When French sociologist, philosopher, and cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard warned that simulation would soon “replace the real”, it really seemed like an outrageous prediction in 1891. Thanks to the entrepreneurial leadership of Paul Allen, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Steve Wozniak and the creation of the computing industry, there have been profound changes even in the last 15 years in both the business and personal lives of people all over the world. 3D visualizations, simulations, and virtual reality have arrived. And will stay. But what does this mean for the ecosystem and workforce?
3D artistry is a cool skill set today, especially among millennials who thrive in remote, flexible work zones. Mathematical and spatial visualization abilities are getting keener among modelers. Alongside, 3D modeling softwares (3DS Max, Autodesk, Houdini, Rhinoceros, etc) are getting refined, updated and easier to operate. Every business requires collaterals. Real estate, hospitality, manufacturing industry, product fabrication – all require prototypes and models. 3D modeling is a fundamental process. There is room for specialists here – in modelling, texturing, rigging, etc. As we build solutions for each industry vertical, we are building the inherent capability to engage more and remote 3D artists to create voluminous asset libraries. Such libraries have the potential to be monetized in various business models in the future.
Unity, UnReal engine, CryEngine, Torque3D among others – all are used to power the lucrative gaming industry. Because of the nature of manipulation of game (or 3D) assets, the same platforms are used for visualization and simulation programs. A holistic product or platform development process brings together a collaborative understanding of industry-specific nuances and relevant technology developments. This can help standardize modules required for different industry verticals and segments. It becomes easier to plug in relevant modules into the entire product or platform architecture. Again, the gaming industry has tested and succeeded with long-distance sourcing of game assets and modules which are then integrated together. Many skill sets come together.
Without undermining the creativity involved in both steps above, the next element to designing a complete solution is the addition of a compelling narrative for memorable user experience. Expert lighting, special effects, animation add the special flavour unique to each creative studio. This is the clever art and craft of integrating 3D assets, base code and the UI/UX to deliver a complete solution. Again, this aspect utilizes creative skills of freelancers, storytellers, interaction designers, special effects professionals, hardware & modification fabricators, sometimes even embedded systems engineers, to package into a complete deployable solution.
The result is a 360 experience that literally takes the project, property, product or facility to the customer. Immersive content is by far the most engaging format through interactive web experiences that come close to 2D formats on desktop or mobile devices. One can live the experience by shutting out other distractions. Sound and vision already integrated, the next leaps in XR have begun towards haptic and olfactory inclusions. Would virtual still remain “unreal” then? Or will that become another dimension?
We believe that the 3D visualization and simulation industry is only scratching the surface in terms of its ability to tap talent. More and more employment opportunities are being created and it is weaving the business and tech ecosystems closer than before. Overall, this only means heightened understanding of challenges, issues, and details and therefore increased the possibility of efficiencies and disruption. Someone, somewhere, will always awake to ask
“Where is it that you want to go?”