Life & much, much more

Medical animations and surgical visualisation with MedFilm

You’re sitting in front of the doctor’s table in a hospital. The doctor has just spent the past half hour explaining the procedure you will undergo to solve a medical problem that you experience. It sounds complicated — there are a few things you have to do to prepare, some foods to watch out for, and a recovery process of a few months afterwards. You will later come home to only be bombarded with a series of questions from your friends and family, who are all curious and have somehow managed to ask the questions which you didn’t think of asking earlier. It also doesn’t help that their native language isn’t English.

Four years ago, this was exactly the problem that Erik Kylen, a small team in Sweden, and myself working remotely set out to solve. The solution was a series of animated videos to explain various medical issues in simple terms. A doctor could use these videos to help guide patients, and patients could then watch these videos from the comfort of their own home. This is MedFilm.

MedFilm Logo

Each video starts with a gentle description of the various body parts involved in the procedure to introduce the required medical terminology. This is followed by an explanation of how these parts relate to the ailment at hand. The patient is then reminded of the various preparatory steps they need to take before the procedure, such as fasting, or drinking fluids. The surgical procedure is then shown, heavily tested to maintain medical accuracy whilst ensuring that the patient does not see anything gruesome. Finally, the video describes the recovery process, and the steps the patient can take to expedite it.

These videos are simple to understand, are accessible with subtitles and translations into many languages, and tailored for specific medical practices in localised hospitals and countries. Each hospital and country has their own preferred ways of doing things, and these videos accomodate that fact.

A doctor from a participating hospital can share a link to their patient, or interactively use the video during the briefing process on a tablet. A patient can later watch it again to refresh their memory, or reshare it with friends and family.

MedFilm surgical videos on various tablets

Let’s see a demonstration video (and yes, videos can be embedded with custom branding into a hospital or clinic’s website!). Below is the video created for an appendectomy. Usually, getting your appendix removed is a pretty safe, standard procedure, and happens pretty soon after you figure out you have a problem. Most people have also heard of it, which makes it a great procedure to demonstrate.

Here’s the video! Click play below and learn about an appendectomy!

MedFilm is steadily growing and now has a repository of 40 videos covering topics from cardiology to otorhinolaryngology (I’m not a doctor, so to me that’s a very complicated word!), used in clinics across Scandinavia. I’m proud of the service, and happy that it is able to help patients. If you’re interested are are involved in the health industry, you can contact MedFilm here and we can explore opportunities!


Game of Homes opening sequence animation

This week, and to be more specific, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, the Architecture Revue Club from the University of Sydney will present Game of Homes, the 2012 annual performance.

Architecture revue Game of Homes official poster

As mentioned before, apart from musical director, I also did some AV stuff – such as this opening sequence. Check it out :)

It was essentially a one-man rush job. Blender was used for most of it, except for adding the credit names, which was done in Adobe Premiere. The few image textures that were used were done in the GIMP. Total time taken including rendering was ~4 days.

Rendering was done with Blender Internal, with an average of ~20 seconds per frame at some silly arbitrary resolution ~1100x~500px. BI was the obvious choice for speed. Blender VSE was used for sequencing and sound splicing.

The workflow was a little odd – essentially post processing was done first, followed by basic materials, and then camera animation. Based on the camera animation modelling and material tweaking would be done as necessary.

Comments welcome :)

Life & much, much more

Back in Malaysia, and other things I have dabbled in.

Blog posting has been slow lately. This is mostly due to real life and connectivity issues, but despite this I have had some time to dabble in the various public projects I juggle. The pace is not rapid enough to be able to keep up a alternate-day post like I used to, but is suitable for a summary post, such as this one.

The ThoughtScore Project

The first project is my ever-incomplete ThoughtScore animated movie. The highlight of this update is that there has been an animation update with a few extra shots added. You can view the ThoughtScore Blender animation here, or click the screenshot below.

You may view more feedback on its BlenderArtists forum thread (page 4).

The project also got awarded its own domain with some content I pulled together quickly in about an hour. See

I do have a couple more scenes prepped and awaiting animation & rendering, so more updates will be popping up.


