While 3D digital graphics and movies are nothing new, there are a few trends that have been evolving in the last couple of years. Lots of predictions and guess work floated around the web when 2014 debuted in January, but no one knows for sure how the future will play out. One thing we can do, is pay attention to trending cycles in the market and try to recognize the pattern and length of the trend as we make business decisions.
Trends take a little time to build momentum and contrary to popular belief do not happen overnight. There are signs indicating that a trend is coming, but by the time most of us recognize it, the trend is already here. This is why it might seem like it happens overnight. The good news is that trends do not go out overnight either. They are carried out by a series of waves. This means that if a trend has the potential to improve your bottom line, you can still take advantage of it.
Once the main trend splashes into the market, begin researching and brainstorming potential subtrends that could have a ripple effect in the market. You can use these opportunities to ride the next series of waves and not miss the boat.
Sometimes a process needs to be reinvented with new technology and that is what has been happening with the latest 3D movies. The first 3D movie released in 1922 with The Power of Love premiering at the Los Angeles Ambassador Hotel. The 1950’s showcased a stream of 3D horror flicks that ran for a decade and then died out.
While there were several 3D movies here and there leading into the new century, James Cameron’s 2009 Avatar movie revived an interest in 3D and new technological special effects. More 3D movies rippled through the market, IMAX 3D theatres popped up in several places, a series of HD 3D plasma TVs were released to the public between 2009 – 2012, which kept the public’s interest engaged as people were eager to try out their new gadgets. Titantic was rereleased in 3D in 2012, and a series of animated 3D films gained in popularity from Disney and Dreamworks. A few that come to mind are Shrek, Toy Story, Brave, Meet the Robinsons, Ice Age, Tangled, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Christmas Carole, and The Polar Express.
3D Motion Graphics
I believe a combination of 3 things have built the momentum for the current trend in 3D Motion Graphics, the success and widespread 3D movies, the updated release of Adobe After Effects, and the new Adobe Creative Cloud subscription system that Adobe debuted in 2013. While Adobe After Effects isn’t exactly new, it is new to designers who couldn’t afford it before the economical solution of a monthly subscription to all of Adobe’s productions. During this time other products were and are being released through Maxon such as Cinema 4D, Avid Motion Graphics, 3D Studio Max, and Corel Motion Studio 3D. With the release and updates of these new products, designers are going to test them out and produce new works.
The public will not know what is possible and available if we do not bring it to them. I believe designers are riding the wave of these new technology releases and dazzling the public with innovative designs that many haven’t seen before. This sparks ideas for business owners and marketers who will keep the ripple effect going longer.
Motion graphics will continue to be part of video promos, intros and commercials, but will become more streamlined with the content and information. In other words, motion graphics will not be so flashy that they steal the show and overshadow the message.
Hand-drawn digital objects in videos will get old. I’m already getting tired of seeing a hand move around on a screen as sketched images digitally appear. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great effect, but when everyone is using the same effect, it quickly loses its appeal.
More designers will be competing against free graphic art programs as non-designers learn how to use these tools and successfully create effective videos and motion graphic effects from cookie-cutter platforms. This one is hard to swallow for designers, but it’s true. Designers will do the customized designs that aren’t available anywhere else, but they might have to step up their game and market themselves and compete in a more competitive market.
Web motion graphics will gravitate from flash to web-based graphics using HTML5, CSS, java, and JQuery due to the new platforms that Adobe released on Adobe Edge Animateand its corresponding programs. It’s new competitor is the Google Web Designer, and at the time of this blog post is still in beta testing. These tools allow web designers to use code right into the design structure of the webpage rather than embedded motion graphics relying on flash with browser and platform incompatibilities. Flash isn’t going away as too many people still use it.
3D Graphic Images
Infographics have become a great way to express content visually without requiring people to read a long post of words or a detailed study. Not only must it be visually compelling, but the content informative with a storytelling component, and easy to share on the web. Internet readers tend to be skimmers and images catch their attention faster than text. Text works better when in 3D or as motion graphic typography.
Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook have made typography quotes very popular and this trend doesn’t seem to be rippling out. It keeps on keeping on. Font usage with vibrant colors are also part of these images and new web designs. It used to be that HTML fonts were limited to a select few, but new technology and browsers are allowing more fonts and so we will continue to see more of them.
Flat web designs are trending, and I believe will continue to trend for a while. It’s the idea that less is more. The concept concentrates more on functionality of a site over unnecessary decorations and flashy design. It uses simple images to convey messages. Some 3D designs are integrated in overall flat designs, but for the most part, 3D is absent. Therefore, it is a matter of preference and a trend that will eventually sway back the other way–but I don’t know when this will happen.
I’m not talking about a flat piece of paper that comes out of a digital laser printer with a 3D image on it. What I am referring to are the new 3D printers that actually prints physical objects. Most of the public cannot afford these printers and there are only so many in existence, but I believe this too, will change. Makerbot is already producing them and offering them to manufacturing companies. They are even available on Amazon. The show Castle even had an episode a few years ago on how a criminal used a printed gun to commit murder. The gun and bullet were untraceable. I have seen videos where special 3D printers can make human organs.