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'Cancer Therapeutics' - IMS Magazine Cover Illustration



Completed on:

Tools used:

Collaborators: Lisa Qiu¹, Chelsea Canlas¹, Patricia Nguyen¹, Amanda Miller¹, IMS Magazine committee²

Students, IMS faculty, general public

Nov. 2017

Pixologic ZBrush, MAXON Cinema4D, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign

This piece was created as a cover illustration for the Fall 2017 issue of IMS Magazine, at University of Toronto. To depict the intensity involved in cancer therapeutics research, this piece was designed to be visually striking, evoking a sense of tissuescape battlefield, and supplemented by correspondingly worded article subheadings. Other tasks included article spread layout and graphic design (not shown).

¹1Biomedical Communications, University of Toronto, ²Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto

Process Work

1. Rationale

As a graphic editor in the IMS Magazine 2017-2018 team, I had the chance to experience the creative workflow of creating editorial cover art, as well as the team-based article layout design process of a print magazine.

2. Conceptualization

The initial conceptualization of the cover illustration was a translucent tissue landscape with underlying vasculature which directed drug metabolites to the tumours. Alternate depictions like descending streams of drug particles, or light beams simulating laser ablation, were considered.

3. 3D Modelling and Rendering

In order to reproduce the conceptualization sketch layout, rough tissuescape geometry and camera setups were first established in Cinema4D. The rough model was then brought into ZBrush and digitally sculpted. Blood vessel networks were also created through bezier curve splines in Cinema4D and further refined in ZBrush. All models were colour-textured in ZBrush using polypaint. The 3D models were reimported into the Cinema4D scene, and material characteristics like reflectivity and subsurface scattering were established. The shot was then rendered into a high quality still image.

4. Raster Rendering

Further illustration refinement in the workflow was done in Photoshop. Colours were adjusted, and blood vessels were reduced in salience. Light beam features were added in post, as well as particles and fog effects. Once the illustration was satisfactory to other graphic editors as well as to the IMS Magazine committee, pre-formatted textual elements (headings, subheadings) were implemented into the cover art in InDesign. Font colours and placements were adjusted to complement the illustration composition.


Dr. Anastasios Christodoulou M.D., "Stomach Cancer Diagnosis."