F. A. Q.
Frequently asked questions.
What is 2D animation?
A computer animation that uses flat 2D pictures that can move in 2D space (up-down and left-right only). Pictures are quicker to draw than modeling 3D objects, so 2D animations are also quicker to make. Faster speed and lower cost comes at the price of robustness, accuracy, and a plainer overall look.
Use these to explain abstract processes, animate flowcharts or diagrams.
What is 3D animation?
A computer animation that uses 3D models of objects and cameras (points of view) that can move in 3D space. All objects can have exact dimensions and interact with one another in geometrically correct ways (lock in, fasten, connect, etc.) 3D animations also look nicer and more realistic because they allow using physically correct features like light sources, shadows, reflections.
Use this to explain equipment, machinery, technical processes, locations (e.g., buildings, jobsites) or anything that has to look good.
What is an interactive 3D module?
An interactive 3D module, also called an interactive 3D trainer or a 3D training simulator, is an interactive simulation of equipment, processes or locations. Users can either practice a series of actions, or explore equipment and location in 3D space.
Interactive 3D modules can work on common screens like computers, tablets and smartphones, and well as use virtual reality goggles like HTC Vive or Oculus. A few things to note:
Virtual reality or augmented reality may be used, but is not necessary. Although we as a company also build virtual reality-enabled software, it is our company’s official position that screen-based software is usually superior to virtual reality-based software for most business applications. Please see discussion below.
The term serious games is a catch-all for business software usually made for some kind of training or familiarization (e.g., skills, procedures, guidelines). All interactive 3D simulations are serious games, but not all serious games are interactive 3D simulators. Other, non-3D serious games, may look like interactive PowerPoint, for example.
Other common training tools.
Most business and corporate training is done with a combination of classroom, video, on the job training, documentation and graphics, usually together. Tried-and-true training programs, budgets and personnel have been in place for years.
Using 3D-based training just adds to what’s already in place. You don’t need to change the way things are done.
Most people are visual learners, and 3D is better at explaining processes and equipment than video. Most people learn better through practice, and interactive 3D trainers allow for safe practice and familiarization at any location. If you give people a chance, they can use 3D trainers during their off hours, because the 3D software format is just easier and more fun than reading manuals or guidelines.
What is virtual reality?
At a minimum, using goggles like HTC Vive or Oculus to get a more immersive feeling in a 3D-based game or training simulator. Software can be combined with physical simulators like equipment cabin replica to let users get used to physical controls.
What is augmented reality?
A technology that superimposes a computer generated image on a user’s view of the real world, e.g., on a telephone screen or glasses. At a basic level (but with important differences), interactive 3D trainers, 3D games, virtual reality and augmented reality are all based on the same technology.
What is screen-based 3D?
This website sometimes screen-based 3D as different from VR and AR. Technically, all three are screen based. What we mean by screen-based 3D on our website is the interactive 3D training software you can run on your existing computers, tablets and smartphones without buying any additional equipment like VR goggles, and without having a computer image superimposed over a camera view of the real world. Screen-based 3D is basically a 3D animation that you can control, kind of like a regular 3D video game.
Relative pros and cons of screen-based, VR and AR.
There is no longer any serious debate that computer-based training is becoming a standard way to train employees in technical professions, from coffee making to manufacturing to the military. The kind of computer training to use, however, depends on the application.
Screen-based 3D training’s biggest strength is existing availability of screens everywhere. Existing smartphones, tablets and computer are available to every candidate for training. Most people are comfortable with using those devices unlike virtual reality headsets, which are still a novelty to many. Another major strength of screen-based training is teaching the information: e.g., concepts, steps in a process, equipment mechanics, locations.
Virtual reality is great to teach a perceptual experience. The military uses a physical training simulator for parachute jumping, where soldiers hang suspended in a parachute harness, use physical parachute controls and wear virtual reality goggles to experience the quickly approaching Earth. The same experience is great to teach fall protection because the body quickly injects adrenaline when a user sees himself falling in virtual reality. Where virtual reality’s inconvenience overcomes its benefits is training steps in a manufacturing process, for example, or equipment familiarization. There, focusing on the data is more important than experiencing being a part of a 3D world.
Augmented reality is great where cues need to appear for real-life objects. AR has been promoted as the revolution in maintenance, manufacturing and repair, with cues and data appearing in real time as workers look at equipment. Although our company can produce screen-based, VR and AR, we believe that as of 2018, AR is not ready for most business applications. Its additional drawback, same as VR, is simply the unavailability of the hardware.
How long does it take to produce a 10-minute-long technical animation?
Approximately 4 to 6 weeks on average.
How long does it take to produce an interactive simulation?
Approximately 4 to 8 weeks on average.
What hardware do I need to use either animations or simulations?
You can use almost any modern device: Windows or Mac computers, Web browsers (e.g., Chrome, Firefox), Android or iOS tablets, or Android or iOS smartphones.
We can also optimize your animations for: computer display, web, social media, and smartphone sharing (e.g., for networking).
We have some 3D models of our equipment. What formats can you work with?
.STP or .STEP
.IGE or .IGES or .IGS
Other formats we can work with:
.CATPART or .CGR or .CATPRODUCT
.DWG or .DXF
.IPT or .FLT
.SLDPRT or .SLDASM
If you don't see your file type on this list, please tell us what software you use and we will see what we can do.