

    Charkin’s AutoPACK Challenge page

    VIDEO FIRST PRIZE

    Autodesk - A choice of 1 full license for either Maya 2014 or 3ds Max 2014
    AutoDesk: US$2500 Cash
    Molecular Graphics Lab @ Scripps: 3D ZCorp print of the HIV in Blood Serum Model
    Ballistic Publishing – Utherworlds (hardcover)
    CGSociety - 12 months CGS CONNECT membership
    Ballistic Publishing – Massive Black Volume 2 (slipcase)
     


    Alexey Kashpersky (mrRIDDICK) from Poltava, UKRAINE and the small team wins the Image First Prize for 'Human Immunodeficiency Virus'.



    Artist comments:
    'Ths the first time I took part in a competition of such magnitude, and I’m very pleased my work is so highly appreciated! No, the word "pleased" cannot express all that range of emotions one feels at such moment. My wife, my parents feel proud of me. That is the very thing that is worth fighting for: to bring happiness to your loved ones.

    As for the artwork, in fact, I was pretty worried about its position among the works of other participants.
    Before I get started, I've learned a lot of materials, reviewed hundreds of photos, and studied the AutoPACK 3D model. How and what is there.
    And over some time realized that I had somehow change the initial "correct" form of HIV, in the direction of artistic exaggeration, since I did not want just to render a model, but to express in the form and shape the depth of the problem, and I decided to stop on this. Consciously decided to make an artistic exaggeration, but knowing that my work can cause a controversial reaction from respected judges. Because they DO know how real HIV looks like!



    I am very grateful to them for the fact that my thoughts and what I wanted to express in the form, in some way violating the "truth", understood and appreciated. This means I did it! I have express in this work the pain, suffering and fear of unknown, which in inconceivable tandem go hand in hand with physical beauty, light feelings of love and passion.


    I would like also to thank the organizers of this interesting contest as well as the authors autoPACK software. Thank you for having given such a wonderful opportunity to express our thoughts. I love the theme of microbiology, work in it, and if in the future here will be organized competitions on other similar subjects - I will take part in them, for sure! I'm also grateful to all the participants with whom we walked shoulder to shoulder during the competition. You were strong and worthy! Well done!



    Judges' comments
    The benchmark image as far as I'm concerned.” - 

    "Stunning and inspirational. I'm in awe. This is exactly the type of artistic engagement I was hoping the story of HIV could evoke. I'm thrilled to see artistic license used with such precise intent." – G. Johnson (host)  

    mrRIDDICK’s AutoPACK Challenge page

    Image Entry FIRST PRIZE

    Autodesk - Your choice of 1 full license for either Maya 2014 or 3ds Max 2014
    Autodesk: US$1,250 Cash
    Molecular Graphics Lab @ Scripps: 3D ZCorp print of the HIV in Blood Serum Model
    Ballistic Publishing – Utherworlds (hardcover)
    CGSociety - 12 months CGS CONNECT membership
    Ballistic Publishing – Massive Black Volume 2 (slipcase)
     

     

     

    Arik Thuesen (ScientiaViz) from Pleasant View, USA wins the VIDEO Second Prize for ''Targeting HIV"

     



     

    Artist's Comments: "Fantastic! Thank you for the good news! Firstly, congratulations to the other contestants; it's wonderful to see such a degree of interest and talent in this field. We are very pleased to have been awarded second place in this special challenge. We are grateful that CGSociety created a contest that focused on science/medicine and featured the autoPACK plugin. This combination of art and science is exciting! The team hadn't met before the competition; Arik is a professional animator, and the collaboration started when Dan (a biochemistry professor with little CG experience) answered Arik's post on the CGChallenge thread. We think we made a great team, and we hope our success will inspire other scientists and animators to work together. If you are looking for compelling stories, science is a inexhaustible resource. Timeline was tight on this project. We joined forces about four weeks from the deadline; not a lot of time to produce a complete, two-minute biomed animation which included script, voice-over, production, sound design, and post-production. Our goal was to produce an animation that combined the elements of humanity and science. With scientific accuracy and artistic beauty in mind, we tried to tell a story about HIV and feature the "HIV in Blood Serum" models provided by the autoPACK plugin. Thank you to the esteemed judges. It was an honor to be associated with you in such a wonderful contest. Finally, a big thank you to the sponsors for providing motivation and support for science animation.

