Whats next for the CG industry?


I feel that I’ve gotten into CG at quite a turbulent time as far as technological advancement goes. I’ve been using blender on and off since around November 2014. With increasing frequency I am seeing so much about photo scanned textures, photogrammetry, PBR realtime rendering, virtual reality, etc. and now I don’t quite know where I should be looking and focusing my energy.

Discussion question:

Are the current methods of doing things going to be outdated so quickly that it will be outdated knowledge knowing how to model, sculpt, texture, etc. by hand will be outdated soon? Will new 3D programs come out with the increasing availability of 3D printers that make it so anyone can easily make 3D, hurting the industry for designers? Is the demand 3D artists going to go down as technology advances and people can easily create models with an iPhone? Where is the most future proof place to focus my energy? Should I get more into photogrammetry?

There surely are no definitive answers for some of these things, but I’d like to start a discussion and get input from people more educated on the subject.

I think that is some way off, 3D printing isn’t widely used, and nobody owns one in the home yet.

I think having a brief of may be all of those new tech is good to get to know, as put it 3D modelling as it has been known for a few decades now may look different in the next few.

The PC has gone from a desk to the hand, even with less functionality for certain tasks, but nevertheless it has happened as only scifi had portrayed only twenty years ago, like on Deep Space 9 or Voyager the computer pad.

I don’t even own a windows phone, but I was reading processor in a mobile phne.:smiley:

3D scanning and printing will never ever replace good old modeling/sculpting until someone comes up with a way to scan imagination and spit out a 3D model :smiley:

It’s safe to say that won’t happen for a few decades to come, so just roll up your sleeves and get down and dirty with modeling/sculpting.

What’s more, all those “new stuff” you mentioned like 3d printing and PBR only increase the demand for modeling. For example, if i wanted a 3D-printed figure, i’d first have to ask a 3D modeler to make the model for me, right?

You can also be safe in the knowledge that these new innovations occur at snail speed. in most cases, you can see them coming almost a decade before… if not more. and the 3D apps evolve accordingly.

Reproducible, repetitive, banal… VS. Feelings, Experience, Existence…?

Capturing reality costs $15k.
The artist with a touch of style… million$ or pricele$$.

“What is a value?”
“Mind divine. Hands of gold.”

“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
- E. H.

Don’t waste your time learning tools of the stone age! Soon 3D will be obsolete, it will obviousely be replaced by 4D. Now as humanity increases its spiritual frequency, we will transform our very existence and suddenly there will be a huge demand for 4D models. There’s apparently only one software suite prepared for the future, as its name might suggest. You will know that Blender will be ready to embrace the future, as soon as the default scene will come with a Tesseract instead of a stupid three dimensional cube. But I’m sure that basic modeling skills and knowledge about shaders will make a transition to Blender4D much easier :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

sculpting from clay and then inputting the vertex one at a time by hand to control topology sounds very possible

doing the same thing in vr may happen soon…

I see the future of CG, as collaborating online inside a proxy scene, with physics, acting, anf takes…

final render does not look that different from realtime proxy scene, accept lighting/reflection etc are more realistic.

this way you can act, and interact in 3d inside vr in realtime with full body mocap.

I think it’s better not to see CG as a thing. It’s a tool for making art. More and more the tools are becoming increasingly immediate and responsive to artists workflows. Don’t think think CG person. Think artist and creator. Think I’m a designer or an animator or a story teller.

Don’t get attached too much to any workflow or base a career on it. Especially in the area of computer graphics. Focus on being adaptable creative and always open to new ways of doing things.

What’s the future ? Right now I personally think is going to be open source.

All the best .

From my perspective, coming from animation production (mostly for commercials and TV), the main thing that needs to change is rigging. Right now we have so many tools that make it so easy use your artistic expression to make beautiful images. For instance, Sculpting has made the task of creating organic shapes as easy and expressive as sculpting in real clay. Actually, even better in some ways. Now we can just paint directly on our models and not even think about UV’s with Ptex. Path tracing and GPUs have made surfacing, look development and lighting almost effortless. If you are an artists, nothing can stand in your way with all these amazing tools.

The one frontier left to conquer is rigging. As Daniel Martinez Lara pointed out, rigging is blackhole of creativity in the pipeline of CG animation production. It needs to have the same type of revolution happen to it that came with 3D sculpting or painting.

I agree about rigging certainly. Surely this must be the next big area to get developed to be more intuitive and responsive.
Blender seems to be one of the apps leading from the front with this as well. It’s already the easiest and most pleasant rigging system I think I must have used. Seems very robust and adaptable too.

Rigging is an area where so much specialization has built up right now. I do still find it amazing how so many of the most common used workflows are essentially still workarounds. Using and combining features that were mostly designed and written for other purposes entirely.
I think at it’s deepest level rigging is still art though rather than something mostly technical. Designing a skeleton. Placing joints. Figuring out how it all moves together. How the skin and muscle move and deform.

I would say again it’s not a good idea to base yourself on one skill set or area of software expertise. A new app could appear overnight that makes that particular workflow countless times faster or even redundant. CGI is still always going to be very technical though and to work with it a large amount of technical know how will probably always be needed.
It’s always going to be a bit of a balancing act to know where to focus and spend most time learning for many years yet, I think.

