Scientific Visualization


Paramyxovirus Fusion Animation

This animation shows the paramyxovirus fusion protein refolding event from pre to post fusion and features the cell membrane (top) and viral membrane (bottom) fusing together.  Sialic acid at the end of a glycan strand binds to one of the heads of the HN protein, tugging it upwards, revealing the HN stalk. The HN stalk then interacts with the PIV protein and cleaves it. The folding process begins with PIV embedding itself into the cell membrane and then the domains of PIV zipper together, causing the membranes to fuse together.

Molecular Basis Of Signaling In Neurons

The animation shows the molecular basis for electrical signaling in neurons.  It starts by showing neurons in a region of the brain called the neo-cortex. The neuron in the center receives inputs from other neurons via its dendrites, which respond with graded voltage changes, shown in purple. The cell body integrates the incoming voltages, and when a certain voltage threshold is reached, an action potential is initiated and begins to propagate into the dendrites and the axon.
As we zoom in, multiple action potentials can be seen making their way down the axon. Upon closer examination, we see that the surface of the axon is populated by voltage-gated channels that give rise to the action potential.  Each channel conducts sodium ions from outside the cell, where sodium is in abundance, to inside the cell where sodium is less abundant.  This sodium influx drives a change in membrane voltage.  The channels conduct sodium ions when they are in an open state (purple).  The glow around each of the channels signifies the membrane potential voltage.   As more ions flow through the channels, the membrane potential decreases, which in turn opens new channels, continuing the mechanism of propagation along the axon.
At closer detail, we see the mechanism of channel opening.  Each channel has two “gates”.   When the voltage reached a certain threshold, the channel senses this change and shifts its conformation (shape). A portion of the protein known as the activation gate (the four cylinders at the top) opens, allowing the flow of sodium ions. After a short delay, another gate at the bottom of the channel, known as the inactivation gate (the cylinder at the bottom), responds to the voltage change by closing, stopping the ion flow.  The channel cannot be activated again until it is reset to its original closed conformation.  This resetting process ensures the action potential travels in one direction.

nBody Simulation Animation

This animation depicts a binary black hole system being formed within a dense globular cluster.






Video Games

F.E.A.R. 3

Game Screenshots

Cinematic Scenes

Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe


Cinematic Screenshots



Cinematic Screenshots

About Me

Hey there! My name is Justin Muir and throughout my career I’ve always been working on some form of visual art. Currently I’m Senior Animator in the Visualization group at Northwestern University, combining twenty years of experience working in the video game industry with cutting edge scientific discovery. At the beginning of my career, I worked in Australian video game studios as an Art Lead/Art Director before moving to the US, working at Midway Games as Director of Animation and later to Day 1 (now Wargaming West) as Art Manager/Cinematic Lead.

At various times I have drawn, modeled, textured, rigged, animated, lit, rendered, composited, scripted, coded, managed and directed. Thanks for looking at my work. I occasionally do freelance work on the side, so if you’re interested send me an email.