Ani-mazing presentations

In the same way Hollywood forensic scientist characters use computer-generated images to help solve a crime or diagnose a condition, BioMation Biomedical Animation and Visualisation uses Hollywood special effects software to bring to life the mysteries of biomedicine.

First published: 15/08/2014

Updated at: 20/08/2014 at 10:56 am

Polio Virus by Will James

Gen Y has grown up watching CSI, House, and Bones where forensic scientist characters use computer-generated images to help solve a crime or diagnose a condition.

Biomedical Animator, Will James, may not be animating to solve TV crimes but according to Professor Bronwyn Kingwell at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, his “rare combination of scientific, artistic and software know-how produces artwork which communicates biological concepts and mechanisms with a clarity that words cannot.”

Will James is head of BioMation Biomedical Animation and Visualisation, based at Baker IDI and uses Hollywood special effects software, Autodesk 3DS Max, to bring to life the macroscopic and microscopic mysteries of biomedicine.

This type of 3D animation can illuminate cellular and molecular interactions, allowing further insights into disease pathways, drug modes of action and even medical devices.

Scientists and clinicians are under increasing pressure to communicate their research to funding bodies, the public and their peers. An effective illustration or animation can often succeed where several paragraphs of dense text may fail.

The expertise and technology at BioMation is accessible to all researchers who want to communicate complex concepts to different audiences including the scientific, pharmaceutical and medical communities.

Will James combines what he learned through his Masters Degree in reproductive biology, with 12 years’ international practical experience in biomedical animation, intravital microscopy, bio-imaging, immunology and molecular biology.

The expertise at BioMation can help the scientific community develop engaging, scientifically accurate illustrations and 3D animations to be used for:

  • Demonstrating physically accurate medical devices in situ (for example an artificial hip joint)
  • Promoting scientific ideas to venture capitalists and philanthropists
  • Presenting scientific techniques or devices ‘in field’ on an iPad
  • Producing educational materials for students
  • Marketing pharmaceuticals
  • Communicating disease and treatment information to patients
  • Sprucing up grant applications
  • Adding impact to research publications and conference poster and oral presentations

BioMation’s approach is customer service based and each diagram is scientifically researched.

“Researchers usually give me a review article or other relevant background information, for example a protein structure, and I work with them to develop a ‘story board’ to guide the development of the visualisation piece’.

“It can take up to 25 hours to research and illustrate a simple biomedical concept, but it is well worth it to get the concept out there and inspire the client’s audience”

Find out more about BioMation here  or go to

You need to login or register to bookmark/favorite this content.