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Bacteria Flagellum

The Rotatory Motor of Bacterial Flagellum

Maya | Adobe Photoshop | Adobe Illustrator
How can a biological cell and its components be metaphorically expressed as a mechanical cell?

Topic Selection

Fascinated with the "mechanical" properties of cells, the author wished to convey a visual metaphor incorporating this topic. 

Problem Solving & Sketches

The greatest challenge was narrowing down and simplifying the topic. Many sketches were drawn to experiment with many ideas regarding which direction the "mechanical" cell should take. To solve this dilemma, more research was needed. Finally, an article from CELL magazine titled, "The Rotatory Motor of Bacterial Flagellum", was the impetus for changing the initial animal cell idea to a bacterial cell. The motor part of the flagellum became the main focus of the illustration. 


3D Modelling & Layout

To make the bacterial cell appear mechanical, the cell body needed to look rigid. This was achieved by not smoothing the cell body, resulting in a plate-like appearance. Springs and gears were also sculpted to respectively represent the DNA and ribosomes found inside a bacterial cell. Specific shaders were added to give a mechanical look to the cell structure and its components. Finally, lighting and depth of field were used to draw more attention to the motor. Arnold was used as the primary render engine. During the design phase, the flagellum was positioned in such a way as to surround the title of the work for greater emphasis. The final image was exported as a photoshop file and then brought into illustrator to add text.  

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