Bring your science to life with still images, video, and 3D models. You provide the data, and I'll show you what's possible.
The only limit is your imagination.
ASTEROXYLON MACKIEI: A VISUAL CASE STUDY
I was commissioned to produce two reconstructions - one anatomical reconstruction, and one life reconstruction - of Asteroxylon mackiei. This is an extinct Early Devonian lycopsid (a type of plant). The anatomical reconstruction was used in figures in the paper: An evidence-based 3D reconstruction of Asteroxylon mackiei, the most complex plant preserved from the Rhynie Chert by Hetherington et al., published in eLife, and the life reconstruction was used to head the press release.
Thick sections were provided as digital cut-outs in blender by the research team. The geometry was normalised, and the gaps bridged. Using images of the specimen, the bridging geometry was sculpted into a complete reconstruction of the fossil. A suite of bespoke textures was created in Substance Designer that matched the exposed areas of the physical fossil, and wrapped over the model. The original photographs of the thick sections were then projected onto the exposed ends of the model. The camera positioning of the original figure images was matched and images rendered.
The conclusions of the paper were used in conjunction with existing literature to generate a photorealistic model of how the living plant would have looked in its native habitat. A suite of bespoke plant and soil textures were created in Substance Designer. Particular care was taken to depict the key features of the plant, the profile of the soil it grew in, and its interaction with that soil and base layer of the environment. The result is a visually engaging representation of Asteroxylon mackiei, and the first well-evidenced reconstruction of the structure and development of the rooting system of the most complex plant in the Rhynie chert.
Blender 2.92, Substance Designer, Photoshop
Thick sections were provided by the client.
The missing parts of the plant were sculpted in.
The finished model was textured, slice images projected onto the mesh, and rendered for use in the paper.
A living plant
The live plant was modelled, textured, and rendered to accompany the paper in press.