Animation and VFX trends that will shape the entertainment sector in 2023

Animation has outgrown its initial prejudice or purpose of entertaining children and is now growing by leaps and bounds.

Real-time rendering, greater adoption of AI and VR, increased demand for sustainability will be the key trends for the industry.
Real-time rendering, greater adoption of AI and VR, increased demand for sustainability will be the key trends for the industry.

By Hansa Mondal

The year 2022 was a watershed moment for the animation and entertainment industries. Avatar 2, Stranger Things, and the Bollywood film Brahmastra have all set new standards for animated entertainment content. This has not only raised the need for and possibility for expansion of animation throughout the world, but it has also offered up new avenues for career advancement prospects, a larger platform for qualified talent to pursue this, and a lot of serious work for deserving companies both big and small. In 2021, the animation and VFX sector in India was estimated to be worth around 83 billion Indian rupees. The animation, VFX, and post-production industries are estimated to generate Rs 180 billion by 2024.

Apart from the entertainment industry, animation and VFX in other fields such as gaming, education, branding, and marketing have all contributed to the potential expansion of the Animation and VFX business in India, and by 2023, we will undoubtedly have reached a new milestone in terms of entertainment. Upcoming Marvel films in Hollywood, as well as films like Adipurush, which include an estimated 4500+ VFX shots, will improve the industry’s popularity and income growth.

Here are a few key trends that are likely to shape the industry in 2023 and beyond:

Increased use of real-time rendering:

Real-time rendering refers to the capacity to produce and show 3D visuals in real-time, as opposed to traditional rendering approaches, which need substantial pre-processing time. Real-time rendering enables more participatory and immersive experiences and is already being utilised in a number of applications such as video games, virtual reality, and live events. We should anticipate seeing greater usage of real-time rendering in animation and VFX for cinema and television in the next years, since it allows for more efficient and flexible processes. More studios and artists will be adopting real-time rendering techniques to create more realistic and interactive experiences in 2023.

Greater adoption of virtual and augmented reality:

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are also gaining popularity in the entertainment industry. These technologies enable users to engage with immersive settings and have the potential to change the way we consume media. More studios and artists will be adopting VR and AR to develop new types of experiences for consumers in 2023.

Advancements in motion capture and facial animation:

Motion capture technology, which enables the digital recording of human movement, has advanced significantly in recent years. We should expect to see more advanced motion capture systems in the future that can capture a wider range of movements and subtler facial expressions. This enables more realistic and nuanced character animation and may minimise the requirement for hand-drawn animation.

Increased use of virtual production:

The use of virtual reality (VR) and other technologies to create and capture material in a virtual environment rather than on a physical set is referred to as virtual production. This provides more flexibility and cost savings since modifications and tweaks may be done in the virtual world before committing to film. We should anticipate seeing more virtual production in the entertainment sector in the next years, particularly for animation and VFX-heavy films.

Use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in animation and VFX:

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are increasingly being employed in the animation and visual effects (VFX) sectors. These technologies may be used to automate operations like character animation and face expressions, as well as to produce new material. More companies and artists will use AI and machine learning to generate more realistic and complicated animation and VFX projects in 2023.

Increased use of game engines in film and television:

Unreal Engine and Unity game engines are increasingly being utilised in film and television production to generate high-quality VFX and animation. These engines provide tremendous tools for producing realistic settings and people, and their popularity is expected to rise in the future years.

Continued growth of streaming services:

Streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu have established themselves as key participants in the entertainment business, and this trend is expected to continue in 2023. These platforms provide a diverse spectrum of material, such as original series, movies, and documentaries, and they are always looking for new ways to engage their consumers. As a result, in the future years, we may expect to see more animation and VFX work created expressly for streaming platforms.

Increased demand for sustainability:

In the entertainment sector, sustainability is becoming an increasingly critical concern, and this trend is expected to continue in 2023. Employing renewable energy sources to power studios and production facilities, decreasing waste and recycling materials, and using more eco-friendly goods and materials are all examples of ways to do so. Furthermore, we may expect more animation and VFX projects focusing on sustainability and environmental challenges. This might entail producing content that raises environmental awareness and encourages people to take action to protect the environment. Overall, sustainability is an essential trend that will impact the animation and VFX industries in the next years, and it is something that studios and artists will need to think about as they create and produce new projects.

Summing up,
While the aforementioned trends will impact the animation and vfx industries. It is also influencing audience preferences and expectations. This also implies that the recent success of VFX and animation-related films has demonstrated that the audience is already prepared. Animation has outgrown its initial prejudice or purpose of entertaining children and is now growing by leaps and bounds, and the aforementioned trends will be the cornerstone to realistic and immersive experiences shaping the entertainment and gaming industries, and we are excited for the sector’s future.

The author is Hansa Mondal, chief operating officer, Ssoftoons

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First published on: 04-02-2023 at 12:00 IST
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