For those of us who are normal, non-scientist people, an image of a virus doesn't necessarily hold any meaning. Which floating orb is a healthy cell? And which one is the actual virus? The CGSociety recently invited artists to create renderings of the HIV virus in blood — and the winning images are as educational as they are beautiful.
In a collaboration with Autodesk, researchers Graham Johnson and Arthur Olson asked designers to create video or photo images of the virus. Designers were given a cellPack model of HIV in blood, and were provided with a powerful app called autoPACK to help them create computer imagery. The challenge? Show the virus in a way humans can actually relate to it, be that emotionally, intellectually, politically, etc.
Ukrainian designer Alexey Kashpersky's colorfully haunting design won the competition. It was first drawn by hand, then translated into autoPACK, made more three-dimensional using a tool called Z-brush. He says:
Over some time realised that I had somehow change the initial "correct" form of HIV, in the direction of artistic exaggeration, since I did not want just to render a model, but to express in the form and shape the depth of the problem, and I decided to stop on this. Consciously decided to make an artistic exaggeration, but knowing that my work can cause a controversial reaction from respected judges. Because they DO know how real HIV looks like!