3D Printing Technology

How 3D Technologies Empower Industries Around the World

30 November 2020 by martin

Have you ever been wondering how 3D technologies empower the industries? Imagine having to create an animation by drawing each character on each scene by hand? Or maybe create a detailed model of a building by using cardboard? How about adding a fictional character in your advertisement next to the actors by using costumes or camera tricks?

While this may sound bizarre nowadays, all of these actions and many more were achieved in the past by either using handwork or other various techniques. All of that changed when 3D technologies entered the scene and started making life easier and more entertaining for everyone.

In this post, we will present to you how 3d technologies empower various industries. You will be able to understand their importance and where they are heading. So let's jump right to the topic!

3D Technologies in Games

One of the most empowered industries by 3D technologies in the gaming industry. It has grown immensely in the last 10 years by introducing next-gen rendering techniques and glamorous virtual effects. All of this is happening thanks to the rapid advance in the development of graphics cards, processors, and other related hardware. Modern game consoles allow the player to immerse into an ocean of realistic adventures right from the comfort of their couch.

In the current COVID-19 pandemic where the mantra of social isolation and distance is placed on а pedestal, more and more people rely on the gaming industry to make their lockdown time interesting and more entertaining. That is why it is no surprise that the process of growth in the industry is accelerating with each day.

What 3D technologies are 3D artists and game makers using in the creation of today's games?

Motion tracking

One of the common technologies is motion tracking. It is also familiar as motion capture and this is the process of recording the movement of human actors or objects. This allows for the creation of realistic movements of characters and 3d objects into the video game. The motion capture technology has eased the creation of realistic movements of humans or objects that will fit perfectly in the photorealistic environments and scenes. With the usage of flexible and accurate motion capture software, 3D artists can create extremely fast animation pipelines in the gaming industry. Game animators rely on motion tracking to produce significant amounts of animation data. This causes great cost reduction and reduces the needed post-production time as well as animating by hand, which is a slow process and not as accurate as using tracked 3D data.

How does motion tracking work?

It uses special cameras that capture the movement of actors or objects with the help of motion tracking markers. They send the gathered data to a computer. There a motion capture software creates a virtual skeleton of each actor/object. It can move like the actor/object in real-time. Once the desired performance is achieved, the character can be animated over the skeleton. This can happen in post-production or in real-time.

VR and AR

The virtual reality (VR) and AR (augmented reality) 3d technologies allow gamers to experience games in a whole new way. Thanks to these technologies you really become part of the gameplay. VR and AR games let you interact with any 3D object. Special helmets, sensors, and other devices are being developed and improved for each generation of games.

3D Scanning in games

Thanks to 3D scanning, video games can get more photorealistic models and scenes. A modern 3D gaming hardware can compute a vast amount of polygons in the scene. The result of this can be 30 to 60 full HD frames per second. And the trends are that this is going to improve even further in the near future.

Achieving the best graphics quality in video games is not only a matter of having the best hardware for rendering. High-quality content is needed in the first place and here 3d scanning enters the scene. Thanks to this approach, 3d game artists can capture real-world objects and reconstruct them as digital 3d representations. This might save time and effort compared to manual sculpting and painting of each 3d model. And as we are all aware a great game has many detailed models in each scene. There are different variations of 3D scanning. For example thanks to 3D facial and body scanning artists can create human faces and bodies with ease.

Unreal 5 Engine

The recently released PS5 Unreal Engine 5 tech demo impressed all gaming fans. And there is a good reason for this. According to the game developer Mike Bithell, Unreal 5 could be a breakthrough for video game artists.

In theory, an artist can produce a high poly 3D asset and use it in the game without manually creating different levels of detail versions or "LOD" models. The engine will be able to automatically scale models for the needs of visual fidelity and game performance.

Another important aspect of Unreal 5 is its Lumen technology. It is the engine's approach to lighting and it could save a lot of work for the developers. Using Lumen and other ray-tracing methods, 3D game makers won't need to pre-create the perfect lighting conditions for their environments. We can all hope that this becomes a standard in the industry. As for Unreal 5 - the future games that will rely on that 3d technology will definitely be mind-blowing!

3D Technologies in Movies

A movie with special effects is nothing new to the audience. And all of these effects are created with the help of 3D technologies in movies nowadays. Almost every movie uses some sort of 3D effects. From adding fictional characters to incredible explosions and other disasters. 3D technology in movies helps to represent impossible conditions with ease. They also allow movie makers to create scenes that are out of this world - for example, Avatar. Or back in time or in the future - you name it! What about the depiction of anti-utopian worlds? Most of these movies and tv series (like "The man in the high castle") exist thanks to 3D technologies.

