Animations need to be faulty. Yes, really.

Animations need to be faulty. Yes, really.

Many engineering companies are wondering what else they can do with in-house data like the CAD information they create when designing or building products.

One answer is to make 3D animations for a whole range of uses such as sales or marketing, digital product manuals for customers, or in-house training and e-learning purposes.

Several companies have now started to do this – either by using the inbuilt animation tools within their software or by buying commercially available software packages that translate CAD into 3D images that can then be animated. Software packages like these are readily available, not that expensive and often very good at what they do.

But engineers beware. There are some things that you need to know when getting creative in this way. Things about the human mind and how it works – not the kind of stuff that you’d normally consider.

Why do you need to do this?

Well, the interesting thing is that using precise CAD data with precise linear animation can actually make animations look false. The human mind sees it all as just too perfect – and therefore artificial – and our minds become less interested and engaged.

Perfect angles and lines can subliminally offend perspectives. The human mind isn’t used to perfection and doesn’t really accept it when it sees it – and that’s why professional animators deliberately introduce subtle faults.

For example, they sometimes stage images to make sure that screws are not perfectly aligned. They might also add other barely perceivable imperfections – like little pieces of dirt or dust. A tiny dent here and a small scratch there – and the human mind sees the image as far more “real”.

Cunning, but what else do they get up to?

Another trick that animators use is to ensure that lighting is “professionally achieved”. In other words, they will manipulate both variance and colour to enhance the materials in subtle ways that both involve and please the human mind.

Deliberately put flaws into engineering data – what’s the result of this madness?

It’s really very simple. Animators know that by doing this they are presenting images and animations that our minds find far more acceptable, engaging and convincing – and after all, isn’t that exactly what you want for your product?

So, listen up out there – perfect animations require deliberate faults. Clear?