Anatomy of a Retrovirus

My most recently finished animation is a basic introduction to the anatomy of a retrovirus. The animation is meant to be appropriate for an intro-level biology course. The capsid and reverse transcriptase models were imported from the Protein Data Bank and it was animated using 3ds Max and edited in After Effects. Enjoy!

3 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Retrovirus

  1. Hi,

    Congratulations for this amazing site (great idea!). I would like to know how did you import the PDB file?. I couldn’t find an appropriate plug-in for my 3ds max 2011 and 13 versions.

    I appreciate any information,


    PS. By the way, I’m a biologist too.

    • Hi Jando,
      Thanks for the compliment. I used a program called Chimera to grab the PDB file, save it out, then import it to 3ds Max. Chimera can be a bit frustrating to use at first, as there is no undo button, at least not in the version I used. There is a very nice plugin for Maya, however. I would highly recommend the “Molecular Graphics Software to Export PDB Geometry” tutorial found on for more information.

      Good luck and happy researching!


      • Thanks a lot for your quick answer April!

        I appreciate the information. That’s great, I have been using Chimera for my research (also PyMOL and PDB viewer). Now, I just imported in 3ds max, looks good, but need to do something for the render. Well, thanks again, I’ll be working in my proteins and the tutorial.

        Have a nice day,


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