Biomedical Visualization on Chicago News

So exciting! Biomedical Visualization at UIC was presented on the CBS 2 Chicago News this evening. Program Director, Scott Barrows and students Leslie White and Michaela Calhoun (with a cameo by Erin Stevens) were interviewed for the newscast. I think they did a great job showing what we do in our unique program. Props!

Furthermore, the newscasters seemed quite impressed with our unusual skill set, calling us "Renaissance men and women, like Leonardo da Vinci for this century". You can see a video of the newscast by CLICKING HERE or checking out the article HERE!

More news about our program and the people in it. Three Biomedical Visualization students, myself included, were selected as winners and finalists in UIC's 2010 "Image of Research" competition. Congrats to me, Lindsey Brake and Annie Campbell! Take a look HERE!

Hands off! to H1N1. Finalist in UIC's Image of Research. Lindsey Pionek. 2010. Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.


As you can tell....

I have been pretty busy. My apologies for lack of posting recently. It's time to get back in the saddle and start again. As for today, here's a quick update with what I have been doing:

  • Working on my project research so I can graduate this semester
  • Freaking out a bit about graduation because I have a TON left to do
  • Wishing that I didn't have a slump in the middle of the semester; I would be so much farther along
  • Kicking butt in Illustrator and taking names
  • Searching, applying, and researching jobs (Any advertising companies hiring creatives in Chicago?)
  • Have a new portfolio domain name and built the website from scratch in 3 days (see screenshot at top)
  • lindseypionekdesigns.com
  • Became a Twitter freak (it's much faster than blog posts [though I do love blogging] and I have been learning much from individuals I am following (you can see a small feed on the right)
  • Workin' it at my GA
  • Found out for my 16 hours I work, I have to commute 8 additional hours (no wonder why I feel like I have no time. However, I love my apartment location)
  • Started a running program
  • Only to have it delayed by badly rolling my ankle 5 days after by missing a few steps (graceful, I know)
  • Finally, after 2 weeks the bruising and swelling is almost gone
  • Spent Easter with my cousin grilling out
  • Bought my graduation dress, even though I haven't heard anything about buying robes
  • Realized that tourists come out of the woodwork when its above 70F in Chicago
  • Refusing to pay for heat anymore because it has been too expensive for my taste
  • Sketched out a Dachshund (one of my dogs) and manually drew every bone in their little bodies for a project about canine Intervertebral Disk Disease
So there you go, a little update on what I have been up to. I have a few graphic design pieces that I completed that I will be posting in the next day or two.

Lindsey Pionek Designs home page. Lindsey Pionek. 2010. Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and Dreamweaver.


Careers by Colors?

I was a little skeptical at first, but I appreciate and am captured by psychological theory of color, so I wanted to try it. I was just perusing the Internet (which if you haven't figured out yet, I do often and find a lot of interesting things, medical or not.) and I came to a career-oriented web page that has a link to CareerPath's Color Counselor. I'm also starting to look for a job, so I thought this would be appropriate to try and a good use of my time. Turns out my color choices match me with the career that I am heading towards! At least I'm on the right track, now I just need to get one when I graduate. Take a look at my results below:

Best Occupational Category
You're a CREATOR


Nonconforming, Impulsive, Expressive, Romantic, Intuitive, Sensitive, and Emotional

These original types place a high value on aesthetic qualities and have a great need for self-expression. They enjoy working independently, being creative, using their imagination, and constantly learning something new. Fields of interest are art, drama, music, and writing or places where they can express, assemble, or implement creative ideas.

Suggested careers are Advertising Executive, Architect, Web Designer, Creative Director, Public Relations, Fine or Commercial Artist, Interior Decorator, Lawyer, Librarian, Musician, Reporter, Art Teacher, Broadcaster, Technical Writer, English Teacher, Architect, Photographer, Medical Illustrator, Corporate Trainer, Author, Editor, Landscape Architect, Exhibit Builder, and Package Designer.

Consider workplaces where you can create and improve beauty and aesthetic qualities. Unstructured, flexible organizations that allow self-expression work best with your free-spirited nature.

Suggested Creator workplaces are advertising, public relations, and interior decorating firms; artistic studios, theaters and concert halls; institutions that teach crafts, universities, music, and dance schools. Other workplaces to consider are art institutes, museums, libraries, and galleries.

If you want to try this out for yourselves and haven't went through the links above, click HERE.

Photo courtesy of designontheline.com. Color Wheel.


