Archive 2011: 3D modelling & Python Molecular Viewer

Cinema 4D and Python

A good method to improve content for presentations is combining different technologies and skills. Above and below the result of such a mix. Most of the creation is done with Cinema4D. Cinema4D allows to add extra functions using Python.
With the open-source plug-in, embedded Python Molecular Viewer (ePMV) animators can tap into scientific databases, such as the Protein Data Bank (, to extract molecular structures, images, microscopy data and other key information.Once loaded in, it’s up to the animator to create the beauty…
I used subsurface scattering to create the brittle-wax-translucent look and feel. It took some time to get the rendertimes somewhat acceptable, the new physical renderer in C4D R13 was very helpfull, rendertimes decreased from about two hours per frame to 20 minutes (on 8 cores) 30 frames per seconde… do the math… Color correction was done in Adobe After Effects, no motion blur or depth of field are used to make sure that the visual keeps all the details, a trade-off between scientific accuracy and pure beauty.

Tools used:

Maxon Cinema4D R13

Joel O tron’s MicroFloaties Rig

Adobe After Effects

Python Molecular Viewer – credits: Johnson, G.T. and Autin, L., Goodsell, D.S., Sanner, M.F., Olson, A.J. (2011). ePMV Embeds Molecular Modeling into Professional Animation Software Environments. Structure 19, 293-303.

The animation above is just a proof of concept, i’m an animator not a scientist, the visual representation is not verified. For accurate information on the IgG1 molecule structure i would recommend to search elsewhere.