WIPUP, a way to share works in progresses, has experienced the yearly dip in content due to the holiday season, but live.WIPUP (the bleeding-edge iteration of WIPUP) has received experimental design changes and slight SEO updates.

live.WIPUP -like the projects it was built to showcase- is also a work-in-progress. It’s incomplete, but as always, hopefully a step in the right direction. Text link to check out live.WIPUP – share your works in progress here.

Real Life

Apart from badminton, taking a break from learning Chinese, globetrotting, and client work, this picture says it all.

Well, that’s it for a brief summary of what I’ve been up to. I hope everybody have also had a great Christmas, New Year, upcoming Chinese New Year, and awesome holiday.


Rigging a machine.

Things have been going absurdly slow lately. No commits to WIPUP. No new ThoughtScore models (though a few more seconds of video have been added). Nothing open-source related (except for trying out the Ubuntu beta1 on a box). Even schoolwork has slowed.

Because I fully emphathise that people with a grip of things wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about my life, I decided to show some pictures of the trouble I’ve been having trying to rig Taras, one of the main characters in The ThoughtScore Project. Here are two statically posed shots of Taras:

The left shows him in his unrigged pose. The pose he was modeled in. The right shows him "looking" down, slightly bent forward with his left arm reaching towards you. Disregarding the fact that the lighting is completely faked (what is that suit reflecting, anyway?), we have two other major problems to deal with.

Problem Number One: His arm was not built to be in that pose. Not was any other part of his anatomy. When standing straight his arms are abnormally squashed in order to look natural in that one pose… and when in a dark environment. In any other scenario you’d see two spindly arms sticking out of a hunk of metal. The way it was designed, his shoulder "ball and socket" joint is more of a "plank of wood stuck on a block of wood" joint. It doesn’t fit nicely like a joint should.

Put simply, all of his joints (legs included) will have to be remodelled in order so that you don’t have gaping holes or bits of the suit intersecting when limbs are moved in their extremeties. Not an easy task.

Problem Number Two: The torso. The torso is made up of several different meshes. Each part fits together nicely in one way and one way only. If you look at the picture, you’ll see that when he leans forward, the upper torso covers the middle torso, which largely remains stationary, the groin panel shifts outwards slightly, and the piping all has to move to accomodate this change and not randomly stick out where it shouldn’t. Think of it like the parts of a steam engine.

Long story short, it’s going to be a PITA to rig that guy just to bend over. Heck, I don’t think you can bend over in a suit like that.

Normally I stubbornly plod down the road of "create first, learn later, fix and redo even later", but this time I think I’d better buy some of Blender’s training DVDs before continuing on ThoughtScore.


ThoughtScore Scenes 1-5 Sneak Preview

The ThoughtScore Project has made crazily slow but steady progress over the past few months. But those watching the Twitter feed would have noticed that I’ve spent a lot more work on it recently, mostly being re-renders and overnight-renders. Of course, with the ability to use BlenderĀ on my phone work has sped up considerably.

The ThoughtScore Project is, of course, completely open source, and this also means that I would like to share the development with you guys, and let you choose what you like, don’t like, and I sincerely welcome all your ideas for changes. Well, enough of the waffling, here are some in-movie frames as a quick preview for the impatient:


Highway scene 4.


Forest chase scene 5.

…and without further ado:

Click to Watch ThoughtScore (WIP Scenes 1-5)

Comments welcome!


Back from SIGGRAPH Asia 2008

Well, I’ve been pretty inactive in terms of blog posts given the hectic series of events that were lined up. However now, thing’s are a lot calmer (in the most free sense of the word) and I’ll be back to my a post every 2 days schedule. Lot of fun fun fun in store.