Do You Enjoy 3D Modeling?

Cinema 4D tutorial - Balls Mapping from Smearballs on Vimeo.

Need a tutorial? Though I'm no fan of working with 3D modeling programs, I thought this was fantastic. If you ever thought "Hmmm, I wonder how I can create a realistic scrotum in 3D", look no further! Here you have a step-by-step tutorial on how to build and texture a pair. This guy knows what he's doing and has some very funny narration to go with. Even if you don't do 3D it is worth watching.

That's all I have to say with this one. Enjoy!


The Branding Process Part 4: Website

Finally, the last part of the branding process, at least in this case, is the creation of a website to promote individuals to get on the web to check out the brand and/or the product for more information. With the Internet playing a big part in society today, individuals would look at you like you were crazy if you did not have a website that they could check out. Since most individuals would identify with the print advertising, I wanted the website to work with the approachable and friendly-looking characters as well. Though this is just the design of the entrance and a supplementary page, I would want this website to be dynamic and have Flash or Java functionality. This would easier to explain the front page. My idea is that the friendly cells would pop up on the screen and when you hover over them, they would enlarge and the voice bubble would pop up displaying which main page the cell would navigate you to. In this example, you could click on the one being hovered over and the next loaded page would be the "About Promeaga" page. The branding standards that I have created are followed with the website as well and is easily identifiable as a brand. What do you think?

Promeaga website design index and about page. 2009. Lindsey Pionek. Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop CS4.


Visit with a Netter

When it comes to explaining what I do in grad school, the most common response other than "Oh, so you draw guts!" is "Like Netter, right?" Instead of getting the blank stare when I elaborate (We can do A LOT more than just illustration if you haven't figured that out yet.), I usually just say yes and go on my way. This past Friday, the UIC Biomedical Visualization graduate program welcomed Frank Netter's daughter, Francine, to have a talk about her famous father. She explained to the crowd Frank's childhood and how he was interested in art, and naturally good at it, at a young age. He started out with humble beginnings and a strong influence from his mother to become a doctor, though he preferred art. They came to an agreement that he could study art at the National Academy of Design if he promised to go to medical school in the future.

After Frank's mother passed away, he gave up art to follow his mother's dream for him and went into medicine. When studying, he realized that subjects were learned much faster when drawings were made, as did his peers and professors. When he was done with school and working at Mt. Sinai hospital, the Depression came forth and health care was unfortunately too expensive for most, so few patients came in for care. To keep him from being bored, and to make money to survive, he went back to his art by creating illustrations for medicine. Like many individuals starting out in the art field, he began with low wages, but when he was able to increase his charges (even more than he was expecting as well because of a miscommunication of a series of illustrations he was going to do for a total of $1500, but client responded and agreed to $1500 for each illustration), devoted himself to create images of science.

At the beginning of his formal medical illustration career war shook the world. Instead of being drafted, Frank volunteered for the Army and was set up in a studio by the Army Medical Museum. Though bored at first, he was later contacted to redesign the Army's First Aid Manual to make user-friendly as Francine mentioned that it was a huge clunky book that did not do much help when in the field. He make the book a small size and filled it primarily with his illustrations (which by the way were painted by students at the Society of Illustrators in New York, because Frank was unable to do because that was considered manual labor which an officer of the army was unable to do). With the much-needed benefit of a hand-held reference, Frank was assigned to create more on other subjects such as survival in the arctics and tropics.

When the war was over and was done with his service, CIBA contacted Frank t0 create medical illustrations for medical pamphlets which were later comprised in a book and sold out completely for two printing sessions. With the demand from this project, Frank was asked to illustrate the entire human body in a series of atlases of the systems of the body. Though Frank estimated it would take him 10 years to complete, it ended up taking up the rest of his life. As I have realized myself, creating art always takes longer than expected.

Hearing Frank's story from his daughter was very inspiring to hear and see. His life, her life growing up being around his work, his process of work, and seeing his sketches was helpful and educational. I am very happy that I allowed time in my day to experience this talk about one of the well-known medical illustrators.

Photo courtesy of mesotheliomacg.com. Anterior view of lungs in situ. 1995. Frank Netter.


Skating Skeleton?

On the Vancouver Olympics broadcast last night male short program took the stage. Though I prefer female figure skating, it was fun to see and analyze the interesting costumes. Feathers, pleather, sequins, pink, mesh, spandex, you name it. It was all there.

