Explore the world of 3D graphics and real-time technologyNovember 19, 2019
What is interactive 3D?
What is interactive 3D?Interactive 3D is the ability to interact with the digital world the same way you do with the real world. Interactive 3D experiences can take many forms—from dynamic web-based experiences to fully immersive VR/AR/MR experiences, all of which fall under the term XR. A great starting point for understanding the world of interactive 3D is our new video What is interactive 3D? In the video, Amanda Schade, a community manager at Epic Games, defines the key terminology and provides real-world examples of how this technology is being used in entertainment, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and design.
This video is a great overview for educators, students, and job seekers, and anyone new to the world of interactive 3D.
How does interactive 3D work?The technology that powers all of these experiences is called real-time rendering. This is how, for example, the Weather Channel creates realistic simulations of hurricanes and storms that the newscaster can interact with on-screen.
In a traditional 3D animation, the film you are watching is made up of a collection of static images that are rendered by a computer. Rendering is the process of converting a 3D model to a 2D image.
Often it can take a computer, or a collection of computers, days, week, or even months to render an entire film. To further complicate things, if an artist wants to make even the smallest change, the entire thing has to be re-rendered.
With real-time graphics, the 3D computer-generated visuals that you see are rendered and displayed almost instantly. This makes it easy for a director to make changes to special effects instantly and collaborate on a virtual set with actors.
A real-time 3D tool like Unreal Engine is the software needed to create these immersive experiences. The creation process involves bringing 3D models into a real-time 3D engine where behaviors and intelligence can be applied.
This can include lighting, materials, physics, AI, user interaction, audio, animation, VFX, cinematics with Sequencer, and more.
The result is not a simple image, but a 3D world with which you can explore and interact. As you move around, your view of the world changes and you get to see different things
as though you’ve stepped inside a film.
As the industry changes and we start to see interactive 3D everywhere, the demand for people to create these experiences is skyrocketing.
How can I learn more?To learn more about the specific skills that employers are looking for and some of the new and emerging job roles being created, be sure to download the Creator’s field guide to careers in interactive 3D.
Now that you’ve learned about what interactive 3D is, it’s time to dive in and start building your real-time skills. You can get started with one of our free video courses on Unreal Online Learning. A great starting point is Your First Hour with Unreal Engine. Happy creating!