Current anatomical learning material usually consists of static hand drawn images accompanied by detailed descriptions. In medical education and research 3D anatomical systems are also extensively used. The challenge of these media is how can as much information as possible be conveyed in a relatively small illustration or viewport.
We present a model that automatically visualizes branching anatomical structures like the vascular or nervous system in such a way that the 2D drawing space is optimally utilized. A layout algorithm based on simulated annealing optimizes the layout of the structures. The visualization is generated from an underlying data representation that manages a wide range of relations and properties of the branching structures. The illustrations of Instant Anatomy (Robert Whitaker) formed the basis of the research.