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3D Medical Animation Studio, Ghost Productions, “Inspires Hope” for the Future of Cardiovascular Medicine

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CLIENT: Dassault Systems / Simulia

In the business of 3D medical animation, we can always count on the engineering geniuses at Dassault Systems to not only amaze us with new technologies that ride the very cusp of possible and science fiction, but also to challenge us to find ways to explain and market these technologies. Their software products are nothing short of revolutionary. SolidWorks, just one of their many titles, completely revolutionized computer aided design and manufacturing so much so that 90% of our medical device clients now provide us CAD models from SolidWorks. As little as a few years ago, the vast majority used ProE.  Simulia, their division dedicated to the developing new standards in finite element analysis and frighteningly accurate simulations for engineering, brought in a new challenge for us with this particular project.

We’d worked with Simulia in the past when they needed us to create an animation that helped explain the features and benefits of their Abaqus Knee Simulator, a software solution that allows engineers to test their designs virtually, radically speeding the development of new joint implants. This time we were challenged to explain the potentials of using similar software to provide cardiologists with significantly better diagnostics by allowing them to run extremely precise simulations on their patient’s hearts. Because the simulation is run using a 3D model generated from each patient who needs treatment, doctors may soon be able to dramatically improve patient outcomes. They’ll know exactly where to place pacemaker leads and potentially other treatment options for the best result for each patient.

The goal for this project is to inspire thought leadership and help the world realize how valuable individualized 3D models and accurate simulations could be in treating life-threatneing conditions. This software gives doctors the ability to explore various treatment possibilities with each patient’s specific condition and physiology and this is likely to cause a dramatic improvement in how doctors diagnose and treat their patients. Ghost Productions knew that this project is extremely important and they needed to deliver a presentation that properly conveyed this importance.

Nic, who is responsible for directing our medical animtion projects to insure medical accuracy began brainstorming with our Creative Director, Josh. Together they came up with a few possible scenarios that may be useful to explain Simulia’s vision. They pitched their concepts to Executive Producer, Stephan, who immediately latched on to a concept that Josh had pitched because the concept both adequately explained the concept and because many of the assets needed for production had largely been completed. Several years earlier Stephan submitted a script to Medtronic that was written as a sequel to Heal, except this animation was to feature cardiovascular technologies instead of orthopedic and trauma devices, and starred Mario, the somewhat overweight character that accidentally caused the events leading up to Leo falling from the ladder. The animation also featured a little girl who was to be Mario’s granddaughter as the protagonist to help inspire empathy from the audience. Though Medtronic ended up passing on the script and the animation, Ghost had already begun building assets, including Mario and the little girl. Because Simulia’s deadline was critically short, it was necessary to choose a story that was both possible and successful.

Stephan then wrote a script to tell the story of a young girl with a life-threatening cardiovascular condition receiving care from her physician who had the full benefits of Simulia’s heart modeling and simulation technologies. We got the production rolling at breakneck speed and didn’t take a breath until we were finished. With only 43 net-production days from script approval final draft, we delivered the animation in time for our client’s marketing campaign and technology showcase event.


BUDGET: Undisclosed at client’s request


Cannulated Screw Animation Case Study: FlowFX

Project: Cannulated Screw Marketing Animation for FlowFX, LLC.

MISSION: Provide Orthogen with a series of short promotional animations of the FlowFX cannulated screw systems for AAOS. Two involve femoral neck fracture that can be leveraged from the previously produced FlowNail animation. The remaining two are depicting the Flowfx technology in Tibial and Foot fracture applications. All of these animations will follow the same high level of visually compelling quality produced in the first FlowNail animation.

