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Take Your Testimoney To New Heights With Long White Coat medical Illustrations
The Power of Medical Illustrations: Introduction
The human brain can process visual stimuli faster than verbal information; multimedia learning studies reveal that people retain 10% of what they read, 30% of what they see, and 50% of what they see and hear. As pictures can convey more information than text, it’s no surprise that 93% of human communication is visual. Hence, illustrations become vital tools in medical education and practice.
Given the powerful impact of images, medical illustrations are seen not only as artistic representations but as high-quality aids in health research and practice. Along with zoological and botanical illustrations, biological illustrations can enhance the dissemination of knowledge across the globe. The main benefit of medical illustrations is that they can provide detailed and simplified information about human anatomy, trauma, and treatment. Health-related visuals can also advance medical knowledge and empower patients in an engaging way. Medical illustrations can be used in journals, educational programs, health apps, conferences, online publications, and health-related games. Additionally, such tools can be employed by authorities to support malpractice cases and insurance claims.
Medical Illustrations: A Journey through History
The medical knowledge and artistic value visuals convey are impressive; so is the evolution of medical illustrations itself (Ghosk, 2015). From grandeur pieces of art to naturalistic images, medical illustrations have evolved into valuable tools in medicine:
- Classical Period: The study of the human body can be traced back to ancient Greece. Prominent figures such as Aristotle focused on animal and human dissections, introducing the concept of anatomy. Perhaps the most influential medical scholar was Galen of Pergamum, whose work ruled medicine until the 16th However, illustrations were not popular aids as dissections were restricted, and most of the medical papers were based solely on descriptions.
- Middle-Ages: It was in the Late Middle Ages when a positive academic environment and interest in anatomy was fostered. With the establishment of numerous educational centers and the printing technology, medical knowledge progressed. Mondino de Liuzzi published a detailed book on human anatomy, which promoted the use of medical illustrations across educational settings. Liuzzi’s student Guido de Vigevano was the first one to introduce illustrations in medical texts, changing the history of medical illustrations and the visualization of science.
- Renaissance: With the advances of the printing technology, handmade drawings were substituted by woodcut illustrations. Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the most prominent artists interested in medical illustrations. His health-related work still surprises with its accuracy. Da Vinci’s illustrations involved even female figures, coitus, and fetuses. Another prominent artist interested in anatomy was Michelangelo. His interest in the human body can be seen in his sculptures and paintings and his collaboration with physician Realdo Colombo. During the Renaissance, scientists collaborated mainly with talented artists (Amusco and Beccera, Vesalius, and Calcar); as a result, medical illustrations had more artistic value than scientific accuracy. Although scholars and artists, such as Charles Estienne, believed that illustrations were powerful tools and could compensate for the gaps in empirical science, images were dramatized. Illustrations were often polished, and cadavers were presented in heroic poses. It was Fabriciuys and Veslingius who introduced more realistic images and excluded grandeur landscapes and artistic ornaments. Realistic medical images were sought to provide detailed and accurate information about anatomy and injuries.
- Early Modern Period-20th Century: Despite the transition to more realistic medical illustrations, anatomists continued working with artists who had different styles. For example, while Hunter favored naturalistic images, Albinus and Wandelaar valued artistic images, idealized figures, and surreal backgrounds. Note that other prominent names from this period include Bidloo, DeLairresse (a student of Rembrandt), Felix Vicq dÁzyr, and Mascagni. It was John Bell, considered the father of surgical anatomy, and his brother Sir Charles Bell who transformed the field of medical illustrations and emphasized the importance of realistic medical images. Consequently, the 19th century was marked by higher accuracy, detailed atlases, and sectional anatomy. Prominent names include Cloquet, Bourgery, Jacob, Hirschfeld, Leveille, Henry Gray, Carter Gray, and Christian Wilhelm Braune. Henry Gray, in particular, published Gray’s Anatomy, which is considered the Bible of Anatomy.
- Modern Times: Medical illustrations completely changed in the 20th Independent professional Brodel and gynecologist Kelley introduced new methods to represent medical illustrations, including vivid tissue images. In fact, Brodel is considered the father of modern medical illustrations. The field of medical illustrations slowly became a separate and notable area of interest. Note that another famous professional who facilitated the wild use of medical illustrations is Netter – his artwork enhanced the production of digital images for elaborating high-quality illustrations. Medical advances, such as X-ray, sonography, echocardiography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging, enabled the use of medical imaging in illustrations. Photography also evolved, including 3D imaging, digital datasets, and clear resolution. Last but not least, software programs, Photoshop editing, and web-based tools facilitate the preparation and replication of medical illustrations. Today, technological advancements keep reshaping the nature of medical illustrations; digital techniques provide 3D and 4D images and medical animations to help both professionals and patients obtain transparent information and improve treatment outcomes worldwide. Furthermore, digital illustrations facilitate the uptake of knowledge and interoperability across borders.
The Role of Technology in Medical Illustrations
Medical illustrations have evolved significantly during the years, with technology playing a fundamental role in medical research, education, and practice. The technological advancements of the 21st century (e.g., medical imaging) have fostered the development of high-quality medical illustrations. One of the main benefits of technology is rooted in the fact that medical illustrations are not handmade anymore, which allows experts to modify, edit, export, and share images easily. Furthermore, sophisticated web-based tools and photography methods enhance the wide use of medical illustrations in practice; software programs and apps allow non-artists (e.g., radiologists) to create detailed and engaging images.
