You're blocking ads, which pay for BlenderNation. Read about other ways to support us.

Medical animation training for Blender: Flowing Blood Cells


highbeamstudios writes:

I have been working in the medical animation field now for over 13 years. After switching from Softimage to Blender I have really enjoyed using it and user community has been great.

There seams to be a shortage of Medical animation training on YouTube for Blender and other applications so I have created a YouTube channel focused on Medical animation training in Blender, so far I have two up and hope to upload new training every couple of weeks.

I look forward to any comments and request you may have for Medical animation in Blender.


About the Author

Craig Vrankovich

Medical animator who switched from Softimage to Blender and loving it.


  1. Hi, nice animation, but I was wondering:
    Not being a professional physician but an avid hobby biologist, in my understanding the inside of a blood vessel is very smooth to provide clean blood flow and prevent it from easy clogging. I know that many artificial graphics show it very rough and bulgy for laymen/effect, but from a medical expert I expected a more truthful presentation. Not trying to insult, just stating my expectation.
    I tried to find images online to clear that point up, but cannot find any photos to support either way.
    If you are a medical practitioner, you have probably seen more blood vessels from the inside than me, so if I am under the wrong impression, please correct me.

    • Thanks for you comment, If you take a look at (a very good reference for medical animators) You will see that the blood vessel isn’t perfectly smooth.
      If you were to look at a larger vessel due to scale it may look smooth.
      One thing I like about medical animation is that while you need to make sure that the animations are as medically accurate as you can get them, you do get a lot of artistic licence.
      I have created many blood vessels this way and never had a client question it.
      And just for the record I have no medical training what so ever except for what I have learnt over the 13 odd years I have been doing this. In fact, I used to be a car mechanic.
      But I do thank you for your comments, have a look around it’s a really cool site.

      • Hi Craig, thanks for answering and showing that image to me!
        To be honest, the inner side of the vessel does indeed look very smooth to me (not perfectly of course, nothing is perfect). The outer side of the vessel is not smooth, does not need to be. However, there is only a very small patch of the inner side visible on the picture, still more than I was able to find by myself, though.
        Anyway, good luck on your future projects, and I might be following you! ;)

        • I am happy to have come across this link from a Facebook group I only just discovered today.
          Craig, thank you for offering to lend some education on medical animation using blender 3D. I am a newbie and hope to learn as quickly as possible.

          By the way, the intima (inner lining of an arterial or venous wall) is not entirely smooth, otherwise it would be impossible to achieve flexibility.

          • By flexibility I assume you mean regarding the diameter of the vessel? Thanks for the hint, I did not think about that before.
            However, in a fully dilated state the vessel would be very smooth, right? Unless that level of dilation is practically never achieved for other reasons.
            Also, in a non-dilated state would the vessel not have a ridge-like surface along the vessel direction on the inside, so that for the blood flow the inside would still be very smooth along the flow direction, but not so much orthogonal to the flow direction? At least that sounds very logical to me, don't know if it is like that.
            Thanks for any further explanation! :)

          • The surface in question is the tunica intima and is actually made up of cells. These cells each have an outer membrane covering and are side by side each other the whole length. According to nature their surfaces have what may well be regarded as a mechanism of lubrication which is responsible for the "smoothness". All of this becomes quite clearer with microscopy. :)
            To better understand check out free samples of cross-sectional histology of blood vessels. ☺

            To answer your questions:
            Flexibility by diameter and length

            No matter the dilatation, a perfect circle has yet to be observed - cells are joined by gelatinous, proteinous substances, which account for the structure that makes for flexibility.

            The ridge-like reference is actually accurate, even though I didn't quite understand your use of the word "orthogonal".

  2. Lidia Garcia-Campmany on

    Hi Craig,
    Thank you very much for sharing this! I had a hard time when looking for tutorials about medical/scientific 3D animation. This is just great! I really encourage you to continue with this project and keep posting more tutorials. I will definitely follow :)

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for the comment.
    One thing I like about medical animation is you have a lot of artistic licence. While you need to be medically accurate when you can, you also must find a balance between accuracy and making the animations look good and easy to understand. Here is an image showing inside a blood vessel
    So, there is some roughness to the blood vessel. If we were to look at it with the naked eye it would look very smooth. is a great reference for these kinds of images. I have created many blood vessels for clients over the years like this and have never had anyone say otherwise.
    And for the record I am not a medical expert, I have had no medical training in any way except what I have learnt being a medical animator, in fact before getting into 3D I was a car mechanic.

  4. Ok, the smoothness coming from a cover of lubrication makes sense, too. :)
    By "orthogonal" I meant the opposite of "parallel". Maybe in English one would rather say "perpendicular"?

    EDIT: This is supposed to be an answer to EKERETTE, but somehow I cannot see any REPLY field there, maybe because the display area is too narrow there.

Leave A Reply

To add a profile picture to your message, register your email address with To protect your email address, create an account on BlenderNation and log in when posting a message.