SOLUTION: We needed to show the infusion of bone void filler and biologics through the cannulated screw systems offered by FlowFX, LLC. We did this with a creative particle solution developed by Sam Gannaway, Technical Fx lead. It combined a number of dynamic fluid effects that did a great job of showing the progressive intrusion of BVF and biologics through the cannulated screws: Flow Nail, Flow Screw, and 2-Can.

cannulated Screw flow screw cannulated screw flow nail

We were really cut loose by our client, Patrick Sweeney. Patrick’s openness to creative ideas and camera angles helped our creative animation team and 3d techs deliver a really cool and dynamic animation that could have been sterilized by reigning in the swooping camera direction by Josh Lynch, Creative Director. Swooping cameras and sensitive focus on the subject helps this piece hold focus and show the innovative solutions, including the cannulated screw systems, created by FlowFX, LLC. and OrthoGen. Thanks Patrick!

COMPLETED: November, 2014

BUDGET: ≈ $20,000 – $25,000


Shoulder Arthroplasty Animation Case Study: Integra Lifesciences

Project: Shoulder Arthroplasty Marketing Animation for Integra Lifesciences

MISSION: Build an engaging animation of Integra’s line of shoulder arthroplasty devices highlighting the features and benefits of the Modular Shoulder, Reverse Shoulder, and Proximal Humeral Plating Systems.

SOLUTION: Tie in cues from the branding using color and shape from the logo and style guide as reference. We also kept that theme focused and attractive by limiting the colors of the anatomy to be similar to synthetic materials like titanium and carbon fiber.

Shoulder arthroplasty proximal humeral plate Shoulder arthroplasty modular and reverse

By limiting the focus of the anatomic color we were able to utilize the contrast sensitivity to focus attention on the shoulder arthroplasty implants and devices; Integrating their visual reference qualities as they related to the context. We were able to build this really cool aesthetic by integrating lots of creative coordination with the forward thinking marketing team at Integra Lifesystems. Without that kind of open client support, we would never have been able to achieve something with such focused aesthetic style. In the end, it turned out to be a really collaborative experience that rewarded both us and our clients. Thanks guys!

COMPLETED: March, 2014

BUDGET: ≈ $15,000 – $20,000


Now Hiring – Lead Compositor

Join the team! ghOst Productions is looking to hire a creative and hard working compositor experienced with AE 3D cameras and 3D compositing. We’re looking for someone with a strong aesthetic and drive to produce dynamically beautiful finished content. You will be coordinating with the post-production team and 3D department to improve the quality of our finished animations. Experience with Maya is a HUGE plus.

Job Summary

-Checking rendered frames, looking for glitches, missing frames, and poor quality footage.
-Putting together rough composites, blocking out timing, transitions and making sure everything flows smoothly within the AE composites
-Creating assets to be utilized within AE projects, for example; cutting out images, creating widgets, labels, background elements, music/sound effects.
-Willingness to learn and bring new ideas/ solutions to improve the look of ghOst.
-Keep AE files organized.
-Learn and comprehend the 3D stereoscopic workflow.
-Have the basic skills to move around in Maya, for creating color mattes, exporting 3D cameras, 3D logos and anything else that might be needed.
-Rotoscoping of video if not key-able.
-Able to troubleshoot and problem solve.
-Meet deadlines, even when it requires you to stay late to get it done. This position may require you to occasionally work +50 hrs per week.


Knowledge and competency with 3D software, matching audio to the timeline in AE

2-5 years of experience as a compositor


3D compositing
Understand layers that are rendered out of 3D
Render passes
3D cameras
Motion graphics and branding
Sound effects
Narration editing

After Effects

The following programs are a HUGE plus:
DVD Studio Pro
DVD Authoring
Cinema 4D

We offer medical, dental and a competitive 401k retirement plan. We have super-flexible core hours that allow you to work when you are at your most productive, free highly-caffeinated beverages, opportunities for travel for continuing education, free parking, Herman Miller Chairs, ergonomic desks, a scary-powerful render farm, freedom to work on your own ideas after-hours, and absolutely NO CUBICLES!!!

If you are interested in this position, and want to join the Ghost team, please send your portfolio, cover letter, and resume to


Endoscope Animation Case Study: Aesculap MINOP InVent

Project: MINOP InVent Endoscope Marketing Animation for Aesculap, Inc.

