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Beautiful Brain Project

Since a picture says more than a thousand words, researchers strive to bring their A-game when it comes to making pictures, graphs, renderings etc. in the process of disseminating their scientific results.

At brainhack we would like to launch a project that aims to take rendering imaging results to the next level. A first step would be to gather available methods for making surface renderings (e.g., caret, freesurfer, SUMA). We could add short tutorials/scripts that can do simple mapping onto the surfaces within these softwares. The aim is to make brain renderings easy and readily implementable as a post-processing step during image analyses. As such, we will be able to surpass the tedious task of ‘screen-grabbing’ when making yet another internal presentation for the lab. Better brain pictures will lead to easier/better/more straightforward discussion.

Yet, it should be our goal to surpass what is possible within these packages, striving to make even more beautiful figures. For instance, Toro et al., 2008, Cerebral Cortex, Stark et al., 2008, J Neurosci, or Margulies et al., 2009 PNAS are excellent examples of researchers that took the act of making eye-pleasing figures a step further. A second goal of the project would be to come up with (semi)-automatic ways to port results to programs such as Blender or Adobe Illustrator.

What skills are needed? Knowledge of rendering with caret, freesurfer, SUMA, fsl slicer, mricron … (sorry if I missed any, you are of course welcome too). People who know their way around Blender, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop. Further, we need people who know python or any form of scripting that will enable use to link the specific brain packages to e.g., Blender.

Who can join? Anybody with an eye for fonts, colors, renderings. Anybody with graphical ideas for making figures of the brain. Anybody with knowledge on how to make these renderings.

Immediate Goals:
– get together at the BrainHack Unconference to get things going
– overview of brain rendering software and their possibilities
– enable automatic surface rendering as an easy post-processing step
– improve publication-ready figures by thinking outside the typical brain renderings

How can I join? You can email maarten.mennes [@nospam] donders.ru.nl if you are interested in getting involved.