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Workshop: Molecular design and animation

Biomolecular design software

by Ebbe Sloth Andersen

First part of the workshop introduces the currently available software for biomolecular design and discusses data formats, useful databases and future requirements with input from participants. A special focus will be given to the open source toolkit cadnano, which simplifies and enhances the process of designing 3D DNA origami nanostructures by allowing direct import and manipulation of the structures in Maya.

Molecular visualization and animation using Maya

by Rikke Schmidt Kjaergaard

Second part of the workshop introduces the high-end 3D software package Maya, a powerful and flexible animation tool used for special effects and animation in the entertainment industry worldwide. This workshop will cover some basic terms and mechanisms for modeling and animation in Maya. The workshop will also familiarize participants with the open source toolkit Molecular Maya (mMaya) that extend Maya’s capabilities by allowing users to import, model and animate molecular structures.

Time schedule

  • ESA: Intro 40 min
  • RSK: Maya 50 min
  • RSK: mMaya 30 min
  • ESA: Cadnano + discussion 40 min


We strongly advice participants to familiarize themselves with these websites prior to the workshop: Maya (; mMaya (; and cadnano (

You may bring your laptop with Maya, mMaya and cadnano installed. Autodesk now offers a free 36-month full-featured trial version of Maya for academics (students and/or faculty; However, none of this is required for a successful participation in the workshop.


This workshop also introduces participants to free learning materials for continued training. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a strong sense of Maya's, mMaya’s, and cadnano’s capabilities and potential relevance to their own research.

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Revised 2012.08.14