Kidney Anatomy

anatomy color copy final banner

Media: Adobe Photoshop CC, Adobe Illustrator CC

Skills: Scientific Research, Layout Design, Sketching, Digital Painting

Scroll down for process images

1. The project

To create an illustration teaching the basic anatomy of the kidney, designed for a college level introductory anatomy course. 

2. anatomical research

Several sources were researched to ensure accuracy. Abdominal CT scans were imported into OsiriX (medical image processing program) and analyzed to check the correct angle of various vessels. Anatomy textbooks were referenced and photo references were collected from pathology dissections to gain a greater understanding of the organs' texture. Several meetings with an anatomy professor were organized to review sketches and to discuss anatomical accuracy. 

3. sketching process

Several possible layouts were sketched. The direction that provided the most information and storytelling within one illustration was chosen. The most challenging aspect of the chosen illustration was organizing the macro and micro levels of basic kidney anatomy and having them relate to each other within the same perspective plane in order to help viewer understanding. Several iterations of more detailed sketches were produced based on feedback from faculty, classmates, and anatomy professor. 

4. final design

The illustration was sketched in pencil and then colored in Photoshop. Adobe Illustrator was used to create the image layout. By choosing a design direction where the kidney, renal pyramid and nephron (the 3 main increasingly smaller functional levels of the kidney in that order) are all shown within one image, all the major anatomical levels of the kidney are able to be presented within the same image.


5. reflection

Multiple regularly scheduled critiques throughout the project timeline were immensely helpful in making sure that all areas of the illustration were as accurate as possible. The CT scans were beneficial in that they acted as accurate real life references for the blood vessels. However in future projects it may be helpful to study a greater number of scans in order to ensure that no anatomical elements that are unique to a single individual are being carried over into the final design.