For those who have been following my Twitter feed, you would know that I’ve recently finished my music exam, then flown over to Singapore to attend the last day of SIGGRAPH ASIA 2008. What is SIGGRAPH? Well, it’s basically to 3D modelers, animators, graphic artists and the like what E3 is to gamers (or if you don’t know what E3 is, it’s like what “Palace Erotica” is to a pervert). Firstly, being an absolute klutz, I didn’t snap any photos or cool pictures of the exhibitions and whatnot. Secondly, devoid of any income, I can’t exactly cough up 850 Singapore Dollars to pay for full registration which entitles me to view everything – so I went for free, only attending the (limited) exhibition. Thirdly, I’ll have you know that I’m all for open-source, so any demonstations there (all on proprietary software) could not be replicated exactly: the most I can do is check out the concepts, and apply them the best I can.

Again, my apologies for no happy pictures (apart from that logo I ripped off up there), so all I’ll give are boring, vague descriptions of what I experienced. Ok, I didn’t get to view the Computer Animation Festival (shucks!) due to my “Exhibitions Only” free pass. That’s probably one of the best things I missed. Well, there was obviously the NVidia and ATI stalls competing against each other (Go NVidia!), showcasing how their awesomely powerful hardware can do such awesome real-time rendering. Ooooh. There was a huge Autodesk (lol, now huge both physically and virtually) desk doing Autodesk-ish presentations throughout the whole day. Yeah that’s right, 3DS, XSI, Toxic, and whatever other stuff they’ve got in their pigsty of a product portfolio. Well, the talks were interesting. Covered quite a bit on Mudbox which included interesting sculpting techniques which I’m itching to try out.

There was what looked like a permanently unmanned Lucasfilms’ stall, advertising their new Clone Wars animation as well as some “Jedi’s Course to 3D Stuff” via a row of TV screens. There were also the folks from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and other companies who showed in-detail work on how things were created for The Golden Compass. Now that’s some pretty amazing graphics work. How each layer was done, how it was composited, how it was matched into the stock footage, how the “little green men” (green-suits) did their jobs, the processes of making the Yeti character (from concept art, turntable, fur, animation, etc) … etc. Other visual effects that were shown were from some Harry Potter films (pretty awesome scene recreation there), some Warcraft, Bioshock and various game trailers, as well as a variety of mini videos (ever seen Iron Man, Spider Man and The Hulk fight together? – Spider Man pretty much sucks.)

What interested me most was explanations of industry workflows. Workflow is one of the most important aspects in film and movie creation, as that’s pretty much how things get done. I daresay I might either humiliate myself due to lack of knowledge or confuse a lot of people if I tried to explain everything I learnt here (especially because workflows change slightly depending on the situation). So I’m just going to leave it as “yes, it was very interesting, and you’ll definitely see a bit on workflow when I post some work-in-progress posts for ThoughtScore in the future”. Happy? Rhetorical? Yes.

Of course, there was the usual plethora of shady looking Universities and organisations offering related courses. I sifted through the lot and found some that might be interested in personal guidance given my no-income situation. But that’s all for future investments, so other than “I got myself a collection of namecards”, there isn’t much else I can announce in my post here.

So yeah, other than the indescribable knowledge I absorbed, the motivation (you know, that sudden urge to create something amazing), the nametag and 3D glasses I stole, that’s really all I can say for SIGGRAPH. The next SIGGRAPH Asia will be in Seoul, which I most definitely will not be attending. I must say, I’m a bit disappointed at the amount they restrict for people who aren’t willing to break their banks. Other than that, a very worthwhile trip indeed.


ThoughtScore Updated!

Ahh! ThoughtScore! The finest of all my projects (the slowest, too). Well, it’s been updated!

View the ThoughtScore update!

You know you want to check it out.

Note: the update is my last post on that page. The first post was a pretty old update. You can also check out pages 1 and 2 of that forum thread to see how far the project has progressed.

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some wallpaper sized renders (also available in the thread) to entice you to click that link up there. If you’re too lazy to register an account on to comment on that thread, just leave a comment to this post ;)

One of Cicero:

And one of Taras:

And one of the station:

On more unfortunate news, I will be overseas and there will not be an article until the 16th of August. However, I promise sometime on very early September there will be another really huge release by me … something so big it might even shadow ThoughtScore. Now that’s just scary.