    Judges' comments:

    "A perfect example of an educational video. Perhaps not appealing to the emotions,  but nicely executed for a classroom. Solid marks in aesthetics, and creativity--nothing earth-shaking, but well designed for the intended goal." –D Goodsell

    "A brilliant and successful example of a collaboration between a scientist and a digital artist. To generate such an informative and beautiful movie in such a short time seems incomprehensible. I applaud the thoroughness of the story, the beauty and efficacy of the visuals, and all of the added biology (like the drug binding dynamics). Its exciting to see both participants learn so much from one another." –G Johnson (host)
    ScientiaViz’s AutoPACK Challenge page



    Prizes: Video Entry 2ND PRIZE
    Autodesk - Your choice of 1 full license for either Maya 2014 or 3ds Max 2014
    AMD FirePro™ V7900 professional graphics card
    CGWorkshops - Your choice of 1 CGWorkshop
    Autodesk: US$250 Cash
    CGSociety - 12 months CGS CONNECT membership
    Ballistic Publishing – Massive Black Volume 2 (slipcase)
     

     

    Jiri Klusak (jiriklusak) from Svitavy, CZECH REPUBLIC wins the IMAGE Second Prize for his image.



    Artist comments:
    'Complex molecular landscape of key events in HIV lifecycle within blood serum: budding from dying T-Cell, maturation of HIV virion, attack of the immune system, finding and contact with the new host T-Cell, fusion with cell membrane and release of genetic material.


    I spent a lot of time creating and animating functional model of HIV, based on AutoPACK. Basically I constructed HIV recipe, replaced all geometries with particle systems and re-instanced with new protein models. That allowed me to control HIV model dynamics and easily store HIV lifecycle animations via particle caching. Blood serum model is based on particle system instanced with AutoPACK generated protein geometries of valid concentrations and density.

    For modelling of TCell interior I also exploited AutoPACK recipe for generic cytoplasm, added actin filaments and microtubules of different states and bilayer model with embeded proteins. Most of the AutoPACK HIV protein geometries were replaced using mMaya plugin. I also used Chimera during modelling of cellular scaffolding and especially to build GAG (GAG-Pol) molecules.

    Created with Autodesk Maya as primary weapon of choice.

    The goal was to depict my inner vision of dynamic and crowded molecular landscape and AutoPACK really convinced me to be an awesome tool for this purpose. Really appreciate your efforts, great job. Great challenge. I've been waiting for such opportunity for a very long time.

     

    Judges' comments:
    "This is an inspirational example of what can be done with the software and models placed in the hands of a master of art and science. I'm very impressed that you pulled all of the software together into such a powerful tool set. The image is dazzling, informative, and thorough. I really hope you will finish the video versions that you put so much effort into as well... looks like you're very close!" –G Johnson (host)

    jiriklusak’s AutoPACK Challenge page

    Image Entry Second Prize wins:
    The AMD FirePro™ V5900 professional graphics card
    CGWorkshops - Your choice of 1 CGWorkshop
    Autodesk: $250 Cash
    CGSociety - 12 months CGS CONNECT membership
    Ballistic Publishing – Massive Black Volume 2 (slipcase)

     

  •  



    Adrian Brown (serab) from Brisbane, AUSTRALIA wins the VIDEO THIRD Prize for his video.






    Artist Comments:
    "Thank you so much! It was a great process for me and taught me a lot. Like every job however I would love the chance to go back and do some things differently.
    At first I was kind of just tinkering with the model using AutoPACK and 3ds Max 2013. I played with creating more detailed versions of the individual molecules but found that the detail was far too visually complex. Then I started toying with a kind of construction sequence labelling the parts but quickly found that it was becoming boring and overly technical.

    So I took a step back and did some reading about HIV / AIDS. I knew before I started this that HIV was a big problem but was quite struck by the way that it was mostly impacting less fortunate countries. Mostly due to the lack of awareness and also lack of decent medical facilities.

    It was then that I finally came up with the whole red ribbon concept. I thought of it as a 30 second commercial that would help make people aware of World Aids Day. I did a rough story board and got stuck into it. Unfortunately by now I only had four weeks left. I was only working on it on weekends and after work so it was a bit of a rush to the end.

    I was seriously impressed with the way MassFX performed in Max 2013. I re-created the HIV virion using particle flow including a new custom lipid layer. I then set up the collisions using a collapsed version of the entire HIV virion (about 20,000 individual objects each). It only took a few minutes to bake each collision. In the end the only thing I would have liked to spend more time on was post production. Thank you to all the sponsors including Autodesk, AutoPACK and CGSociety.
    "

    Judges' comments:

    "The storytelling is perfect, and of, all the entries, I feel it would be the most effect for spreading interest, and awareness about HIV infection. Very strong in emotional impact, educational ability, aesthetics and creativity. All the pieces came, together for me in this one." –D Goodsell
    "Well done! I'm a huge fan of the submarine camera in these molecular environments- been experimenting with it for years myself, but with your lighting and skilled camera moves (and mystery/suspense), you really took it to another level. Great editorial piece- you really stepped up to the full description of the challenge! I love the brilliant scan transition from "semi-realistic" structural biology to the very editorial physics. This piece gives me chills and would make a perfect Public Service Announcement commercial
    " –G. Johnson (host)
    serab’s AutoPACK Challenge page



    Autodesk: $250 Cash
    Ballistic Publishing – Utherworlds (hardcover)
    CGSociety - 12 months CGS CONNECT membership



    Deshu Diosh (deshu) from Warsaw, POLAND wins the IMAGE THIRD Prize for 'Highly Infantile Visualisation - of blood serum'.

