Medical Animation: A growing industry

In my previous article, I had covered in brief various industries other than main stream media and entertainment that extensively use 3D animation. In this article, I will discuss the medical animation industry the role of 3D animation in real world medical simulations.

Medical animation helps a doctor to explain to his patients how things work inside the human body, and how the suggested procedure would help him/her to treat the cause of ailment. This also helps the doctors reduce the patients’ anxiety levels and address their fears.

For example, if a doctor need to explain a disease like cancer, he would normally put it as “Cancer is a  term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems which can prove fatal”. However, by watching the below animated video, a patient can get a very clear idea of what cancer is all about

Let us now understand in brief what are the steps involved in executing this video.

  • Before starting with the video, the 3D team is clearly briefed by the client (Medical firm) who gives a clear idea of the subject(disease), the process( how it affects the body),the treatment (how the body reacts to the same) and reference images.
  • The 3D team then works on a story board of the video which involves basic drawing and description as to how the animation would proceed. There is also a voice over sound added explaining the process.
  • Once the story board is approved by the client (Medical firm) then the 3D animation process is initiated.
  • The 3D animation modeling team would first create the various components involved in the video like cells, blood vessels etc, using a 3D modeling software.
  • Then it is passed on to the look and feel department to work on the textures and lighting environment to give it a realistic look and feel. If the production house executing the video is of a smaller set up, then 3D modeling, texturing and lighting is executed by the same team.
  • Finally, the 3D animator would  synchronizes  the narrative audio.
  • Once the entire process is done and approved by the client (Medical firm) then the raw 3D output is set to render involving various render engines like Mental ray, Vray etc..
  • Some final touchup like color corrections and effects is done in the post production department for a realistic output using software like AFX, Fusion etc.

Animation can be used in the medical & pharmaceutical sectors for educational purposes, demonstrations, simulation of surgeries, analysis and comparative evaluation of treatment, etc. As an animators for the medical industry, you can:

  • Demonstrate how drugs work in the bloodstream and body
  • Design macroscopic and microscopic interactive models of the human body
  • Present patient data in the form of  3D visual images
  • Design instructional materials for medical students
  • Explain with animation how a medical equipment, surgical procedure or technique will work.

Some of the leading production houses in this genre are:


To sum up, the medical animation industry is constantly evolving, thanks to innovation in the medical sector. This implies ample scope and newer opportunities for skilled professionals. You can be an in-demand medical animation expert too, with the right training and passion to succeed!


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