3d real time business 2019

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Among the recent surveys on the computer graphics industry, the one conducted by Burning Glass stands out: Visualizing the future. Demand for 3D Graphics and Real-time 3D Across the Economy. It was carried out in collaboration with Epic Games, the publisher of the famous Unreal Engine, one of the most widespread interactive 3D content development platforms.

The report, in addition to placing Epic’s game engine in an obvious leadership position, offers a very interesting overview of the professions related to the development of real-time 3D content (artists, programmers and designers), in the wake of the soaring growth in content demand from many business areas. The current analysis divides the development of real-time 3D content into five macro-sectors, with their respective derivatives:

  • Architecture and Construction (AEC)
  • Design and Media
  • Engineering
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing and Production

One of the distinctive aspects of the survey is the contextualisation of the production of real-time 3D content within the 3D computer graphics industry. If, as expected, the latter is experiencing significant growth, the numbers relating to the real-time segment are nothing less than stratospheric, as evidenced by the following summaries.

3d real time business
Summary of occupational data from the 3D computer graphics industry (left) and the real-time 3D segment (right) in the period between October 2017 and November 2018. The 600% annual increase is linked to the explosion of demand for interactive content in all areas of business. The numbers showing the average advertised salary are also surprising, even if they refer in particular to the American market (credit: Epic Games)
3d real time business
Real-time 3D content was a prerogative of the gaming industry, but in recent years something has changed, as evidenced by the fact that in 2017 it amounted to 10% of the entire production of the 3D computer graphics industry. A growth that will gradually take on huge proportions (credit: Epic Games)
Real-time 3D skills: a rare resource

It’s easy to understand how the growth in content demand has given rise to a real hunt for professionals that can create real-time applications. According to the analysis of Burning Glass, the difference in the average advertised salary between a “traditional” 3D professional and a real-time 3D professional confirms this trend. While for designers there are no substantial variations (+ 5%), for programmers (+ 22%) and, above all, for artists (+ 51%) the bonus of possessing real-time 3D development skills takes on a far more significant connotation, also in a medium and long-term perspective. Today’s education system cannot train the profiles necessary for the production market, which are very often trained in the field starting from subjects with skills in traditional 3D. Furthermore, a simple query on the main job search portals evidences the real difficulty of profiling these emerging professionals correctly.

The real-time professions’ market will therefore be thriving in the near (and far) future and will provide great professional satisfaction for those who decide to invest their future by acquiring the necessary skills.

What is real-time 3D content? Why is it so important to the business?

Anyone who has played, at least once in their life, a 3D video game, can easily understand how easy it is to answer those questions. Real-time 3D content allows users to instantly view the effects of their interaction with a multimedia application.

The visual component of this technology is determined by real-time rendering, responsive to the commands of a graphical interface (UI): a fundamental combination for any interactive and immersive application (both VR and AR). The possibility to visualise the effects of a choice in real-time gives way to the creation of very engaging applications. It also brings any decision-making process to a natural and immediate level, whether you are choosing a project detail (design review), or the colour of the dress you want to buy (product configuration). Just to mention two of the most common operations that can be performed thanks to real-time 3D technologies.

For more details on the creative and managerial potential of real-time 3D, we suggest reading a two-part article published in 3D Stories – Real-time renderingfor real-time decisions.

For further information, you can download the full version of the report Visualizing the future, published by Burning Glass

This post is also available in: Italiano

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Francesco La Trofa

Architect and journalist with 20 years’ experience in 3D technologies.
Consultant to public entities and 3D businesses for aspects relating to design and communications.
Head of editorial content at and co-founder of Digital Drawing Days, the only event of its kind in Italy.
Actively involved in research and teaching at Milan Polytechnic.
Edits 3D STORIES for Protocube Reply.