In a world where cloud computing is increasingly important, software often takes centre stage. But when it comes to producing 3D animation, the big money is still in the hardware space.
Circuit picture from Shutterstock
A recent report on the current global market for 3D animation by Research and Markets highlights that point. "The hardware segment has a higher share as compared to the software and services segment in this industry," the report notes. The hardware consists of dedicated workstations, video card/GPU, motion capturing systems, and other hardware equipment.
Want to upgrade your own office workstation? We've got $13,000 of gear up for grabs in our Dell workstation giveaway. Enter here!
The biggest growth in the hardware segment of the market has come from 3D graphics cards, rather than the workstations themselves. That's consistent with other data we've seen. Overall workstation sales have been flat in recent years but are expected to pick up this year.
While media and entertainment is the biggest vertical market using 3D animation gear, it isn't the only one. Engineering, construction and healthcare also make use of equipment. "3D animation and visualization is assisting in improving operational efficiency in construction and manufacturing, as well as gaining maximum cost benefits," the report notes.
Over time, the role of software in 3D is likely to increase as a percentage of spending. The research suggests a compound annual growth rate of 31.3% for cloud-driven software services, though this is starting from a low base and would include relatively basic storage as well as more advanced functions. Plug-in software is particularly popular in the 3D and CAD space, so it's probable that some solutions will eventually take a hybrid approach, using plug-ins which draw on cloud processing for specific features.
Evolve is a weekly column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.