Nick Woolridge, Professor and Director of Biomedical Communications at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto has recently updated his NeuronBuild python script for Cinema 4D, and has also just released a new script for ZBrush. The scripts allow the user to pull actual neuron morphology data from the online repository NeuroMorpho.org and generate 3d models for use in either program.
Nick has generously provided these scripts for free on GitHub and they are not only useful for visualizing neuronatomy in medical illustration and animation, but are also extremely addictive and fun to work with. Thanks Nick!
The image above depicts a Purkinje cell, which is a type of neuron found in the cerebellar cortex of the brain. The morphology data was pulled from the NeuroMorpho site (see below).
The data was imported as zSpheres into ZBrush via Nick’s zScript. At this stage the spheres can be edited, deleted (etc) based on your needs, and then can be baked into geometry via the Adaptive Skinning function in ZBrush. The model was then sent to Cinema 4D via the GoZ script for texturing, and rendering.
You can check out Nick’s video walkthroughs for the C4d and ZBrush python scripts below.