Posted by: Leslie White | October 7, 2012

Reverse Dying

Front of my shirt!

Back of my shirt!

This is the stencil we used, pinned down on the back of my shirt.

This weekend Sarah Hegmann and I got together and reverse dyed some shirts. Reverse Dying is the process of intentionally bleaching dark colored shirts to make them look nerdy and amazing. This was out first go at it, so we used a rib cage stencil we found online.  Here is our process:

We first put a layer of plastic-wrapped cardboard inside of our shirts. This kept the shirts flat and prevented bleach from bleeding through to the other side. We then pinned the stencil down onto the shirt using thumb tacks (Sarah’s genius idea!). The stencil was printed or regular computer paper, but I covered the entire stencil with clear packing tape before cutting it out. This created a water-proof barrier so that the bleach wouldn’t soak through the paper in places where we didn’t want it. We started using a 1:7 bleach to water ratio, but eventually realized that mix wasn’t quite strong enough, so we added more bleach. We put the mixture in a spray bottle and squirted it directly onto the shirts. Then we waited. How long we had to wait depended on how strong the bleach solution was. By the end of the project, I was using a very high bleach concentration, and we could literally see the shirt changing colors within a matter of seconds. We quickly rinsed the shirts with cold water to wash away the bleach. If you leave bleach on the shirts for to long (or if your solution is too strong) the bleach will eat holes into the shirt.

Anyway, this was an inexpensive and fairly easy project and the shirts turned out really cool. I’ll definitely be trying this again!

Posted by: Leslie White | September 28, 2012

Maya 2012 batch rendering problem

I am unable to batch render right now in Maya. This is very frustrating, and Google tells me that I’m not the only one experiencing this exact issue. The problem is this: I set my render settings, run Batch render from within Maya – and then the Script editor tells me a moment later that the rendering is complete, even though NO images have been output. Some people online suggest that this is a file size issue. But my file is small, much smaller than the scenes I successfully batch rendered last week. Batch render is slightly important function as it allows the user to render out an entire scene by automatically rendering on frame after another until the scene is completely rendered. Without batch render, you would have to render out each individual frame manually. And I have 320 frames in my scene. RAWR. I’m trouble shooting this issue, but the more I research it online, the more I’m coming to understand that this is an idiopathic known issue – for which there is fix. ImageHere is a picture of an angry baby, to show how frustrated I am.

Posted by: Leslie White | September 18, 2012

The Genius Room

At Stanford, I share an office with Sarah Hegmann (fellow medical artist), our production coordinator, and our biomedical engineer. Our office is jokingly referred to as “The Genuis Room”, so Paul Brown brought in this Halloween decoration from his garden :p

Paul Brown brought in an early Halloween decoration!

Posted by: Leslie White | September 13, 2012

Yaaay football season!

Watching the Bears (lose) against Green Bay. Ah well…I remain a faithful Bears fan. Apparently, I use to do this when I was a child, which proves again that Baby Leslie was way cooler than Adult Leslie is now:

Baby Leslie loves football.

Posted by: Leslie White | September 12, 2012

My Nana, looking gorgeous at age 23

My Nana at age 23My Nana
Dear future Leslie:

This is your starting point and reminder to DRAW MORE ALL THE TIME. Somehow, moving out to the Bay area and starting a job in 3D medical art has made me forget to DRAW ALL THE TIME, which is what I should be doing. So, here we go.

This is a drawing of my Nana at 23 years of age, looking downright stunning. The shading is a bit rough, but ah well. I’ve also included a photo I took of her pretty recently – you can see her loveliness hasn’t faded one bit 🙂

Posted by: Leslie White | September 8, 2012

What I’m doing in California

Me at my desk at Stanford

Since I’m coming up on the 1 year anniversary of when I first moved to the Bay area, I thought it was time for an update about what I’m doing out here!

Where I live: I started out in Sunnyvale, but due to some unfortunate events (specifically my previous roommate turning out to have rage issues o.O), I have recently moved into my own place in Redwood City. The only thing I really miss from the south Bay is “Taste Buds”, my favorite Indian restaurant. Well, I don’t have to miss it to much. I was just there again last night….:p

As much as I still miss my friends and family from Illinois, I can’t help but love it out here. There are so many hiking trails and great downtown areas to visit, and I’m steadily making new friends.  I’m trying to adopt a more strict workout routine and take advantage of all this gorgeous weather. I’ve started taking kickboxing lessons, which truth-be-told might be a bit much for me. I’ve also been volunteering for several months at the Cancer Center @ Stanford Hospitals and Clinics. I’m usually working in the recovery area for cath/angio procedures and spend most of my time getting food and blankets for the patients, bringing family members from the waiting area to the recovery room, and restocking supplies.