MISSION: Produce a dynamic and visually compelling animation to show the flexibility and versatility of the MINOP Endoscope for use in advanced neuroendoscopy for neurosurgery, utilizing multiple ports in an application that will highlight benefits with multiple tooling.

SOLUTION: This project presented a number of challenges for us to rise to. One important detail was for us to draw attention to the unique, large ovoid working channel in the endoscope. We also needed to highlight other features that would be recognized by the neurosurgeon audience. We blended the use of 3d motion graphics and text to follow the key features, draw attention to them, and keep the core audience engaged to show the subsequent benefits.

MINOP endoscope working channel  Distal tip of MINOP endoscope

Exaggeration was used to convey the concept that the endoscope’s large ovoid working channel offers a much greater range of motion for the tooling, and that more than one tool can be used in the same channel. We used the camera angles to hide that we were actually passing through the side of the endoscope’s working channel to help better outline the messaging about the improved mobility. We were careful not to take this too far though, just enough to clearly tell the story but not to visually promise more than is possible. We did this by quantifying the angle of access available with the actual numbers.

A number of special tools were used to model and animate parts of the anatomy in the brain. The choroid plexus, near the colloid cyst being dissected, was built using a Maya nParticle emitted from a bundled spline, then converted to poly’s. The colloid cyst was deflated using nCloth. Special attention to shading helped make this animation really great.

COMPLETED: May, 2014

BUDGET: ≈ $30,000


Now Hiring – 3D Maya Rigger & Generalist at Ghost Productions

Join the team! Ghost Productions is looking to hire a creative and hard working 3D Maya Rigger & Generalist to join our production team. As a 3D Maya rigger & Generalist, your primary goal will be creating and animating content for clients to utilize for their training, education, entertainment, and marketing purposes.

Essentail Functions & Responsibilities:

– Apply rigging and technical skills toward generating 3D animated content.
-Effectively communicating client ideas through a visual medium.
-Meeting Production deadlines.
-Display a strong sense of teamwork.
-Updating project management software on a daily basis and accurately logging time on projects utilizing SOP (Standard Operation Procedures) to coordinate projects with other team members.
-Discovering new techniques for the 3D production process that makes for a more visually stunning product and a strong, more efficient production pipeline.
-Fulfilling objectives and directives of directors and managers.

Job Requirements & Qualifications

– Minimum, Associate Degree, or proven artistic talent.

Knowledge Requirements (licenses, programs, or certifications):
– Autodesk Maya, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Basic Compression and Authoring Software.

– Knowledge and competency with 3D software, scripting, modeling, animation, and rendering.

Physical Requirement:
– The ability to operate computer equipment.

We offer medical and dental benefits and a competitive 401k retirement plan. We have super-flexible core hours that allow you to work when you are at your most productive, free highly-caffeinated beverages, opportunities for travel for continuing education, free parking, Herman Miller Chairs, ergonomic desks, a scary-powerful render farm, freedom to work on your own ideas after-hours, and absolutely NO CUBICLES!!!

If you are interested in this position, and want to join the Ghost team, please send your portfolio, cover letter, and resume to


Posterior Spinal Fixation Animation Case Study: FacetLink, Inc.

Project: Posterior Spinal Fixation Animation for FacetLink, Inc.

MISSION: Produce a comprehensive and descriptive product animation highlighting the unique features of their posterior spinal fixation systems: HEMI and MINI cross-linking devices. Additionally, show the posterior spinal fixation systems in context with beautifully rendered anatomy to highlight the biomechanics advantages and features.

SOLUTION: One of the main goals was to convey the parent company, LinkSpine’s dedication to preserving soft tissue and developing fixation technologies that used the natural biomechanics of the posterior spinal anatomy as inspiration for the product development.

Posterior Spinal Fixation: Cortical Screw Posterior Spinal Fixation: Small incision

To achieve this indirect goal, we developed a comprehensive and visually compelling 3d model of the incision and posterior spinal anatomy proximal to the lumbar facet joints. By far, this is one of the most beautiful examples of posterior spinal and surgical anatomy we’ve ever made. We engaged our creative team of modelers, and shaders to add that extra detail, appealing to the artist in them.

