Tech Showcase

Friday, July 21 | 3:15 – 5:30 pm

3D Animation Pipeline Efficiency

Michael Hickman will demonstrate methods to help streamline and optimize 3D animation production, especially as they pertain to a team environment. He will give an overview of a full 3D animation project showcasing procedures and workflows that can shorten production time and boost long-term productivity. Examples will be shown that cover the 3D pipeline my group uses for daily production. He will focus on broad concepts and simple, actionable tasks that can cut down on wasted or repetitive time and demonstrate streamlined methods of how 3D projects can be set up, prepared for rendering, and composited. The talk will showcase numerous tips and tricks, plus he’ll field questions. Although the software demoed will be with Maya, Fusion, and some After Effects, the broad overview of concepts, project efficiency, and consistency are the main takeaways that you can potentially apply to your 3D own workflow. Many of these concepts may especially be valuable in a team environment. Some of the tasks shown will focus on optimizations, automation, databases, camera rigs, render submission, compositing, distributing assets, compositing techniques, and others as they are requested. By the end, hopefully you will have some inspiration for some of what is possible to improve your team’s 3D production process.

Learning Objectives: Gain insights into setting up more automation within a 3D animation pipeline; Identify ways to shorten 3D production time; Review compositing practices for 3D animation; Observe common art techniques for 3D animation production

Keywords: CG Pipeline, animation, 3D production, compositing, HDR, Technical Director, tools, high-speed, efficiency, Fusion, Maya, After Effects

About the Presenter

Michael Hickman is a Senior Technical 3D Artist at Barrow Neurological Institute with over 23 years of animation and industry experience. His primary roles include providing technical direction for his colleagues regarding technology especially for 3D graphics, automation, and IT subjects. He programs animation production tools, researches and implements new workflows, and provides technical support. Previously, he was a medical animator for 20 years where he has produced over 1000 medical animations and 1000 illustrations for neurosurgical journals, books, brochures, multimedia projects, engineering proposals, websites, and educational television shows. He has published graphics articles and webinars for journals, communities, and online events. He earned a bachelors degree from Arizona State University in 2002, specializing in 3D animation and graphics.


Action Scripting in Action! Transforming Your Photoshop and Illustrator Workflow

Carolina Hrejsa will show how action scripting can be used to customize and automate repetitive tasks in Photoshop and Illustrator, which can save time and increase productivity. Any workflow that cannot be achieved using recorded actions can most likely be written as a script using JavaScript programing language. Examples of actions include resizing, converting to different file formats, trimming artboards, applying watermarks or patterns, applying filters, color adjustments, and more. Multistep processes could be run over a folder using the batch feature, letting you walk away and grab a coffee while Adobe preps hundreds of images for you. Not just for file prepping, consider using action scripts in creative ways such as repeating a style, playing with color palettes, or cleaning up a messy file.

Learning Objectives: Learn how to record and edit actions, and write scripts in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to automate and customize various tasks; Apply Actionscripting techniques to improve workflow and increase productivity, such as applying watermarks, resizing, or batch exporting a large number of files; Explore and experiment with unique and creative ways of using ActionScripting to solve design problems in unexpected ways.

Keywords: Adobe Creative Cloud, Javascript, Workflow

About the Presenter

Carolina Hrejsa, MS, CMI is a lead medical illustrator and project manager at Body Scientific International and an adjunct instructor at University of Illinois at Chicago, teaching an undergraduate course Intro to Life Science Visualization. With over a decade of experience in publishing, she has streamlined file prep using custom actions and scripts. She is a self-proclaimed Photoshop Master and wants to share how recording actions is a secret weapon for fast and consistent productivity.


Animated Graphical Abstracts

Dr. Levent Efe will present to the audience this new format of Animated Graphical Abstracts. These short, looping GIF animations are are an effective add-on to journal article and textbook illustration projects. Animated abstracts are being appreciated and widely used by his author and publisher clients in their social media handles for the past year. The abstracts are meant to depict a short glimpse of the core message to promote the relevant article or textbook.

Learning Objectives: Promoting a new technique as an additional revenue stream for medical illustrators

Keywords: Animated Graphical Abstracts; Graphical Abstracts

About the Presenter

Dr. Levent Efe, CMI, is a Melbourne based medical illustrator specializing in the depiction of surgical procedures.


Figma for Scientific Visualization

Figma is an agile user interface design tool adored by the tech industry for its real-time, browser-based collaborative features. It is used conventionally for the design and prototyping of interactive media, yet many of its features translate seamlessly into static and animated projects. In this tech showcase, Shay Saharan and Amy Zhang will demonstrate both conventional and unconventional use-cases for Figma in the context of scientific visualization. Attendees will leave the session with a new tool in their toolbox that can transform their workflow for static, animated, and interactive scientific visualization projects.

Learning Objectives: After participating in this session, attendees should be able to use Figma effectively for conventional and unconventional use-cases in scientific visualization, specifically in interactive prototyping, figure production, design documentation, storyboarding, and collaboration between teams and clients; evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using Figma for specific projects/scenarios; identify when and how they can integrate Figma into their existing practice.

