VISUALISING POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASE (PKD): ANIMATION AND INTERACTIVE 3D MODELS

BRIEF: To visualise the morphology of a polycystic kidney through the creation of a 3D model and animation
AUDIENCE: Public
SERVICES USED: 3D Illustration, Animation, Multimedia, Layout Design
MEDIA: ZBrush, Keyshot, Adobe Premiere Pro, Vimeo
FINAL OUTCOME: An animation on PKD and two interactive 3D models (healthy kidney and polycystic kidney)

The final animation produced was an educational video on polycystic kidney disease, to help raise public awareness of this life-threatening chronic, genetic disease. The more who know about PKD, the more resources can be dedicated to finding treatments and a cure. In addition to the animation, the polycystic kidney and healthy kidney 3D models were uploaded to Sketchfab and annotated, making it possible to view them interactively online.


WATCH THE ANIMATION


EXPLORE THE INTERACTIVE 3D MODELS


PROCESS

 
RESEARCH
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PKD (polycystic kidney disease) is a genetic disorder that causes multiple fluid-filled cysts to grow in the kidneys. If too many cysts grow, or they get too big, they can greatly enlarge and damage the kidneys. The cysts can eventually replace much of the kidneys, reducing kidney function and eventually leading to kidney failure.

It was decided that the animation would include a healthy kidney along with the polycystic kidney, to better illustrate the effects of polycystic kidney disease on the kidney. In some cases, polycystic kidneys can grow as large as an American football!

MODELLING THE HEALTHY KIDNEY
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Multiple credible reference sources were used to sculpt the healthy and polycystic kidneys.

The healthy kidney was sculpted in ZBrush using the Inflate brush, Move brush, Magnify brush and Crease brush. The healthy ureter was modelled using ZSpheres, which were later replaced by an adaptive skin. Polypaint and Spotlight were then used to add texture, colour and vasculature to the kidney and ureter.

 
 
MODELLING THE POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY
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For the polycystic kidney, the healthy ureter was distorted and ‘dehydrated’ using a mixture of brushes and the deformation tab. The healthy kidney shape was then duplicated and enlarged to form a cyst layer and a kidney surface layer. For the cysts layer, a variety of brushes were used to create multiple, different sized cysts. For the surface layer, brushes were used to give rise to fat and small blood vessels. Once the sculpting was finished, the cysts layer and surface layer were coloured and textured with Polypaint, using a variety of polycystic kidney photographs as reference.

RENDERING AND ANIMATING
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Both the 3D models were exported to Keyshot for further texturing and animation. A metallic paint texture was added to make the kidneys look moist and realistic, and then a number of animation stills were rendered, including a revolving animation of both kidneys together and the polycystic kidney alone, as well as a variety of fades and transitions. The rendered image sequences were then imported into Adobe Premiere Pro, where self-written content was included and final edits made.