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AFCG Archives: Medical
PBS - The Mind
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Series Developed By: Richard Hutton
Writer/Director: Martin Freeth
Narrator: George Page
Cinematographer: Peter Chapman
Editor: Keith Raven
Music: Gary Anderson
Author: Richard Restak
CGI/Post: AFCG, Inc.
CGI: Floyd Gillis
Date: 1987 - 1988

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Still frames from one of the many CG animations and graphics of the brain and it's neural networks created for the nine part WNET/PBS/BBC series "The Mind".

Following is a quote accompanying one of our CG images of the brain published in the SDSC Computational Biology GatherScatter archives...

This view of the human brain was computed from data collected by Robert B. Livingston, professor emeritus of the Scripps Research Institute Neuroscience department. To collect the data, a normal human brain was encased in a block of paraffin. Successive thin layers were shaved off the block, and the top of the block was photographed after each pass. The resulting frames were hand-digitized to produce approximately 100 contours spaced 1.1 mm apart. Distinct neuroanatomical structures were digitized separately, so that they could be colored and displayed individually. The contour data was converted into triangular meshes by Floyd Gillis at the Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla, CA).

A nice article, but it does need some correcting. Floyd Gillis did convert Dr. Livingston's contour data to triangular meshes, however he was never an employee or student at the Scripps Research Institute. Floyd met with Dr. Livingston in early 1987 at his La Jolla labs to pickup the contour data and to receive a "quick education" in the main structures of the brain and how the contour data was collected and organized.

Floyd took Dr. Livingston's 2D contour data back to Omnibus Computer Graphics in New York and started working on the 3D brain data for the nine part PBS series "The Mind". Omnibus went out of business shortly after the project began, so he formed his own production company (AFCG, Inc.) to continue and finish the project.

Floyd also wrote an interactive lofting program running on the Silicon Graphics workstation to help create the 3D triangular meshes from the 2D cross sections. In return for the use of the contour data, Floyd sent Dr. Livingston a copy of the final 3D triangular mesh surface data.

In 1988, this 3D surface data of the brain and its interior structures was one of the most detailed in existence.

Floyd Gillis received the 1989 Emmy Award nomination for Best Graphics in the Television News and Documentary category for his work on "The Mind".

Special thanks to: Richard Hutton, Bonnie Benjamin, Martin Freeth, and Robert Livingston.