The result is an animation we continue to be proud of and set the standard for similar surgical applications.

COMPLETED: July, 2014

BUDGET: ≈ $30,000


TAVR Animation Case Study: DirectFlow Aortic Valve Implant

Project: TAVR Cardio Animation Direct Flow Medical, Inc

MISSION: Build a dynamic and visually compelling animation showing the versatility and function of the DirectFlow TAVR System.

SOLUTION: The creation of this flexible and adaptive technology presented some really delicious technical challenges. With creativity, significant technical experience and brute force, Nole Murphy, ghOst Productions Technical Director was able to build a graceful and sophisticated implantation rig.

topView TAVR Deployed TAVR

The complexity and need for thoughtful rigging solutions didn’t end there as the system needed to show the flexible adaptation of the technology to a beating heart; Additionally to allow for the change of final implant placement while portraying the agility of the implant redeployment sequence.

These technical challenges were blended with a high degree of visual sophistication and contrast sensitivity giving the anatomic sequences a real sense of context with internal cardiac anatomy. Subtle attention to shading by our lighting/shading dept., and continued stellar creative contributions by our Lead Compositor, Jason Craft resulted in a finished animation that told the story of implantation with unsurpassed beauty.

COMPLETED: July, 2014

BUDGET: $35,000-$40,000


Veritas Health Strikes Gold in Partnership with Ghost Productions

Veritas Health wins Telly and Communicator Awards:

Since early last year (2014), Veritas Health and Ghost Productions have been working hard on developing some of the most comprehensive and visually compelling series of animations to support the patient education content on On the heels of wrapping up 60 animations, our team has just received notification of a string of 2015 online media awards for the Herniated Disc Animation!



The 21st Annual Communicator Awards:Veritas Health communicator awards




The 2015 Telly Awards:Veritas Health TellyAward

  • 2015 Bronze Award for Use of Animation in Online Webisodes, Segments, or Promotional Pieces
  • 2015 Bronze Award for Online Video – Education
  • 2015 Bronze Award for Online Video – Health & Fitness
  • 2015 Bronze Award for Online Video – Animation

The dedicated Veritas Health Animation Team at Ghost Productions continues to strive for excellence entering the second year of service in partnership with Veritas Health. This year promises to be a great one as the team diversifies animation content to related areas of medicine through Veritas Health’s patient education website.


Restaurant Picks by Ghost Productions Medical Director | Nix Pix

Nix Pix: Ghost Productions’ Medical Director’s Favorite Restaurant Picks:

I’m not just the Medical Content Director at Ghost I’m also a guy that likes to experience new tastes and share that happiness with my friends at Ghost. A few months back I started a list of some of my favorite restaurant picks to eat and what I liked about them for some new peeps at Ghost. Here’s that list of places to go around the Twin Cities: I’ve got more to add but it’s a start:

Restaurant Picks set01

Bradstreet crafthouse:

 HUGE cocktail menu. The Elvis pork belly sandwich is really great.

The 112 Eatery:

This is one of my all time favorite places. I’ve also got a superstition that I’ll like any restaurant that uses a number in the name. So far it’s worked great LOL. I absolutely love their pan-seared brussel-sprouts in a balsamic reduction. It’s not on their winter menu though. I’d have this: tagliatelle w/ foie gras meatballs

Strip club:

Great casual place. Really great food and cocktails. Just watch that movie on the link; Deconstructed apple pie – Foie gras apple pie! I mean OMG!! I can’t wait to try that! AND It’s just fun to say you’re taking your date to the Strip Club.

Restaurant Picks set02

The Bachelor Farmer:

 The dude in charge of the cocktails is frakin brilliant. I had the best, most balanced gin martini here I’ve ever had. Perfect. The have “Toast” dishes. Their a play on the local nordic roots of bland food on toast but super tasty and full of flavor. Strangely, really delicious swedish food. LOL!