Whoops double post. The internet or site was a bit slow today.

most likely games will get such a realism that they will become a way of making movies.
More and more movies will relay on CG, while at the same time be more interactive.
3D interactive movies might get a light spin off, but (likely fail to take over), think of 3d glasses here (Microsoft / Android).

Also rapid cheap laser scanning, xbox alike camera’s (filming both 3d detph and movie).
Will result in smart math to “grap” objects out of 3d movies and put them somewhere else (green screen).
Rapid scanning, i think a smart AI could resolve a 3d shape with less then a 360 degree view (im sure of this).
A view views, and some smart in painting, and a character only requires a few 3d shots.

3D anything, cheap GPS, cheap scanners, cheap printers, a 3d industrial feature.
Printing rocket nozzles is just a start, eventually whole planes get printed and be cheaper / better.

Disney working together with blender (my guts feeling), think about it, the movie industry isnt in a need to go for expensive licensing
their main product is making movies, not the renting or writing software; sure they got good good ideas, sharing them to opensource is the only partner they could fully trust. So here is bright future for Blender Cycles, and also Lux render and some others.

Due to industrial and movie needs, some new kind of truly 3d format.
Companies dont want some format that works only till version X, government regulations about open standards will gonna aply here too.
So end of monopoly for some vendors, and a few plugins less required for blender.

just my 2 cents

Blender needs some intuitive mocap (retargeting) tools to work with Perception Neuron and iPiSoft mocap systems.


I think that voxel-based workflows will become more common for a number of reasons. Polygons will never be completely replaced, at least not in any timeframe I can imagine, but I do think that volumetrics will play a significant role in the next ten years.

I remember when NURBS patches were the big deal. There were all sorts of horrible complicated Maya tutorials an how to stitch them together and it never worked. Makes me shudder just thinking about it.

Those were dark old days. But I was also using subdivisions for character work in 3DS Max though at the same time as NURBS were the big deal in Maya.
I never got the thing for NURBS. It was such a slow tortuous, horrible workflow. If I remember rightly it was with Gollum on LOTR when the big switch came.
They couldn’t get the flexibility in the face with stitched patches and the seams were impossible to hide. So they jumped into using polys.


Let me distinguish between technical knowledge and artistic skill: The former can become obsolete, the latter will transfer over. Learning how to draw with pencil and paper will make you a better 3D modeler. Learning photography will make you better at composing shots. The technical knowledge on how to apply this skill may change, but you should be prepared to just re-learn those things if and when necessary.

Will new 3D programs come out with the increasing availability of 3D printers that make it so anyone can easily make 3D, hurting the industry for designers?

This goes for all industries: If the skill you bring to the job is so basic that it can be done by a layman with a better tool, you should be concerned.

I would expect that most jobs for 3D designers are not of that nature, however.

Is the demand 3D artists going to go down as technology advances and people can easily create models with an iPhone? Where is the most future proof place to focus my energy? Should I get more into photogrammetry?

Photogrammetry has been around for a while, but its use is still limited and you shouldn’t underestimate the effort of capturing and cleaning up all that data.

Also, photogrammetry doesn’t replace artists. What if you need a subject that doesn’t exist in real life? What if the subject exists, but it is located at the other end of the world? What if it needs some significant modifications? Modeling from scratch will still be the better option in many cases.

In some ways, yeah. I think NURBS is still used in some CAD applications, I want to say that Alias uses NURBS. At least it “looks” nurbsy, though I don’t know if it actually is. Alias is definitely something I’d like to learn, but I don’t really have the time.

There’s definitely times working in C4D that I wish I could just take ahold of a patch just tweak it without committing to polygons.

I agree though, NURBS though always seemed like a better idea than it was.

Epic flew devs across the globe to take pics for photogrammetry of some natural objects for their UE4 demo! :spin:

But, yes, I agree it’s not the end of artists, since not only you need to know pipeline, but also have an artistic eye to get it all wrapped up and delivered into the engine/render, and make scene look good.

I also think graphics programs will become more intuitive for the artist. And, thinking of yourself as a artist, animator, etc. and working on those skills will be timeless. Art and photography tutorials are not a waste of time in this regard.

However, it’s really nothing to be concerned about. Anyone can trip a shutter on a camera but that doesn’t make them a photographer. Even through the move to digital made photography a much more user friendly media the skills of a photographer were not suddenly redundant. They just adjusted their workflow and moved on. I mention this because surely all aspects of 3d graphics will get faster and more intuitive including modeling and rigging.Jonathan Williamson of box modeling fame said on a Guru podcast that sculpting was replacing box modeling. And, somewhere developers are probably working to make retopo completely automatic. But, even if that happens I hardly think box modeling will become redundant. Even if it’s used to modify an existing model like we import from MakeHuman. As was said above the technical side will change it’s the artistic skills that are timeless.

Dark blender has many 1 click solutions for uv, cavity maps etc.


remember how I always said this was coming,
see how it’s right there?

soon we can sculpt with our hands,
and feel the digital clay warm up as you kneed it, and get more elastic.
to bend cold steel by hand…

times are changing.