My job: I work for the School of Medicine at Stanford University. Specifically, I work as a biomedical artist for the Division of Clinical Anatomy. There is one other medical artist in our department – Sarah Hegmann – and you can view her fantastic blog “Anatamation” here. I’m currently working on 3 main projects for Stanford:

Body ViewerAnatomy View, Cranial Nerves and Skull,
This is a collaborative project that Sarah and I are working on. Together we are creating a 3D model of the entire male human body that includes bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, neural structures, glands, and organs. Sarah recently finished the upper limb and I am nearing completion on the head/neck region. Since most of the structures are built from segmented CT data (see 4:30 – 5:30 in this video if you don’t know what “segmenting” is), our models are highly accurate. The models are ultimately housed in an iPad app being used by students and instructors in the Stanford School of Medicine.

Anatomy Viewer, select muscles of Head and Neck

Human Metabolic Pathway
Working with the Division of Biochemistry, I am redrawing the human metabolic pathway. The goal of this project is to redraw the entire “subway map” of the human metabolism to a level of detail that allows the user to zoom in to high levels of detail at the molecular level.

Body Movement Simulation
This project is still in its infancy, but the goal is to create muscle movement/contractions that can be simulated in real time.

Coming soon: I’m now trying to work things out with my job so that I can come home for an extended stay during the holidays.  I could use some time in Illinois to enjoy a proper snow-filled Christmas with friends/family.

Posted by: Leslie White | September 7, 2012

Hurricane Me!

That’s right, I have temporarily transformed into a Hurricane. Hurricane Me is scheduled to make landfall in Bermuda on Monday. Forecasters keep trying to downgrade me to a Tropical Storm, but I’m expected to get stronger once I reach land. I’ll post an update once I’ve morphed back into human form.

Posted by: Leslie White | January 23, 2012

ANOTHER Even Larger Solar Flare!

Image from SOHO












Ooooh, how I love the sun at solar maximum. This morning a large sunspot erupted into another huge solar flare! This one is massive, and definetelly worth watching in the SOHO Movie Theater! Here are the specs you want:

SOHO Movie Theater



All the white flecks flying across the screen are from the satellite computers being blasted with solar particles. Woo hooo!

Posted by: Leslie White | January 21, 2012

Double Barrel Solar Flare

Solar flares are not all that rare, but when they are directed towards Earth, a few cool things happen. This past Thursday morning, the sun experienced what they are calling a  “double barrel” solar event: two strong flares, one right after the other. The SOHO Movie Theater website is a good place to go to watch the flares. You can also watch a pre-made video here.

Screenshot of the SOHO Movie Theater webpage

The reason the ejection looks like it’s going in all directions is because it’s coming towards us. As a result of the flare, we can expect to see the northern lights in the northern hemisphere. is a good place to monitor the aurora activity. For my friends back in Illinois, keep your fingers crossed for a K-index of 7 or better. Right now it’s at 1, but as soon as the energy from the flare reaches Earth (which should happen tomorrow evening), it should spike. You can monitor the K-index by going to the Spaceweather website, and scrolling about half way down the column on the left side of the homepage.

Posted by: Leslie White | January 17, 2012

Hiking: St. Joseph’s Hill

View from the top of the first hill.









This past weekend I went hiking with my coworker Sarah at St. Joseph’s Hill in Los Gatos. The trail leads up to the summit of St. Josephs – a 650 foot change in elevation. We didn’t make it to the summit, but we did complete a 2.4 mile loop on the trail. We went early in the morning so the trail was pretty empty, except for the crazy super Mom pushing her kid up the mountain in a stroller. We stopped to take a few photos, some of which are below. I’m already planning my next hiking trip for next weekend. I want to go to Uvas Canyon Park and see the multiple waterfalls along the trail. We are finally supposed to get some rain this week, so hopefully the falls will be roaring.

Foggy hills.

A wood fairy!!!

Eucalyptus Tree

The route we took

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