No longer bound by traditional constraints, Virtual Production technology allows filmmakers to take storytelling to the next level. It has been used in iconic movies like Avatar, Interstellar, and more recently in The Mandalorian, Westworld, and The Midnight Sky.
There is no doubt that animation goes way beyond a basic animated feature or series. It is literally everywhere – in live action films, video games, you name it. What’s more? It is only getting bigger. The global animation market is set to hit US$ 642.5 billion by the end of this decade, a stupendous growth from US$ 354.7 billion in 2020. And Virtual Production is turning out to be the game-changer the industry needs.
So what is Virtual Production, and why is it being touted as the future animation? Let’s unpackage this for you – because virtual is as real as it gets in animation today.
What is Virtual Production?
Virtual Production technology allows filmmakers to take storytelling to the next level, no longer bound by traditional constraints. Real-time technology – the cornerstone of virtual production – has been used in iconic movies like Avatar, Interstellar, and more recently in The Mandalorian, Westworld, and The Midnight Sky. It will be seen in upcoming movies like Thor: Love and Thunder. Whether it is virtual sets or virtual characters, Virtual Production technology has changed the face of film, television, and game development, and is transforming the future of the animation industry.
A virtual set can be projected on an LED wall allowing the characters on a show to move seamlessly from one location to the next in mere seconds. Instead of an animator working in isolation in a studio for weeks to generate small bits of animation, the filmmaker can record a stunt performer in a motion capture suit doing the actions that the animated character is to perform. This can then be applied to the animated character for whom it is intended, using Virtual Production technology.
Studios may be able to produce five times the content with current staffing levels, powered by Virtual Production.
Real-time technology, global teams…endless possibilities
Perhaps one of the most compelling reasons Virtual Production technology is increasingly being used is that it allows for virtual environments and characters to be seen in real-time. So, processes that would happen sequentially and separately can now happen at the same time using Unreal Engine, the most open and advanced real-time 3D creation software in the market today.
It gives the filmmaker speed and flexibility and is especially useful in the wake of the recent pandemic that has added new hurdles to on-location shoots. It allows an animator or game developer to straddle two worlds – that of a filmmaker who knows camera techniques as well as the use of traditional animation technology. The result? Quality animations at speeds we have never seen before. The possibilities, therefore, are endless.
The changing face of animation industry
Gone are the days when stunning visuals needed massive teams and a budget to match. All it takes is a team of skilled people working on the content using the right tools, even from home offices. This new wave that is sweeping movie making and game development is being dubbed the democratisation of Virtual Production technology. Tools that have always been available are now no longer limited to those with huge teams and deep pockets.
International animation technology like Unreal Engine provides a complete suite of development tools to equip the next generation of animators — neo-digital multimedia artists who aren’t afraid to break boundaries, unleash new ideas, and do things as they’ve never been done before.
Work on your dream projects – all it takes is the right training
If you have the talent and training, you can make a place for yourself in the world of Virtual Production and partner with the best in the business on dream projects globally. For instance, the Master Certificate in Virtual Production Course offered by Pearl Edge has a well-designed 300-hour program that can take you from novice to master in Unreal Engine Virtual Production. Starting out with Basic Cinematography to Visual Effects Storytelling, Advanced Story Workshop, Advanced Computer GFX, Advanced Compositing, and more, such courses can help you upskill and explore a brand-new career or broaden your options in the field of animation for movies, TV series, and gaming. So, you too can be part of this revolution that’s taking the industry by storm.