Animation for Business

New Technology Moves Animation into the Mainstream

A few years ago, the entertainment industry was the primary user of computer animation: assembling a progressive series of images into a video clip. High quality animation was prohibitively expensive to all but the largest studios, and animation projects took hours or days to complete, preventing time-sensitive uses. Now a wide range of professionals use animation at work. The change has occurred as people discover innovative new animation tools such as Engineering Animation's VisLab and Apunix Animator that offer excellent quality at lower costs and faster speeds.

Real-Time Capabilities

For corporate users who need real-time storage, playback and output of their animations to VCR or video projector, VisLab and Animator use Parallax Graphics motion JPEG compression and output capability. XVideo uses JPEG compression to efficiently capture and play back animations in real time, or compress animation to send over a network in real time. XVideo also sends computer-generated animation out for recording on VCR or Laser Disc Master or for display through TV monitors or video projectors. This output is ideal for presentations, visualization and education.

Real World Applications

To make animation faster for real-time use, Engineering Animation pioneered technology for hardware image rendering. This capability built into their VisLab software directly uses the workstation's processing power to render complex images in seconds rather than hours. VisLab users can create a whole animated sequence from a single graphic image, adding textures, motion and special effects. VisLab has built-in support for most CAD/CAM modeling packages, and can read file formats including DXF, IGES, SLA, BYU, INVENTOR, MPEG, JPEG and TIFF. VisLab is available for HP 9000 Series 700 and SGI workstations.

Apunix Animator converts existing computer-generated images into JPEG-compressed movies. Animator movies can be made from TIFF, Sun Raster, portable bitmap, JPEG and other format images. Animator displays motion JPEG video clips at a user-selected frame rate of 1 to 30 frames/second, once or as a continuous movie loop. Animator is released on Sun and HP workstations.

Evaluating and Optimizing Designs

Since animation shows the interaction of moving parts in 3-D, engineers and CAD/CAM designers use animation to test ideas, evaluate designs and uncover problems before investing in custom tools and prototypes. Animation even helps optimize designs for efficient manufacturing.

Helping People Understand

Animation helps people see and understand complex information. Sales people show customers how innovative designs will work. Attorneys use animation to help jurors understand complex issues about auto accidents and toxic waste spills. Animation can help train people how to assemble, maintain and use new products. Scientists visualize structures and geometric relationships with animation. And doctors can see a tumor in 3-D to plan treatment and visualize surgery.

Real-World Applications

Faster, affordable animation is reaching the real-world. Engineering Animation customers include 3M, CNN, Ford Motor Company, Johnson & Johnson and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. Apunix customers include Children's Hospital of San Diego, Sandia National Labs, Texas A&M and U.S. Air Force.

For more information about Engineering Animations VisLab, phone (U.S.) 515- 296-9908, e-mail vislab@eai.com or visit web site www.eai.com. For more information about Apunix Animator, phone (U.S.) 619-495-9229, e-mail info@apunix.com, or web www.apunix.com

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