PROCESS: Glowing 'Shrooms Nature Cover
The goal of this piece was to visually describe the contents of a scientific paper using the format of a mock journal cover. I chose to visualize an article by Kotlobay et al., in which the biosynthesis pathway for eukaryotic luciferin was elucidated.

1

Concept Sketches

I started off with very rough sketches to get a sense of the composition as well as content of the piece. Keeping in mind the communication goal and target audience, I was looking to create a visual that was engaging for an educated lay public, and to garner their interest for the article it features.
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2

Comprehensive Sketch

From the rough concept sketches, I chose to continue the project with this particular one.

The terrarium contains the bioluminescent Neonothopanus nambi used in the article. As this is the main character of the story, it lights up the scene.

The glowing mushrooms "shed light" on the chemical pathway and luciferin molecule, which parallels the article's findings of the biosynthesis pathway of luciferin through use of N. nambi
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3

3D modeling

I completed the 3D modelling of this piece in Autodesk Maya. 
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4

Render and layout

For the final rendering, I decided to exclude the fireflies that I had illustrated in the comprehensive sketch, as they did not pertain to the topic of the article. 

I also modelled a mushroom to lay outside the terrarium to increase interaction between the different objects in the composition.


 
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After the first render was complete, I felt that the luciferin ball-and-stick model faded into the background and was difficult to discern. Therefore, I made the molecule emissive so that it glowed in parallel to the N. nambi.
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