Then Belgian Kevin Van Der Perren came to the rink in an skeleton-inspired one piece. Though not anatomically correct in the least bit, the costume got my uniform pick of the night (well, as well as Johnny Weir :D ).

Not based on anatomy, or costume for that matter, but now about another Lindsey. Unfortunately, all the apprehension around Lindsey Jacobellis and her competition in Olympic snowboard cross is over. If you did not know, she was way in the lead during the snowboard cross competition in the Torino Winter Olympics and was this close to gold, until she pulled a method in the second to the last jump and fell to lose first place and receive silver. Four year later at a new Olympics, she was ready to redeem herself. Unfortunately, Lindsey lost her balance in the semifinal round and veered through an out-of-bounds gate, automatically disqualifying her. She has the talent, that's for sure, but the poor girl doesn't seem to have luck on her side when it comes to competing in the Olympics. My heart goes out to her.

Photo courtesy of thebiglead.com and zita.be. Kevin Van der Perren performing short program at 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. 2010.


The Branding Process Part 3: Print Advertising

Now that the logo was created to easily identify the brand/product, advertising is the next step. A company may have an awesome product with a fantastic logo, but without advertising no one would know about it. That doesn't help much, does it?

My thought process behind creating the print ad series was to create something approachable with plenty of open space to entice individuals to stop and take a look at the ad and encourage them to find out more. I made the cell characters to reflect the textual content included, the simplified way Promeaga works, and to make the ad welcoming as well as a bit humorous. I decided to have them as the main focus with lots of white space to keep the ad clean and in contrast from other ads (You have seen them. Many are so bright, content-filled, and busy to attract the consumers' eyes that they look like the many other ads and completely lose purpose because of this.). The logo is clean, modern, and a bit carefree so I wanted that to be expressed in the ad as well through the design and the colors used.

So there you have it. Full, half, and quarter page ads.

Promeaga ad series. Lindsey Pionek. 2009. Adobe Illustrator and InDesign CS4.


A Bothered Valentine's Day

Jimmy Fallon/Robert Pattinson/Edward Cullen have something to say about Valentine's Day. Take a look and you will get a bit of anatomy with it!

Happy Valentine's Day to singles and couples alike!

Video courtesy of hulu.com. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon "Bothered Valentine's Day" skit. 2010.


Tribute to McQueen

Alexander McQueen - Plato's Atlantis from SHOWstudio on Vimeo.

It came as quite a shock to me to hear about the death of (Lee) Alexander McQueen's death. He was one of my favorite designers, though I am unable to afford his work. His shock-and-awe factor and how he pushed the envelope in the fashion world, as well as his references in anatomy and Darwin's Origin of the Species, provided me with inspiration and appreciation for symbolism and the thought process behind creating art. So in ode of one creative genius, I provide you with a few anatomical designs by Alexander McQueen.

Photos courtesy of bagbliss.com, prmtvemag.blogspot.com, and thefashionmomma.com. Skull Knuckle Duster Whipsnake Clutch, Leather Toe Pump, and Signature Skull Scarf. Alexander McQueen.


Earthquake in Northern Illinois

Yep, that's right. If you haven't heard already heard, at 4 A.M. this morning there was a 4.3 (or 3.8 mentioned by other sources) earthquake 50 miles northwest of Chicago. I have had some friends in the area feel it, but me? Not a chance! I live off of a busy street so I'm used to buses, emergency vehicles, utility trucks, etc, so I automatically block out the sound and the occasional rumbling that accompanies. Plus, I have been known to sleep through my bell alarm clock until it shuts itself off from ringing for an hour. I sleep like a rock, so a little rumbling will not do anything to me. Thankfully, it was so small that it was not dangerous quake, but it would have been cool to experience.

You may be thinking that have an earthquake in the Midwest is weird and I would have thought so too. However, after a bit of research this morning, this is the third earthquake in the area since 1999. It has been quite an interesting few days with natural events. It finally stopped snowing after two days of constant flakes and an earthquake on top of it? Interesting, interesting.

Photo courtesy of BBC.org. Illustration of earthquake mode of action.

The Branding Process: Part 2

Above is the logo chosen with the color and text choices that made the cut. I have a few reasons why I chose this logo above the others:

- The modern design reflects the characteristic of Promeaga be a "new" and revolutionary drug.
- The center ovals of the logo symbolize a cell with a nucleus which is the level that the drug performs at.
- The outer loop of the logo has a whimsical look. This was added to create an approachable and "take action" feel. It was made to look like someone took a marker and circled the cell; the way that Promeaga works. The negative space that interrupts this loop heightens this take action aura and creates interest.
- The logo looks like an abstract target, one of the key words and ways that Promeaga works in the body.

