Emerging Trends in Medical Animation

25th June 2024 Industry Insights

Medical animation visually illustrates complex medical and biological concepts, procedures, and mechanisms, bringing the science to life. It combines elements of science, art, and technology to create dynamic visual representations of molecular structures, biological processes, and medical products. As software and technology develop and progress, the 3D animation landscape becomes more advanced. These progressions not only contribute to the creation of more intricate videos but also facilitate their integration into interactive experiences.

In the past year, the popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) has exploded. AI is being explored and utilized across a variety of industries, in particular within the animation industry, to help further enhance creative processes and the overall effectiveness of visual communication.

As a company, we pride ourselves on staying on top of the latest trends and technology to ensure the animations we create are at the highest level of accuracy and creativity. As the digital landscape continually evolves year on year, there is a growing need to create more captivating and imaginative digital assets for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and healthcare industries.

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Medical Animation

In 2023, the global medical animation market saw a valuation of USD 398.1 million, with projections indicating a significant growth to USD 2 billion by 2032. The medical animation industry is constantly improving and changing due to improved technologies and novel ways of engaging audiences through scientific communication. Medical animation serves as a valuable tool for accurate and visually captivating content that aids in learning and development within all healthcare sectors.

Below, we delve into the latest trends in 3D medical animation and showcase how our in-house production team leverages the latest technology and techniques to craft remarkable and captivating visuals through medical animation…

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The Use of AI in Medical Animation

AI has become a prevalent trend across various industries, including medical animation. While AI can offer efficiencies in the initial stages of animation development, it’s essential to emphasize that at Random42, our work remains distinctly our own. Every project is meticulously crafted by our team of expert artists to ensure uniqueness, scientific accuracy, and the highest standards of execution.

Image generators such as DALL-E and Midjourney are widely utilized within the industry, to conceptualize ideas and color palettes at the beginning of the creative journey, often during the mood board phase. DALL-E is a neural network that creates images from text descriptions. It is trained to generate images from text descriptions, using text-image pairs as a dataset. Mid Journey is a generative artificial intelligence tool that transforms text prompts into visual art.

This approach enables teams to consolidate concepts without committing to full 3D renderings prematurely, thereby avoiding potential aesthetic discrepancies. Serving as a visual aid, these tools not only assist in inspiring color schemes but also contribute to establishing the desired mood for a project.

Unreal Engine

Unreal Engine (UE5), created by Epic Games, is the latest version of Unreal Engine. This is one of the most powerful 3D creation tools. UE5 has lots of new features such as nanite, lumen, world partition, animation, and metasounds. This technology is essential for creating 3D animations through its simple, powerful, and wide-range capabilities.

The platform empowers creators with the ability to produce innovative content, engage audiences with interactive experiences, and immerse them in captivating virtual environments. Conventional rendering techniques often impose limitations on our creative ventures due to their sluggish pace. Adopting a real-time workflow has the potential to revolutionize our work by providing instantaneous visual feedback, thereby opening up boundless possibilities for creativity.

A member of our production team, Bradley Lam, successfully created a digital human of himself in 3D space, which can then be transformed into a metahuman used in animation inside Unreal Engine, depicted below.

Bradley Lam Headshot Brad Lam digital twin Bradley Lam Mesh To Metahuman

FX (Special Effects) Perspective

At Random42 we have a growing team of specialist FX artists, using the latest industry-leading animation software such as, SideFX Houdini, to generate a wide range of physically based simulation effects. This allows us to generate realistic particles, smoke, fluid, and rigid body simulations. We also use advanced procedural and simulated effects to enhance our character animation, adding realistic hair, cloth, muscle and skin movement.

Random42 is actively engaged in developing workflows and toolsets that leverage the benefits of emerging technology in the CG space. We are currently looking into new industry standard formats such as USD and MaterialX, which make interoperability between platforms easier and more efficient, and the growing use of Machine Learning software integration to improve artist productivity.

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Motion Capture Suit – Tracking the Human Body

Our team has been utilizing the Noitom Studio system to enhance our character animation capabilities, using cutting-edge motion capture to create full human body animations more quickly and easily. This tracking technology allows for a more realistic approach to body animation, capturing the smallest details such as finger, knee, and hip movements, depicting natural flow and accurate mobility. From a medical animation perspective, human functions such as coughing and sneezing can be illustrated in such lifelike detail, something that is particularly complex and time-consuming to replicate or animate by hand.

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As leaders in our field, we are committed to staying at the forefront of advancements in the medical animation space. We are proud of the continual progression of our production team, achieved through our ongoing research and development initiatives, coupled with the utilization of state-of-the-art technology. This combination has enabled us to enhance our capabilities, setting new standards for excellence in the field.

By harnessing cutting-edge tools such as Unreal Engine 5, SideFX Houdini, and AI image generators, alongside motion capture technology like the Noitom Studio system, we continue to push creative boundaries and deliver top-tier digital assets. With a focus on accuracy, creativity, and innovation, we are dedicated to shaping the future of medical animation and driving meaningful advancements in scientific communication.

If you would like to learn more about how medical animation can help communicate your science effectively, please get in touch.

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