Demonstrator 10: Interactive Animation

Demonstrator 10: Interactive Animation

The Brief:

“To devise an example of how 3D CAD data rendering in real-time can be used to revolutionise the 3D animation sector”

The Solution:

This demonstrator showcases a significant step-change in the production, viewing and use of 3D animations at multiple levels, from exhibitions to presentations and meetings.



“The use of real-time computer graphics engines to create a cinematic production”


In this example, Spearhead have created an animation for the medical sector detailing the processes involved in a hip-replacement operation. This animation sits within a complete framework with an associated menu and options system.

At a base level, once users press play they are able to watch the animation in the traditional way with an animated camera moving through shot by shot, scene by scene.

It is important to realise that, as a viewer, you are merely being dictated to, forced to view a process, scene or situation from a single angle or perspective. There is no real control over the animation and nor is it dynamic.

Viewers are made to sit through elements which may not be appropriate or relevant to them, whilst presenters are unable to move through the content in a fluid way – the meeting is often dictated by the media, rather than the media being dictated by the meeting.

Spearhead Interactive propose rendering the 3D animation in real-time using a graphics engine, rather than exporting sequential images out as a movie. This enables us to offer clients high quality 3D animations with the benefits of control and interrogation across all aspects of the visualisation.

The use of a real-time engine allows users – for the very first time, to pause the current shot and rotate around the scene, visualising the 3D CAD data from any distance or angle.

By moving a visualisation from a 2D perspective to a 3D one, any object inside the scene can be analysed and interrogated in as much detail as is required. Additional data can also be added to objects regardless of type – images, secondary videos, and text labels identifying parts, documents, descriptions, supplier details, materials lists, certificates, operational guides and much more can all be integrated.

At its highest level, solutions which operate online are able to accept and display data obtained from real world sensors or alternate systems (stock control, databases, ERP, CRM etc). All relative information can actually be fed into or even control and augment the visualisation.

Spearhead can isolate individual objects or components located within the shot, overlaying a separate layer of control specific to the object in question. This could include a more complicated overview of operational process, an interactive datasheet, an animated assembly guide or any other form of functionality, as desired by our clients.

Alongside visualisation, there is significant potential for the application of functionality to objects and shots which will benefit multiple training agendas.

Full operational processes can be visualised from start to finish offering high level“hands- on” training to individuals directly inside the visualisation, contextualising educational elements within the overall top-level process. Training solutions can also feed information into databases and provide a wide range of detailed metrics for accreditation purposes.

As with much we do here at Spearhead Interactive, there are many potential additions we could make to the proposed Interactive Machinima development in order to provide increasing levels of value to an organisation.

The options listed above form the foundations of the functionality we can integrate into the 3D CAD data to meet the desired purpose of our clients, but they are by no means exhaustive.

Benefits over the traditional method of 3D animation extend beyond the functional. Any amendment to the scenes can be made on the fly, with the scenes updated with edited or additional geometry. Rather than having to re-render out large sections of the animation frame by frame before re-compositing the shots together, the engine simply updates with the new scene layout and functionality and, once reloaded, that’s it.