Just mention 3D animation and what immediately comes to mind is the increasing use of the technology in media and entertainment industries. What started as cartoon characters in books and strips in newspapers were first brought to life in 2D animated films and with the advent of 3D, embraced the world of entertainment with films and video games. One of the reasons for this popularity is the fact that the appeal is universal cutting across all age groups. But increasingly, 3D animation is being used by several other industries besides media and entertainment with stunning results. So what exactly are the areas for uses of 3D animation?
The Engineering Industry today is one of the major users of 3D engineering animation right from the concept and design stage. What was earlier a tedious process of paper drawings with endless drafts and renditions has now become a computerised drawing board for product animation with several teams working simultaneously to design and refine the concept, test and validate its attributes, redesign, revalidate and so on till the final result is ready for prototyping. All this is now compressed in a few days what earlier used to take weeks, saving both time and money in the process. This is not only true of products but also of plants – designing a plant from ground up, fine tuning the layout, the electricals, the pneumatic pipelines, etc., can be explained with 3D walkthrough animation. So 3D engineering animations make the process simple and interactive, with changes and modifications made in real time.
Similarly, the Manufacturing Industry and Process Industry – this includes all processes like oil & gas, chemicals, pharma, packaging among others – use 3D mechanical animations for documentation and presentation of its machinery and process, explaining concepts, simplifying maintenance procedures and for training of its operators. 3D mechanical animations and explainer videos work far better in showing all the chemical equipment rather than those voluminous manuals that are difficult to comprehend. Looking at 3D animations for process industry, the concepts are easy to understand. With 3D walkthrough animation for example, it is possible to look at what is actually happening inside the plant, or how the process works – the liquids flow in the lines, for example.
The Mining Industry is complex indeed which involves extracting ores from below the surface of the earth and transporting these over conveyors across long distances for processing and shipping. It involves a wide range of machinery and conveyors. 3D mechanical animation & modelling are ideal media to graphically make a representative model, indicate the reserves, and carry out exploration activity. The 3D animations of the mining process also help make presentations through 3D explainer videos – whether to investors or regulators or even affected population – and also to implement a control system in this industry.
Perhaps the best use of 3D animation is made by the Construction, Architecture and Interiors Industry for the simple reason that space can be designed and redesigned in countless ways – buildings, colonies and entire townships are first conceived as projects in mind and then represented in 3D animation & modelling to test and validate the designs for structural strength and safety and evacuation, check all the scenarios; also to explain the concept to policy makers, investors and buyers. Architects can interpret buildings in the styles they want and as for interiors, every individual has different tastes, which can be elaborated upon in 3D explainer videos. 3D animation & modelling makes it easy to zero in on the exact choice.
Another important area is the Education & Training Industry where 3D animation can really make a huge difference. Companies routinely send their new inductees for training at a central location. Take the present COVID crisis that has necessitated Work From Home routine. 3D animations of all training manuals in such a case can certainly address the problem where gathering the new staff and even existing employees for training on new machinery could pose practical problems. With everyone in possession of smartphones or handheld devices on the shop floor, these training animation videos can be a great aid to fill a critical gap, whether in learning or assimilation, or in maintenance and trouble shooting.
Finally, there is the Medical Industry that today uses a host of sophisticated equipment and machinery in patient care like various types of scanners and simulators, respirators and ventilators, dialysis machines, etc. Marketing of all such devices becomes a lot easier with 3D animations of the equipment and how it works, which is near impossible to explain with manuals. Whether it is for instructions at medical colleges or presentation to experienced doctors, 3D animations can straightway make the point and give equipment manufacturers a competitive edge.
3D animations thus serve all human activities today with imagination being the only limit. What are mentioned above are just the critical areas but the applications go beyond these – today the field of education is an important user of animation for training industry and so is sales and marketing and promotions, trade fairs, the fashion and apparel industry, for example. Cities now have their digital twins made for planning of expansion or preparing for exigencies like flooding or other such emergencies. So the world of 3D animation is as big as the real world and its activities.