While the world of 3D animation is fascinating, there are many more surprises once a person tries to understand the techniques and technologies that enable the creation of these stunning visuals narrating a story. There are various techniques used like inverse kinematics and fluid simulation, but more than the techniques, it is the type of animation that is more important when it comes to applications of 3D animations in industry. The different types include 3D Engineering Animation; 3D Technical Animation; 3D Mechanical Animation; 3D Industrial Animation; 3D Product Animation; and 3D Explainer videos, etc. Though the underlying concept is basically the same, there are subtle differences between the types.
3D Engineering Animation is used not only to provide information on various engineering concepts, but to actually bring them alive, by explaining the operating principle, showing the main parts and how they form the whole. For example, the electric motor can be depicted as comprising two basic parts – the stator and the rotor – and how the rotor is housed in the stator, resting on the bearings for free rotation, etc.
Technical Animations have a slightly different purpose. These are used at the concept stage when the ideas are taking shape – for a product, machine, assembly line or even the draft plan of complete project – as drawings. These mostly originate in rough sketching before being made into CAD files which are then imported into the animation process for convenience. Technical animations are thus used for crystallizing the concepts, finalizing the product design or plant layout, simulating the workflows, etc. These are also handy in making different kinds of presentations on other aspects of business.
Then there are 3D Mechanical Animations that focus on, well, the mechanics of machines, assemblies or the whole plant. Take the gearbox for example – one can show the internals through a cross section – how gears of different sizes mesh to step up or step down the number of rotations to achieve a desired speed. Or the working of an internal combustion engine and the movement of valves and pistons, all perfectly synchronized to create the rotary movement.
When it comes to explaining the larger concepts of an industry or a process to an external party, the 3D Industrial Animation best serves the purpose. How the new model of a stacker crane is ideal for a warehouse can best be demonstrated by a 3D Industrial Animation, showing the agile movements between the aisles, the raising and lowering of the pallets, reaching the racks, etc. OEMs often us this to demonstrate how their equipment works – a robot manufacturer can show the versatility of the product and how it can automate the loading and unloading of the furnace or help achieve automaton of the welding line. This can be extended to the plant operation as well.
3D Product Animation is used basically to show a product in all its dimensions through a demo video rather than a user manual. Showing how a new printer works, for example, is far more effective through 3D animation than a manual can ever be. Right from how it looks to how to operate it, everything is simplified for anyone to understand. 3D Product Animations are hence among the most useful of all animations.
There are also other types of animations like 2D Animations and Explainer videos that are used in industry, on need basis.
All these types of animations, singly or in combination, can be put to effective use by any company for various purposes – training, marketing and sales, trade shows, presentations, maintenance and troubleshooting, etc. Today, digital technologies offer a wide array of options and it is time companies break free from the traditional methods and adopt change to appeal to a younger and wider audience, in the process also optimizing their own resources, in order to fully exploit the potential of emerging technologies.
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