Illustrate: Software for Biomolecular Illustration

Structure. 2019 Nov 5;27(11):1716-1720.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2019.08.011. Epub 2019 Sep 10.


The small program Illustrate generates non-photorealistic images of biological molecules for use in dissemination, outreach, and education. The method has been used as part of the "Molecule of the Month," an ongoing educational column at the RCSB Protein Data Bank ( Insights from 20 years of application of the program are presented, and the program has been released both as open-source Fortran at GitHub and through an interactive web-based interface.

Keywords: ambient occlusion; biomolecular visualization; computer graphics; non-photorealistic rendering; protein structure; science education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Graphics*
  • Medical Illustration*
  • Molecular Biology / education
  • Molecular Biology / methods
  • Protein Conformation
  • Software*