The photorealism of the scenes nowadays is extremely accurate. In fact, it has grown so much that even experts are having a hard time spotting CGI scenes from real-live ones.

What 3D technologies are used in movies?

Most of them are similar to the ones in video games. And this is not a surprise as both industries try to create visual stories with vast amounts of realism. So it should not be shocking when we mention once again the motion tracking technology. Actors are wearing costumes with the same tracking markers that are used in the creation of video games. A specialized 3D software manipulates the gathered 3D data and digitally inserts the final result into the scene. The only difference is that here the idea is either to slightly change the shape of the actor or to create a fictional character based on his physique.

3D Scanning and Photogrammetry are also very important 3D technologies that aid the movie industry. With their help, many objects, buildings, and even people and animals can be recreated and re-used in different scenes.

Real-time rendering in movies is another very important 3D technology that allows directors to create "live" projects as soon as they start producing it. This means that any changes to lighting, characters, scenes, camera positions, etc. can be made at any point and the results can be instantly visualized. This eliminates the need to wait for post-rendering like before. Real-time rendering also originates from the video game industry but nowadays it is extremely useful in movies as well. With this 3d technology, all departments that are responsible for the CGI effects in a movie or the animation can start working simultaneously, and collaboratively.

A special case is the rise of AR and VR 3D technologies in movie making.

While these technologies have been a long time only present in sci-fi concepts, now they are truly empowering the movie industry. They made the successful shift from a prediction to reality. One example of VR usage is virtual cameras. In the second Star Wars trilogy, they are able to "film" digital models of spacecraft. This allows a very natural camera motion which actually brings the audience right into the scene.

Another great example of VR is the movie, Lion King. The lions there are photorealistic and they are filmed using virtual cameras. And the interesting part is that a local network of devices was set up. That allowed the director and the camera crew to move and film the lions as if they were really on the stage. The final result is a photorealistic first-person perspective.

VR usage also improves animations. With that technology, the 3D artist can draw or model in three dimensions and walk around their creations. This adds a new dimension to storytelling.

3D Printing in the creation of sets and decors

Here the 3D printing technology allows an easier and more realistic set and decor creation. You can basically have any building, any object, any plant, etc. in your movie set. The usage of 3D printing reduces the costs of having the same set created entirely as CGI. As the movie industry is known for the competition and tight schedules, the importance of having cheaper, yet easier and realistic sets and decors is very big. 3D printed materials are such a solution and that is why many movie makers accept this approach. Here some of the best examples that can be given are:

  • The 3D printed suit of Iron Man;
  • 3D printed stormtroopers in Star Wars;
  • 3D printing in animations like the short movie "Chase me". Here the technology allowed the creation of a custom made and the strange universe;
  • 3D printed fashion for Black Panther and many more;

3D Printing, AR, and VR have risen to be separate industries of their own

These 3d technologies are so prominent that experts consider them as separate industries. Nowadays studios are creating game and movie content, especially for VR. The rise of VR games is incredible. Special technologies exist that allow players to dive into virtual reality and to interact with objects. Special sensors are added to gadgets for touch and feel. This means that players can actually feel the virtual objects that they interact with.

A great example of how 3d technologies evolve and empower gaming is Virtuix Omni.

This is a device that fits perfectly even in small places. Omni supports people over 6 feet tall and allows them to really join the 3D realms of all games - 3D VR first-person shooters especially. Imagine grabbing a gun and entering a field of combat together with your squad? With Omni, you can literally do this! Holding a gaming gun in your hands will allow you to see the VR weapon that you will be using inside the game. This is also your controller for the game. You can walk, run, crouch, sit, strafe, jump - and all of this without getting motion sickness. You have to wear special shoes with sensors on them and then you can enter Omni and start playing and fragging like a professional soldier!

Movies created for VR

As for the movie industry - there is a movie now that is made entirely for VR. The short documentary "Zero Point" (a project by Condition One) is an immersive project. This movie utilizes the full potential of the Oculus Rift. In fact, it is made especially for it. "Zero Point" is a 180-degree video tech that allows the viewer to "enter" the movie.