Adding the brand name to the logo was the next step. As you can see from the examples, I wanted to use a san-serif font to mimic the clean and modern feel of the logo. I ended up with a thin, rounded san-serif named VAG Rounded in title case which worked well with the roundness of the logo and the way the letters created even more circles in the brand name.

Lastly, color is added to the logo. Color is very important in the branding process. Colors aren't just chosen to make the logo pretty, there is a large amount of psychology and symbolism behind each and every color. I have always been interested in color psychology, so choosing colors was an enjoyable task. The orange-red gradient and the vibrant light blue were chosen with aesthetic and psychological purposes. The blue signifies a state of disease, yet the shade of blue does not look dangerous or grotesque. The orange is a very vibrant and active color, but after some more research, I found that the color orange stimulates the immune system. This works for this logo since Promeaga doesn't compromise the immune system, yet is able to rid the body of cancerous cells. In the end, the final logo is modern, optimistic and approachable; exactly what I wanted this pharmaceutical drug is to represent.

Logo color and typography concepts and final Promeaga logo design. 2009. Lindsey Pionek. Adobe Illustrator CS4.


The Branding Process: Part 1

In the process of (finally) presenting all of my work from the past semester, here is the first part of my branding assignments from my Advanced Graphic Design class with Donna Hughes. The first part of the branding process was logo development. A logo should embody an organization or product, therefore a designer should dedicate an ample amount of time in research. Donna taught us this by requiring us to complete a few forms, which included a product identity, as well as filling out a concepting matrix, which included word, image, and color association list. I decided to create a logo for an imaginary pharmaceutical drug, Promeaga. Why? I didn't want to mimic anything on the market, recreate present branding, and most importantly, I wanted to put myself in a real-life situation with creating a new logo. Let's take a look at the process with the Promeaga logo.

Product Identity
Name of product: Promeaga (Echinomycin doxorubictin)

What exactly does the product do?
Promeaga is a cancer suppressant pharmaceutical that successfully repairs the human p53 gene, the transcription factor that prevent genome mutation by initiating apoptosis (premeditated cell death). In most cancers this transcription factor is mutated, therefore Promeaga would be able to restore the function of apoptosis in cancer patients, providing a better chance of restoring normal function in cancer patients.

Describe the industry of which the product is a part.
Promeaga is part of the new findings and experimentation of Merck & Co. Merck & Co is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The Company devotes extensive e fforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines, but help deliver them to the people who need them.

How does the product fit in this industry? What is unique about it that sets it apart from others in the market? What is similar that keeps it competitive within the market?)
Promeaga is the first product to benefit cancer patients of all kinds without the negative e ffects of chemotherapy. This drug provides a step ahead towards the actual cure for cancer. Though this drug is not the cure-all, Promeaga targets the transcription factor that initiates apoptosis, which stops the mutated cells from multiplying and make the cancer deadly. With the death of cancer-causing cells, there is a better chance of survival normal functioning cells and the patient. This drug, as beneficial as it is, is one step closer to the cure for cancer, though it does not fully provide society with the cure for cancer. Therefore, there is a sufficient amount of research yet to be done by pharmaceutical companies to find the cure.

Audience Profile Who is the audience (end user) for the product? Describe their personality as a group.
The audience in for patients with all types of cancer that would like to see an alternative to treatment other than chemotherapy. They are likely very sick and exhausted from dealing with their cancer. The patients will most likely be happy to know that there is a better treatment option than chemotherapy, and one that could potentially cure many of numerous types of cancers. Cancer patients tend to be hopeful through their treatment and are more willing to try new procedures. They want to rid themselves of the cancer with as little pain and su ffering as possible.

What is the accepted/preferred visual language of the audience? Research example of what they are used to seeing and what is successful in communicating with them.
The visual language for cancer patients follows a positive outlook for curing cancer. Though the drugs and therapies are not highly advertised, organizations for all types of cancer show images of hope, love, family, strength, life. All imagery is active and positive. Though the audience is faced with the possibility of a shortened life, the advertising takes them away from this to keep them positive during their treatment and not willing to give up on their battle.

What is the primary message you want the audience to receive about the product? (This should be a simple, clear answer—one concise sentence.)
Promeaga provides cancer patients with more hope and promise than any other cancer treatment.

