Exciting news – I’m starting a new job with a company downtown to create animations in Flash for the purpose of patient education. This is something I’m really excited to be doing; I’m happy to be not going the pharma route. Although I do respect and still enjoy projects that part of the industry, I feel more fulfilled working on the patient/medical education side of things.

I wanted to share my “audition” piece I did for the job; I’m pretty happy with how it came out, and excited to be doing more!

Humidifier from Laura Schwartz on Vimeo.

And in a similar vein, here is a (very) quick piece I did also in Flash, just for fun.


Body plans and stem cells

Been a while since I updated… I’ve been working on two very different animations since I got my shiny new degree – one is on Body Plan evolution, and the other on stem cell migration. The body plan project was in conjunction with fellow BVIS grad Suman Kasturia – we split it so I did the research/storyboarding and she did the Flash animation. It will accompany a book publication eventually, but I’m excited to say the project is complete(!) I won’t share the animation here, but here’s some of the images used to create it:

The other project I’ve been working on is a 3D animation for stem cell migration. We’re going through major editing of it right now – there is a flat, relatively static animation, and now I’m reworking it so it’s much more dynamic and visually interesting. Below is just a screen shot of the reworked, inside the blood vessel before the cells pop out. It’s on the dark side, I’ve turned off final gather to speed up rendering and need to adjust my lights to account for that.

Demo Reel

Final presentations for the program were yesterday, and although it made for a long day, it was very exciting to see all the amazing work from everyone! One of the things I was tweaking right up until the last minute was my demo reel, which I can proudly say is now done.

And graduation is today (hooray!) – so I’ll be able to call myself a Master of Science. Which just sounds awesome.

Research is done!

It’s been a busy last few weeks – I presented/defended my research project for my Master’s to my committee last week, and graduation and wrap-up festivities are closing in this week. This semester really flew by; I think I’m still convinced it’s March. Come to think of it, I can’t believe it’s all over – the entire last 2 years have really flown. It’s hard to believe that I’m done with school for forever…unless of course I decide I need that PhD or VMD I’ve been thinking about…but right now, I’m ready to be done and start working.

On that note, time to share some stills from my fancy finished research project! I got some great feedback from my committee, which I’ll work on over the summer, but for now I’m saying it’s done. Stay tuned for the dates that it will be shown at the Field Museum – potentially in a few weeks!

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And, watch the finished animation!

The effects of stonefish venom on the cardiovascular system from Laura Schwartz on Vimeo.

Panic mode.


Only a few more weeks to graduation, and still so much to do I feel like I might explode. My research is nearly there though – this is almost the final product – I’ve since rigged the fish so he’s moving slightly, and after stringing it all together found some things I want to go back and fix, and then a few more things in post.

Then an entire other animation to crank out pronto, plus my demo reel…then done!

Heart animation progress

Still running a little behind on this project – everything has been brought over from ZBrush to Maya now though. I’m having issues with the displacement and normal maps on the heart morphs I built to have it beat – I’m losing my maps and the polygons are getting boxy and fragmented once I leave my target mesh, so that’s something to puzzle out. Otherwise, here are some stills (minus the venom – I’m doing that in AfterEffects to cut some corners) from the animation. I think the cut heart still needs some refinement, or a different lighting setup…


Heart model

I’ve been sick the last week, and since I’m unable to really study neuro I’ve switched back to getting some work hammered out on the heart venom animation – I sculpted this up in ZBrush, and will be working on a cut version of the heart so you can see the chambers as it beats. I’m trying to keep it fairly simple looking, with basic textures applied.

I had been thinking keeping the color scheme blue, but that seemed too soothing for what the content is, so I’m trying red…strange though, once I switched the color scheme I found myself more tense while I worked on it. Color theory in action!

Heart scene - test render

And now, back to my movie marathon and gallons of tea. Getting a flu shot next season.