Another movie that utilizes the potential of the Oculus Rift and Gear VR is "Miyubi". This movie shows one year in the life of a robot in a family during the '80s. This toy is a gift for one American child for Christmas

VR in movies grows and expands. Vive Studios' "7 Miracles" is the world’s first feature-length virtual reality film. It brings the Gospel of John to life and this is done in a glorious 360-degree VR. The movie is filmed in Rome and Matera. It is a 7-part episodic film with a total of 70 minutes of content.

3D Printing and its many applications

3D Printing is one of the 3d technologies that find application in many industries. It is widely used in manufacturing, architecture, product development, and designs. With 3D printing, you can create almost everything - from small models to entire houses that you can live in.

The technology is so advanced that you can even 3d print food! It all started in 2006 with NASA's first research and development on the matter and the result was a pizza that just had to be put in an oven. Nowadays there are some great masterpieces that you can eat. From a sugary homage of the Versailles palace to cute 3D printed dinosaurs that your kids will love (spoiler alert - there is broccoli inside). The latter is a clear example that 3D printed cuisine can not only look attractive but also be healthy. This technology helps reduce food waste and in the future, you can get 3D printed food without the need to actually bake/fry/cook it.

3D printing has a wonderful future ahead. One of the usages that scientists workaround is the 3D printing of human organs and body parts. This will help to mitigate a shortage of donor organs. Thus more lives can be saved. Currently, no one has managed to print a fully functional human organ, but scientists are getting closer to achieving that goal each day.

Architecture, Engineering, and Manufacturing are all tied together and overlap in the use of 3D Technology.

Without 3D Technologies, you cannot design a building or a product nowadays. You cannot also allow its future inhabitants or the investors to get a proper idea and feeling of how it will look when completely finished. And any great product, tool, machine, you name it is 3D designed in advance with all the small details virtually tested to brilliance, before actually producing it. This saves time, materials, effort, and most important - money. And all of this is very important for the world that we live in.

3D scanning and 3D printing are commonly used together to create not only models and CGI representations but great final goods in all industries.
With the help of AR and VR, you can visualize your future home, furniture, decorations, cars, etc. These technologies ensure the supreme quality of the final product.

3D Technologies in Marketing

Not a single commercial today is without even a slight presence of 3D effects. From the logo in the ad to the CGI character that explains to you how you can make your floor spotless - all of these are just examples of the use of 3D technologies in marketing.

Most successful marketing campaigns are showing you how to use a product or a service and how it will solve a specific problem for you. With the help of 3D technologies, this is very easy now. Presenting a photorealistic CGI animation that provides guiding material in depth is of great value to the consumers.

Any catalog (printed on paper or virtual) also utilizes 3D. Let's assume that you want to choose a rotary tool for your next DIY project. The images that you will see on the e-commerce website or in the catalog in your hands are 3D models rendered as images. This saves time and effort to photograph the real product in the perfect light and condition. Simply showing its 3D visualization is enough to grab the attention of the customer. Plus, once you have the 3D model of the tool you can also visualize the movement, the specific way in which it operates, and its inner workings.

As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, many businesses had to adapt to the new reality of social distancing and remote work. An industry that flourished is the video-conferencing and streaming software. 3D technologies offer aid not only in changing your background dynamically and in real-time, but also in terms of easier communication and productivity.

Science & Forensics

Science utilizes 3D technologies to get a better understanding of different cases and hypotheses. 3D simulations and models are invaluable when it comes to testing conditions and experimenting. Any research and development department is more than lucky to have data in advance. This can prevent wasting time on useless solutions and will grant focus on real possibilities. Not to mention that 3D simulations can save lives instead of real testing of hazardous prototypes or chemicals.

Forensics utilizes 3D technologies to help investigators solve crimes and arrest highly intelligent criminals. Rule number one in law is that no one is guilty unless proven so. A typical crime scene has many riddles that require solving. This is key to determine what happened and who is responsible for the crime at hand. 3D laser scanning devices exist to aid detectives and their teams so that they do not miss crucial evidence or a clue. With their help, the crime scene documentation receives highly detailed accounts of evidence. The 3D technology captures millions of data points of a real-world environment. Thus it creates a 3D point cloud. The end result is a virtual environment that can be inspected from different angles and in-depth. It contains realistic and very accurate 3D computer graphical models.

3D Technologies are indeed empowering multiple industries!

In this post, you found out how and where 3D technologies are used. You discovered what the future holds and what you can expect.

What do you think about 3D technologies? Which ones have you used or will use? Share your thoughts and questions with us and let our professional team handle your 3D needs!

You are here