What is the secondary message you want the audience to receive about the product?
Promeaga gives cancer patients their lives back by providing a more comfortable treatment.

After product identity was in place, I was able to go to the concepting matrix. Though this matrix did not have to be followed, it is a fantastic tool for experimentation and spurring thought and creativity. Afterwards, I worked on thumbnails of possible logo ideas in black and white. Below are images of these worksheets as well as a my top choices for the final logo. Which one do you think I chose to finish?


Someone had a little too much fun with the Blur tool...

While taking a break and catching up on my latest celebrity gossip, I tripped over a slide show on the most shocking photo re-touching of celebrities from Newsweek. As mentioned in yesterday's post, Photoshop is an incredible tool for photographers. However, when you are pasting celebrities on the cover of fitness magazines and talking about body confidence or how they "never work out", and smooth away the bumps, lumps, and take off a dress size, how legit can that be? Everyday people try to attain this beauty and can't attain them even with hard work. Society has brought about this level of perfection, which seems isn't even able to be achieved by the celebrities themselves! Is is wrong for them to want people to see how they really are? Is it a career killer to have flaws like everyone else does?

Now don't get me wrong, I love Photoshop and I expect for there to be retouching in the media. Who wouldn't want some images of themselves touched up a bit to make themselves look better or even be put in better lighting? However, I think there is a line on what should be done when the individual is supposed to look natural and real. Glamour shots, artistic photo shoots, and advertising where fantasy is to be mimicked, I get it, understand it, appreciate it and yes, sometimes enjoy it for the image they they created, however does Faith Hill really have to have her arms thinned? Please take a look at the slide show to see even more blunders here.

Photo courtesy of TheBlueThing.com. Faith Hill Redbook Photoshop Before and After. Rebook magazine cover July 2007.


Birthday Suit

Happy birthday to me! Yep, today is my 24th birthday. Though I am choosing to be alone tonight in my apartment working on homework, don't fret, I had a great day. I was surprised at work today when my fellow co-workers came in with a personalized chocolate cake with a brownie and candles glowing on top. I was so surprised and it made my day. You guys are great and the cake was fantastic too (Especially since otherwise I wouldn't have had one. Buying a cake when you live alone doesn't last long!).

Today is the only the beginning. Tomorrow will be a celebration with friends new and old around Chicago. I have a new party dress and I'm going to rock it no matter how cold it is outside. Then the rest of the weekend my family is coming to the city. My entire immediate family are coming down: Mom, Dad, my brother and my cute, precious, funny little dogs, Molly and Duke, will be here. We don't have any concrete plans yet, but I know it will be fantastic. Let the birthday celebration begin!

In honor of my birthday, above is a Photoshop-manipulated image appropriately named Birthday Suit. This image was created by photographer Mike Stowe who took a beautiful image of the female body and manipulated it to create a interesting, stunning and shocking piece of art. It is wonderful to see how powerful Photoshop can be. Though it reminds me quite a bit of Ed Gein, a serial killer who lived in the town ten mere minutes away from my hometown, the image is well done and holds my attention; what art should be.

Photo courtesy of Photo.net. Birthday Suit. Mike Stowe. 2008. Photoshop.


My First Animation

After a blogging hiatus (I'm sorry everyone who follows!), here it is. That final animation. That animation that owned me for the entire semester. I worked hard, I am satisfied where it is compared to the concept sketch process, and had many nights where I would render one portion of the animation overnight and wake up to a section of the animation just to set up another scene to render. My poor computer was angry at me the last three weeks of the semester. I could hear it huff and puff to put all of its effort in what I was doing at the time. I, too, was at my wit's end at the close of the semester. I had some embarrassing incidents because of lack of sleep where my body would not get out of bed even though I had to, I had some public transportation issues where the one El line that was the only one I could take just stopped functioning. Nonetheless, I survived. I not only survived, but my hard work through the semester was rewarded and I am happy with the grades I received, though I am VERY happy for that semester to be over.

So here's the animation. If you have not been following from previous blog posts it illustrates the mode of action of Botulinum Toxin Type A. To most people this term is not understood. In other words, this is how Botox works. Yes, Botox is botulinum toxin (the deadliest toxin known to man) in small doses. So there you have it, learn something and enjoy!

Video courtesy of youtube.com. Botulinum Toxin Type A Mode of Action. 2009. Lindsey Pionek. 3Ds Max, Adobe Soundbooth, After Effects and Premier.