     



    Artist comments:
    "Hello! It's a great pleasure to read such a good email this morning! I am extremely proud and excited, as this is first time I win prize in a graphics competition. I really liked the topic and can't wait for the next CGChallenge."

     

    Judges comments:
    "I really dig this style! Great editorial visual (though I had interpreted the image differently– to mean that one day society will have an injectable drug that can clean the blood of HIV.) Amazing work." –G. Johnson (host).

    deshu’s AutoPACK Challenge page

    Image Entry THIRD PRIZE
    Autodesk: $250 Cash
    Ballistic Publishing – Utherworlds (hardcover)
    CGSociety - 12 months CGS CONNECT membership

     


    Monica Zoppe (MonZop) from Pisa, ITALY wins the VIDEO FOURTH Prize for her VIDEO.




    Judges' comments:
    "I really liked the intro 'safari' scene on the cell surface, sound effects worked well" –A Ward

    "Excellent job pulling this together. Its great to see what BioBlender and a dedicated team can add to the story." –G. Johnson (host).

    Autodesk: US$250 Cash

     


    Andrew McWhae (bistor) from Calgary, AL, CANADA wins the IMAGE FOURTH Prize for his image.



    Artist's comments:
    "My process was as follows:I imported several phosphatidylserines (POPs) from pdb files using the ePMV plugin and created surface mesh approximations. I then used PFlow in 3ds max to distribute them about the surface of a cutaway sphere. This took a lot of RAM and even more patience as there were tens of thousands of instances. This method didn't room for the transmembrane proteins, so I was going to mask them out manually but I ran out of time (due to midterms and such). It looks like the autopack software is going to do that automatically, which is pretty cool. So, the lipid composition isn't 100% accurate (other types of phospholipids are present too) and I had to approximate the molecular size, but I'm fairly pleased with the result."


    Judges' comments:
    "Classic 'anatomy of HIV' picture, nicely rendered. This could go into any, textbook." –D Goodsell
    "Amazing work on the bilayer. Its great to see a close representation of the raw autoPACK model polished, staged, and lit!" –G. Johnson (host)


    Molecular Graphics Lab @ Scripps: 3D ZCorp print of the HIV in Blood Serum Model


    Vuk Nikolic (vuknik) from Belgrade, SERBIA wins the VIDEO FIFTH Prize for their video.




    Artist's comments:
    "You will have more from me in the future. Thanks to Graham's plug-ins and inspiration from Goodsell's illustrations, I am becoming very passionate about depicting the molecular world, so this scientific community can expect from me some hopefully very interesting and accurate projects in the near future. I was working some very late hours to complete this project while fighting with my extremely busy schedule so it was really sad that I had to submit an improperly-completed animation. However, I put significant effort into this project, so I am very pleased and honored to have been selected for a prize among such excellent submissions.

    Special thanks to my wife Kristin for helping me with the scientific text, and for the help from Aleksander Petrovic and Janko Radovanovic with the audio on very short notice.
    "

    Judges' comments:
    "I really REALLY like that stop-motion style. Its a subtle yet genius connection that makes for a perfect transition to the bizarre physics of the molecular world. Well done remixing that music in under four days!" –G. Johnson (host).

    AMD FirePro™ V4900 professional graphics card
    CGSociety - 12 months CGS CONNECT membership


     

    VIDEO

    Dale Suttle (BDF) from New York, USA gets an Honorary Mention for his video.

    Shamin Reza (razee01) from Dhaka, BANGLADESH gets an Honorary Mention for his video.

    Samuel Hertig (samhertig) from Burgdorf, SWITZERLAND gets an Honorary Mention for his video.

    Luis Azuaje (LuisAzuaje) gets an Honorary Mention for his video.

    IMAGE

    Dan Gurnon (Thorium) from the USA gets an Honorary Mention for hisimage.

    Heather McDonald (hm22) from Arlington, VA USA gets an Honorary Mention for her image.

    Jonatan Cwiakalski (Jonatan-Moonchild) from Wroclaw, POLAND gets an Honorary Mention for his image.

    Pter Milerski (Milerski) from Trinec, CZECH REPUBLIC gets an Honorary Mention for his image.

    Alhaitham Jassar (Jassar) from Atlanta, GA, USA gets an Honorary Mention for his image.

    Klemens Neumann (Crush) from Berlin, GERMANY gets an Honorary Mention for his image.




     

     

     


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