Body Parts Made To Order

  ...My birth cry will be the sound of every phone on this planet ringing in unison.


Ack!  It's been a while, dear readers.  But with this hectic summer drawing to a close, I am finally able to sit down and jot down some more anecdotes from my time as an aspiring Biomedical Visualizer.

Hands down, this summer semester, which only accounted for 8 weeks of this past year, was the most INTENSE semester I have ever faced.  I charged into it headlong, one arm shielding my face as I blindly fired overhead at seemingly invisible targets.  But I emerged triumphant!  Mildly scathed, bruised, and battered, but as vigilant as ever.  Here is my tale...

The remainder of the summer semester was spent constructing a multitude of faces, whole and in part, digitally and by hand.  Using the ocular prosthesis I constructed last semester, I made an orbital prosthesis to house said ocular.  A patient will generally get an orbital prosthesis after a trauma requires that not only the eyeball itself, but the muscles and tissues within the eye socket be completely removed.  This involved taking 3D scanned patient data, flipping it digitally, then milling the new data in hard wax.  Using that as a modeling base, I reconstructed a new orbital on a stone cast of a anonymized patient defect cast.  Using artistic liberties and ensuring that the anatomical landmarks were in place, I constructed the prosthesis in wax, made a mold, mixed different silicones to match various skin tones, packed the mold, and cast it.



Orbital + ocular


The real challenge came at the end where I was tasked with adding eyelashes.  This was no small task, requiring a needle, store-bought eyelashes, and  a *lot* of patience.  If I learned nothing else from this project, it's that getting good, realistic eyelashes is extremely important when making a prosthesis.  Placement is crucial, and if they are added in too uniform a manner, it is immediately noticeable.  I'm hoping to get a fair amount of practice this semester as I begin my clinical coursework (my first case being an orbital - huzzah!).

After a brief 4 week dash through orbital construction, I started working on my first nasal prosthesis.  I scanned my face using 3DMD, which captures 3D surface information as well as photographic information projected directly onto it.  I took the data into 3Ds Max and manipulated it (we had to make adjustments so that the proportions were slightly different), then milled the nose in wax.  The same basic steps followed in constructing the nose as with the orbital and auricular.  Each prosthesis comes with its own set of challenges, and with the nose the challenge lies in the fact that it sits directly in the middle of your face and draws immediate attention.  Since every nose is unique, it's actually better to make a nasal prosthesis slightly asymmetrical to give it some personal character.  Perfect symmetry is a red flag.  Getting the color gradation took a fair amount of time to get right, but the red coloring really helps make a natural skin tone.




My last assignment may prove to my most disturbing and horrifying own grinning mug!  Using the 3DMD to capture multiple expressions, I imported the data sets into ZBrush and knitted them together to make a grotesque abomination, an abhorrent doppelganger...


My final form...BEHOLD!


The original plan was to do a study of ears, noses, and eyes as a supplement for the work I'm doing in Anaplastology, using digital sculpting and painting techniques.  However, I thought it would be more interesting to make something..."dynamic," for lack of a better word.  The end result, as you can see, is equal parts Lawnmower Man and The Thing.  Aside from the mildly off-putting aesthetic qualities of the project, I really did get a lot of experience digitally sculpting the very things I was sculpting in wax and silicone.  I even got to add eyelashes and eyebrows digitally, to boot!

Now I just need to work on making those eyes a little less soulless...