Neuron Synapses Visualized – ZBrush, Photoshop

illustration: thousands of synapses michelle davis photoshop work

Just completed a fun project aimed at visualizing the complexity of all the connections on a given neuron in the brain.  It really is astonishing. We really are astonishing.  A single pyramidal neuron (the most common in the cerebral cortex) will typically have 10s of thousands of connections, or points of communication with other neurons.  And of course, there are 100-200 billion neurons in the brain, depending on your sources of reference.  Finally, estimates of total brain synapses are all around 150 trillion.  A lot a lot a lot.

In progress shots and final comp follow, done in ZBrush, photoshop, and comped together in Indesign.

Fonts that I used? Liberation Serif  and  Subtle Sans (I have been waiting forever to find a use for subtle sans, and am happy that I have!)


Pyramidal neuron:

render of pyramidal neuron by michelle davis


Dendrite Studies:

dendrite study 1 by michelle davis

dendrite study 2 michelle davis







Initial Composition sketch:

initial comp michelle davis










Illustration with no ‘design’/typography:

illustration: thousands of synapses michelle davis photoshop work



Final Comp (click for bigger view):

illustration and design:  tens of thousands of neurons comp by michelle davis

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *