The Future Is 3D Animation
For the three-dimensional (3D) computer graphics that are devoted to digital entertainment creation (DEC), the key is the technological and creative innovation in relation to the context of the animation. Today, we all can enjoy great products like audio/video-rich entertainment in films and television as well as simulations of engineering and architectural projects in 3D computer graphics. The vertical markets—from real-time simulation to film production—require people who are specialized in animation. Looking at the statistics, it’s important to understand that the digital animation industry is the central meeting place for those who produce media content.
Today, the Media & Entertainment market is evolving based primarily on the development of renderings that are ever-more photorealistic. This market also is being driven by animations that are both rich in dynamics and physics. For example, the creation of animation allows engineers and architects to make a project very clear for the customer or lender. It also enables one to clarify a project’s purpose in a way that might be both scalable and sustainable. For example, Autodesk Civil 3D or Inventor—in combination with 3ds Max Design—provides some clear examples of integration and flexibility of work for design, animation, and digital representation.
Today’s solutions for 3D modeling and rendering have great development capacity. This is especially true considering the huge effort made in terms of code (integration SDK – http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=723353) and through the development of new hardware technologies based on graphics processing units (GPUs) from companies like Nvidia and ATI. This technological revolution is the basis for developing new, real-time solutions that enable a photo-realistic result in a very short time.
Rendering—as a process for the final image that required production time—is now part of the history of computer graphics. Today, we can have real-time, photorealistic results at very low cost, thanks to Autodesk 2012 and rendering engines like iray (Autodesk | mentalimages – http://area.autodesk.com/renderingr/iray).
Autodesk | mental images – http://area.autodesk.com/renderingr/iray.
Media & Entertainment has thus become the focus of Architectural Electrical Construction (AEC – http://usa.autodesk.com/architecture-engineering-construction). In addition, the union of multiple solutions enables outstanding results in terms of quality and capacity of representation in a complete cycle of building information modeling (BIM – http://usa.autodesk.com/building-information-modeling).
With new versions of 2012 Autodesk products, we can all enjoy new features and production techniques. They provide opportunities to obtain exceptional product quality with the ability to handle complex scenes and develop solutions and sharing among the development team.
Digital animation is therefore a major challenge for the production of next-generation digital content. The innovations for modeling and rendering are at an exceptional level of maturity. New professionals are now required—professionals who share the deeper concepts of animation and can use technologically advanced tools like plug-ins, hardware, software, dynamics, and physics.
One of the fundamental aspects of a production is the need for a deep knowledge of the workflow, pipeline development, creation of storyboards, and use of FlowCharts. Knowledge of these technical aspects allows a production to be linear in terms of the ability to assess the time and cost and for a better quality of the multimedia product in relation to vertical markets (film, broadcast, simulation, and non-traditional).
Today, the challenge is to train professionals and graphic designers who can come in during the early stages of development for small and large productions. For both the representation and the display, they can provide higher quality while clarifying the project’s intent. An example is the animation of simulated human figures within urban-traffic or civil-engineering projects. Today, the animation is really a science-based simulation that can be used by all at low cost.
Autodesk invests in innovation and software solutions to make this aspect of animation easier and more accessible to professionals. After all, they are the ones who have to develop sustainable solutions with low environmental impact for the future.
The revolution that’s sweeping markets like engineering and architecture is a small part of what’s happening in the multimedia industry dedicated to entertainment (M & E) and in reference to markets like film, television, and video production games.
The DEC acronym was created to represent, more specifically, the software solutions sector in entertainment and media. This sector is now one of the largest and most memorable developments in terms of both creativity and software and hardware production.
If we look at the film industry, it’s easy to see that 5 to 10 productions every year are distributed in 3D computer graphics. The remaining contents are full of special effects made with digital compositing, matte painting, and 3D. Video games are 90% produced in 3D and get a great deal of attention from industries manufacturing hardware for the consoles, pointers, and interactivity. In addition, television is currently in its most complex technical revolution with 3D solutions and image quality.
Right now, you need to very carefully evaluate what technologies and skills are necessary to the production. The diversification of services by industry and the growing demand for specialization are excellent opportunities for professional growth. The 3D animator is among the most sought-after by companies that produce solutions for the Media & Entertainment market. It’s therefore necessary to specialize in subjects like motion capture, rigging, and controllers as well as the study of more robust software solutions.
Companies producing for the broadcast industry or video games have a great opportunity to evolve and move production amongst the vertical markets. Yet this must be done with increasing consciousness of the “digital evolution” and production diversification.
My advice is to increase the development of strategies in both the short and medium term. It also is necessary to invest in training new professionals—mainly concerning the animation. Be open to new international markets. Create partnerships to enter sectors that require big investments. That training is the foundation of business growth. But most of all, you need to think in terms of animation.
Please visit http://area.autodesk.com for more information about DEC and M&E. Thank you!
- Buildings: picture from AutoCAD Civil 3D installation screenshot – Copyright Autodesk Inc
- Office: picture from http://area.autodesk.com/renderingr/iray – copyright mental images
- Motion Builder: picture copyright by Autodesk Inc.
- Avatar: picture copyright 20th Century Fox – VFX by Blue Sky Studios
Dario Passariello, Head of 3D & training at Digital 3D srl (Italy)