Sea Change:

The “Fish & Chips” really creative. I had skate here too but I don’t see it on the menu anymore. Really solid food all around, a beautiful view of the river. Not inexpensive.


Here’s a plug for my neighborhood place. Casual eating. Good food too. The swedish meatballs are awesome. You can order deep fried pickles here too. MMmmmm. They also have the local brews on tap like “612”.

Restaurant Picks set03


Really hip place. I had the rabbit and it was frakin awesome. Creative gin drinks. That’s always cool. Live music too. They’ve got a nice outdoor deck thing along side a small park with large metal and stone sculptures if you don’t want to compete with the music. I’m guessing the life span on the outdoor thing is short these days though. BUT in the spring…

Bar la Grassa:

Owned by the same folks as the 112. Really creative gin drink selection. The skate here was really great too! Sea scallops with trumpet mushrooms. Gnocchi with cauliflower and orange. I really want to try that one next.

The Butcher and Boar:

Order something that will include the Turkey Braunschweiger. Sounds weird but frakin’ amazing!!! Great drink menu.


Solid bar with really really great mexican cuisine. The skirt steak tacos are Great! Especially with a Michelada or an Old Cuban. MMMMM. OH the Ahi Tuna tacos are really great too. I can be a bit loud. Try to get seated in the upper loft if you go to the MPLS location.


Dude. Simply great food. Great atmosphere. One of the best braised octopus dishes I’ve ever had. When I went here I asked for a “Corn-n-Oil’ while waiting for our table. The drinksmith at the restaurant bar said he didn’t know it but he’d find out. Here’s the deal, I’ve been trying to get this drink right, personally, for months. It’s always turning out sort of discordant. This guy comes back with a drink he’d never made and it was really awesome. I told him about how I’ve tried to make it, He said, Yeah, I looked at the recipe and figured it needed some balancing. WOW he got it right.

Restaurant Picks set04


Right by the st. paul farmers market. Really beautiful place with a blend of finished and unfinished warehouse architecture. Awesome food but the cheese is second to none. I probably spent $50 on cheese. LOL! There is a deli connected to the restaurant and its also pretty awesome. The point is they grow/raise their own food or locally source most of the menu. The server will go through it when you order. Really pretty interesting place.

La Belle Vie:

A bit expensive but you get a server that serves ONLY you. This person literally doesn’t serve anybody else while you are there. Bitchin’ The food is exemplary. The cocktail bar is run by Johnny Michaels and the menu is SUPER creative: Order the “Handsome Devil” or “the Most Interesting Man In the World”. WOW.

Chino Latino:

You probably already know this one but here goes: Pretty much a fun and creative menu. At the end of the meal, even if you’re eating Cuban Fried Pork Tacos or whatever, you get a fortune. The fortune I got the night I found out my kid’s birthmom was pregnant with a my little girl. EIGHT months pregnant, My fortune at this place said this: “Damage control is no longer an option”. LOL!!! HOLY BALLS!! That’s just plain frakin accurate.

There are so many more I’ve been to. I’ll have to continue to build this list… In the meantime, for those that try these places out which do you like best? Post a comment


Now Hiring – Sales Assistant

Ghost Productions is seeking a motivated and positive individual to support our Sales Lead to develop and maintain new and returning accounts for Medical Animation and Interactive Production. This person will work closely with our Medical Content Director with the goal to expand experience in our unique field and advance as Medical Animation/Interactive Sales Representative.



Team with Sales Lead to facilitate new and returning client project needs.

Support planning sales strategies for clients and projects and assist implementation.

Maintain and support our CRM database (Daylite).

Coordinate inquiries and organize sales meeting schedules.



Strong organizational, communication, and time management skills.

Experience with CRM software (Daylite or similar).

Basic understanding of medicine or medical experience is not required but helpful.

Ability to manage multiple tasks at a time simultaneously.

If you are interested in this position or would like to learn more, please send a cover letter and resume or your questions to nic@ghostproductions(dot)com.