On its way to becoming a $1.5 billion industry, 3D animation and modeling rapidly becomes the norm
If this weekend's box office numbers are any indicator, the 3D train is not slowing down anytime soon.
With Friday numbers hovering near $10 million and estimates for the weekend in the $35 million range, 'Puss in Boots' 3D has made its debut as number one in the country and is a strong reinforcement of the strength that the bi-colored spectacles movie experience has.
I have not fallen in love with films that require accessories but Hollywood has still called full-speed ahead with in your face animation. The animation pioneer, Disney has made the call to retroactively add 3D to older movies, such as the recently released 'Lion King' that brought in nearly $80 million.
Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Finding Nemo' are slated for 3D release in 2012, while 'Monsters, Inc.' and 'The Little Mermaid' will reappear in theater with an additional diminution in 2012.
The 3D animation industry has seen tremendous growth over the last three years in all areas of media, including movies, video games, mobile applications and educational visualization and training.
With various US studios accounting for $237 million of modeling and animation in 2008, according to Jon Peddie Research, and 2010 skyrocketing to more than $800.8 million, 3D animation is being adopted by more companies and industries that want to compete and stay relevant.
The increased interest in producing more 3D content in Hollywood and on the mobile front is driving the industry and a research firm, Tech Navio, estimates that by 2014 the global 3D animation market will surpass $1.5 billion.
The market leader in 3D animation technology is Autodesk, which currently commands at least a third of the industry with 6,800 employees and an expected $535 million of net revenue for the third quarter of 2012.
Rob Hoffman, Autodesk's senior product marketing manager, told me that as the media and entertainment industry is "evolving rapidly" they are "seeing more interesting developments" around the gaming and online design areas.
Smaller animation firms such as San Mateo's Heartwood Studios entered the Inc 5000 this year due to the great growth in the module application and training market.
"There is a great amount of growth possible in creating detailed tutorials and models for training," Co-founder Neil Wadhawan told me. "As consumers get more familiar with the 3D animation in games and movies, they are applying it to mechanical training and as marketing tools in the mobile space."
Heartwood Studios alone is working with diverse industries that want to incorporate 3D modeling into their media presence including aerospace, engery, and national defense.
As this type of animation grows in demand, so does the need for skilled artists that can create life-like creations. This year jobs in 3D have increased 64%, according to freelancer.com, the second fastest growing job in the top 50. Freelancer.com saw that 3D modeling jobs are growing in all the fields -- including gaming, entertainment, architecture, engineering and geology.
The growth in mobile and Web content is what most industries are interested in since any company can apply this technology to their products or services including creating a mobile application, a training supplement for employees, or a marketing model that prospective buyers can use to interact with before purchase.
Animation is rapidly maturing from something that makes you think of 'The Simpsons' and more like in immersive and detailed experience that can educate as well as entertain.