Keywords: Figma, Design Tool, Workflow, Collaboration

About the Presenters

Shehryar (Shay) Saharan is a Toronto-based scientific visualizer & designer. As founder of award-winning ss design studio, he works with organizations at the intersection of science, medicine, and technology such as Digizyme, Boston Scientific & Switch Health to communicate complex concepts through impactful and memorable visualizations. He is also Assistant Professor at the Master of Science in Biomedical Communications program at the University of Toronto, instructing courses in visualization technologies and interactive design. Shay uses Figma on a daily basis for all sorts of projects, ranging from pre-production for animations to prototyping interactive educational experiences!

Ke Er (Amy) Zhang is a scientifically-minded illustrator passionate about human-centred design. She contributes to visual projects that foster an appreciation and understanding of science as a Research Associate in the Science Visualization Lab at the University of Toronto as well as a Knowledge Visualization Specialist at the Public Health Agency of Canada. Figma is Amy’s go-to design and presentation tool for individual and collaborative projects.

Increasing the Accuracy of Molecular Visualization with Molecular Maya (mMaya)

This Tech Showcase will give participants an overview of the latest tools and techniques in Molecular Maya (mMaya), a software that enables the rapid and intuitive creation of structurally accurate and simulation-ready macromolecular models and cellular environments. Specifically, Gael McGill and Jonathan Khao will demonstrate how mMaya was used to model several conformational intermediates of the SARS CoV-2 Spike and simulate the membrane fusion process (a coarse-grained simulation they recently published in Science and subsequently validated in Science Advances). They will also describe how they use mMaya to create vast cellular landscapes based on a variety of structural and microscopy datasets. Combining production case studies with live software demos, this presentation should be of relevance and interest to anyone who creates static or animated molecular imagery.

Learning Objectives: After participating in this session, attendees will be familiar with the core functionalities of mMaya as well as its more recent capabilities and advanced kits for molecular modeling, rigging and simulation; have a detailed understanding of the mechanisms involved in SARS CoV-2 spike-driven membrane fusion; learn to overcome production challenges in molecular visualization and increase the accuracy of their molecular models, rigs and animations.

Keywords: molecular visualization, cellular visualization, animation, software, Maya, Molecular Maya, mMaya, conformational changes, cellular landscapes, rigging, simulation, molecular dynamics, SARS CoV-2, Spike, membrane fusion

About the Presenters

Dr. Gael McGill is faculty and Director of Molecular Visualization at the Center for Molecular and Cellular Dynamics at Harvard Medical School where his teaching and research focuses on visualization design in science education ( He is also founder & CEO of Digizyme, Inc. ( a firm dedicated to the visualization and communication of science, creator of the scientific visualization portal and the Molecular Maya (mMaya) software toolkit. Dr. McGill co-authored and served as digital director for E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth iBooks biology textbook, and currently writes and presents on issues of preserving biodiversity and sustainable engineering as part of his work with the United Nations ( Dr. McGill was also a board member of the Vesalius Trust and remains an advisor to several biopharmaceutical companies.

Dr. Jonathan Khao is a Scientific Animator and Programmer at Digizyme, Inc. After completing a B.Sc. in Mathematics and Computer Science and an M.Sc. in Bioinformatics, Structural Biology and Genomics at the University of the Mediterranean (France), Jonathan continued to work at the interface of computer science and biology and obtained his Ph.D. using molecular dynamics simulations to study the mutual influence of membrane proteins and their environment. Jonathan joined Digizyme in 2013 and has been the lead Molecular Maya developer since mid-2017.

Open Mic: Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator

Sarah Faris will lead the first of its kind at the AMI Tech Showcase: a one-hour organic Open Mic sharing session! No file prep needed, spontaneity and humor welcomed! Pick up something new, share what you know, and level up your professional 2D illustration skills with Adobe PS and AI. While sharing, consider contributing your artistic prowess to a collaborative “Franken-file” that could be donated to support the Vesalius Trust. A digital sign-up sheet with 10 minute time slots is available here. Sarah will get the presentations started, will fill in any unclaimed time.

Learning Objectives: Participants will increase their ability to evaluate and assess efficient and meaningful workflows for digital illustration; develop an increased awareness of software applications to production of medical illustrations; demonstrate their knowledge of digital imaging software through exchange with the professional community.

Keywords: Techniques, Tech, Showcase, Tech Showcase, Techniques Showcase, Open Mic, Photoshop, PS, Illustrator, AI, Adobe, digital drawing, digital illustration, digital painting, 2D illustration

About the Presenter

Sarah Faris, MA, CMI (JHU ’07) is a medical illustrator for Patient Education at Mayo Clinic, and a the sole proprietor of SciMed Studios. She has cultivated a professional practice dedicated to the dignity and respect of all peoples, and is inspired by the power of visual communications to illuminate the nature of our physical bodies. Sarah recently relocated to Rochester, Minnesota from Richmond, Virginia, with her partner, Ricky, after a professional transition from teaching and research at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2022.