Software

How is 3D Graphics Animation Used for Manufacturing?

3D Graphics Animation
Written by Shikha Mehta

Have you ever felt a 3D graphics animation video to be real? If yes, you’ve seen the best ones. The beauty of 3D animation is that it looks like a video shoot with a camera. Watching it on even better quality will make you feel it’s not even on-screen – it’s right in front of you.

Now, why would you need that quality for the first stage – manufacturing the product? Who needs the 3D computer graphics and who needs the 3D animation video?

Before I answer these, let’s see what you can actually do using a 3D animation software.

What Can You Do With a 3D Graphics Animation Software?

Well, you can create a world of your own in the space this software gives you. There are tools that help you create shapes which you modify into your own.

Now, do you know how much space does one 3D animation software take? Well, the lightest one is 84 MB (Blender) and heavy ones can go up to 4GB. This is one reason why you won’t find every second person’s computer loaded with such software. Moreover, they cost a fortune (except Blender, which is free).

However, what you make has to be viewed by all – the members of your team and your boss come before the audience. So, from here we get to what you can actually do with the software:

  • You can create 3D characters, 3D text and 3D models of any kind of object or creature.
  • On completion, you can provide your 3D graphics with colour, pattern, texture or wrapper.
  • Light effects can be added for a better view.
  • After placing a camera, you showcase your creation through animation.
  • You can export your file in the image as well as video formats.
  • A 3D software is capable of communicating with CNC machines as well as 3D printers. So, you can make your virtual creation real!

CAD and CAM

The above section gave you a hint of how the manufacturing sector uses 3D graphics and animation. Not all industries use 3D models for manufacturing. However, some of their materials might be made using 3D software. Let me elaborate.

A cosmetic company that makes eye shadows won’t need 3D software. This is because the loose powder is something you make with chemical formulas. However, the eye shadow palette might be made using 3D software.

It will be simple:

A 3D model of the palette needs to be made first. You need to make a case in which the palette will be kept. You are basically designing the palette in which cosmetics can be packed. Perhaps the top will have the logo of the cosmetic company you’re making it for.

The above process is called Computer-Aided Design or CAD.

Now, once the design is ready, it must be out in a real form. On the computer, you can only make the design. You can view the exact product but you can’t touch it.

Just as images can be printed with a normal printer, 3D objects can be printed using the 3D printer. CNC machines are an alternative to it.

So, if you want to move on to manufacturing, you connect the 3D model file to the machine of your choice. You input the material with which the eyeshadow palette is supposed to be made. The machine will give you exactly what’s there on the screen.

The above process is taking designing to the level of execution. Since it is entirely done using CAD, it is called CAM or Computer-Aided Manufacturing.

So, you can say CAD is the first step in CAM.

What is the Process of 3D Animation?

Before CAD proceeds towards CAM, some companies will animate the 3D model.

You don’t need the animation video for manufacturing. However, before you proceed to manufacture you need to ensure the design is perfect.

The animation video you need will be the simplest video that simply illustrates the product. Say, if you’ve designed a night lamp that can be plugged into a socket. Once your design is ready, you need to create a simple video in which your product is rotating 360°.

Since it’s a light bulb, you may additionally show how it will look like when lit. These illustrations are viewed by various teams before the process of manufacture begins.

Steps of Manufacturing Using 3D Animation Software

3D software is mostly used for hardware, moulds, prototypes and containers. Basically, any 3-dimensional object that’s not made with fabric will use 3D animation and printing.

Suppose, you’re making toy cars. Do you think merely making a model and printing it works? No! That might apply for simple objects like moulds and containers, but not the actual product.

You need to understand how the industry works to see why animation is used:

  • The 3D model of the toy car is made first. Since it’s meant to move, the design has to be accurate.
  • Texture and colour will be given to know how it will look.
  • The above two are done by the designing team. Various departments of the company like the operational team, sales team, marketing team and finance team need to know what’s going on.
  • In manufacturing, creating one sample can cost more than mass production. Thus, before you proceed to create a sample, you need to present your work to the company.
  • The ideal way of presenting your work to people who aren’t artists is a video presentation. You have to show every angle of the toy car and also how it is meant to move.
  • Based on the video, the material required to make the actual car, the budget to make it, the price to sell it and the method to sell it will be decided.
  • Once these things are decided, the manufacturing begins.
  • For this, the team will connect the file containing the 3D model to the machine.
  • One member feeds the material to the machine after which it will create the toy car.

Benefits of Using 3D Graphics and Animation for Manufacturing

3D software and printing technology has made the process of manufacturing so much easier. Here are 3 overall benefits a company will enjoy:

  • Saves Time: 3D software makes designing really quick. It enables to prepare design presentation for taking various decisions. Also, when you proceed to manufacture, the software is really helpful in making the process exact and quick.
  • Saves Money: Where do you think money is saved? It’s not just the efficiency of work, but also marketing! The demonstration videos made can be reused by the company for e-retailing, content marketing and advertising.
  • Improves Efficiency: When you can have a 360° view of the model, you can figure out all design flaws and rectify them before it proceeds to production.

How to Grow Your Business With 3D Animation?

Like I said above, 3D animation when done in-house can be used in multiple segments. It has multiple applications after product designing is done:

  • Helps in engineering: It applies to tech-related products like computer chips, mobile phones, robots and other machinery.
  • Marketing & advertising: 3D models and animation videos are used for social media, content marketing, presentations and advertisements.
  • Online retail: The demo videos you see on websites like Amazon explain this.

You create a replica of your mind on a 3D software as an artist. Just as what is real can be created virtually, what is virtual can be produced into reality. This is the integrated 3D graphics animation software has brought between reality and virtual existence.

About the author

Shikha Mehta

I discovered my talent in writing while I was in high school. Since then, I discovered the joy of sharing your knowledge with people around you. This is the reason why I love making my contributions to Insights of Technology. Being a certified content writer, I have been writing on several topics, science & technology being one of my favorites.

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