Because of the wide use of digital services in everyday life, technological tools and editing programs can be used even by novice illustrators. As such tools do not require the same skills as pen-and-paper drawing or painting techniques, even people without artistic inclinations can create medical diagrams, models, and animations (McCarty et al., 2018). While some medical illustrations are artistic and highly detailed, novice illustrators can focus on simplified illustrations that convey a concrete message. Such simplified illustrations can include line drawings, which can be supported by different software programs (e.g., Photoshop) to add fills, highlights, and depth. Here we should mention there’s a difference between vector and raster graphics, which are two major concepts in digital illustrations. Vector graphics represent shapes made of 2D points connected by lines, whereas raster graphics are defined as pixels in a matrix.
How to Create a Medical Illustration?
Medical illustrations are essential biological illustrations used to transfer medical knowledge and improve treatments. Just like the history of medical illustrations, the science of medical illustrations is like an art palette that mixes skills from different fields, such as art, science, and digital editing. The field of medical illustrations keeps evolving, pushed by the newest medical and technological advancements across the globe. While creating medical illustration has a long history, and it’s a form of art itself, software programs and apps allow even novice illustrators and health professionals to create illustrations. To make a simple diagram, for instance, three basic steps exist; abstraction, simplification, and exaggeration. Abstraction refers to the process of deciding which structure to include and which to exclude in the drawing, simplification of the subject improves comprehension, and exaggeration emphasizes small but vital biological structures (McCarty et al., 2018).
With the increasing use of digital tools in everyday life, it’s no surprise there are various software programs and applications that can help in the creation of computer-based illustrations. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are popular programs with different editing options and tools. Interestingly, the popular presentation program Microsoft PowerPoint also supports the creation of medical illustrations, including vector shapes, gradient fills, and shadows. With the increasing use of touch screens and mobile devices (e.g., tablets), apps are also highly popular for the creation of digital illustrations. Some of the popular apps to create vector illustrations include Inkpad, Graphic, Adobe Illustrator Draw, etc. When it comes to software programs and applications, we should note that there are a few tools that novice illustrators should master. The pen tool, for example, can help illustrators create paths and shapes with defined anchor points. The color fills can enrich and clarify medical illustrations. The brush tool, on the other hand, can be used to add fills, highlights, and texture to create dimension and visual effects. Additionally, illustrators can create pen-and-paper sketches and scan them into Photoshop or use 3D volumetric PACS (picture archiving communications system) images, which can be modified or distributed digitally.
Medical Illustrations: The Key to Engaging and Detailed Health Information
Medical illustrations can transform healthcare worldwide. With the increasing use of cameras, online search engines, and smart devices, both professionals and the public can access medical illustrations easily. Yet, copyright laws and patient privacy are vital factors, which may restrict the free use of medical illustrations (McCarty et al., 2018). After all, authors should be given credit for their original work, and health professionals should be encouraged to create unique diagrams and illustrations. Creating original and customized illustrations can only improve education, publishing, and marketing, as well as the dissemination of knowledge across medical and educational settings.
To enhance original work and high-quality medical illustration creation, our team of experts can guide health professionals through their scientific endeavors. Based on specific enquiries and depending on the target audience, we can help in creating accurate and engaging medical illustrations, including stock images for marketing, digital images, 3D diagnostics, custom visuals for legal cases, 4D images, motion graphics for conferences, medical animations, and graphic designs for apps, books, and brochures (Culley, 2016). Note that medical illustrations can be saved in different file formats (e.g., SVG, PNG, JPEG) to allow further editing or improved resolution settings. With both artistic precision and scientific accuracy, our medical illustration services help to convey vital medical information and improve health outcomes worldwide.
Medical Illustrations: Conclusion
Visuals play a paramount role in information processing, memory, and learning. As explained above, studies show that 93% of human communication is visual, and people retain more information about what they see than what they read. Consequently, medical illustrations become vital aids in medical and educational settings. Along with botanical and zoological illustrations, medical illustrations are essential biological illustrations, which can provide information about human anatomy, injuries, and treatment protocols. Medical visuals can be used in journals, books, digital publications, apps, games, conferences, and marketing strategies; they can also support legal cases and insurance claims.
The creation of medical illustrations, which has been marked by the colorful strokes of history, keeps evolving. While medical texts in the Ancient world were mainly descriptive, anatomists, and artists in the Renaissance viewed illustrations as a valuable piece of art and dramatization. Medical illustrations in the 17th and 18th centuries, on the other hand, reflected the artistic inclinations of the illustrator, which completely changed in Modern times when realistic and accurate images were the main focus of interest. Today, technology influences medicine and medical illustrations and allows even novice illustrators to create detailed images to convey and distribute medical information. Digital tools, software programs, and applications provide numerous tools to create realistic, informative, and artistic visuals, all protected by copyright laws. Medical illustrations are essential to improve the dissemination of knowledge and comprehension. In the end, the visualization of science is paramount as the adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
- Culley, J. (2016). Creating a digital medical illustration. Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, 39.
- Ghosk, S. (2015). Evolution of illustrations in anatomy: a study from the classical period in Europe to modern times. Anatomical Sciences Education, 8 (2), p. 175-188.
- McCarty, J., Golofit, P., Tigges, S., & Skalski, M. (2018). Digital Medical Illustration for the Radiologist. RadioGraphics, 38 (4).