The future of videogame 3d-graphics - will there be less jobs?


Recently watching the progress made in game engines, with GI and blurry reflections, it became apparent we are rapidly approaching the point of sufficient 3d-graphics, when it’s impossible to amuse any further. I still remember the moment of characters without and then with fingers and what an impact it made. Graphics evolution was and for the time being is a huge driven force of people being interested in 3d-graphics. Let’s face it: it’s a huge impact to which game has a better graphics gamers are interested. Now imagine they are all as realistic as our cgtalk renders. What’s the point of releasing new racing game then, if a year ago it’s of the same level of realism?
And yet this leads to another issue: when the limit of textures and polygons is not a limit anymore, you don’t have to optimise as much and can use hi-poly models. One hi-poly model from turbosquid of a tank, not 100 optimised variants, which gave jobs to all those texturers and modelers making them. Only the unique content will require 3d-specialists.
And why not to use generators then? It’s perfectly possible to create generators of cities, characters and landscapes with a more or less “finite” quality. I’m sure some people already saw those, which already exist. and I think people can find city generators, landscape and character ones. Unfortunately I forgot the names of programs, but the results they produce are good enough to use. Just not for today computers.
The line between games and VFX graphics becomes slimmer and it may affect this area as well.

Just look at archviz: now people are making 10 renders instead of one, and imagine it becomes realtime what happens. Some jobs may become way less needed. This competition may affect many things.

What I see is in 10 years there will be 3d-jobs which don’t exist today, and some of today disappear. I’m also afraid the competition will become even more severe as artists will be more and more replaced with smart generators and perhaps even AI of some kind. Another possibility we will work with those generators, but creating 10 times more content than today, and perhaps for less money, as more and more people will be able to operate those programs.


Everything is unique, therefore everything will always need to be created.


Same could be said about movies. While there are a lot of crummy movies being pumped out, that industry is still thriving. They’re recycling old stories. They’re experimenting with new techniques and technologies. Amazingly, people still hit the the theatres, and even more watch them elsewhere.

Who really knows what will be 10 years from now - who knew our state of being 10-20 years ago? I remember when Poser came out, some were claiming it would be the end of character production as we knew it. Hardly. Fact of the matter is no matter how automated a task may become, it still requires humans - and plenty of them. The projects scale up with the technology. Directors, producers and consumers demand more from the year before, which requires innovation and novelty, thus more jobs. It isn’t a bleak future for this industry. We’ll only be able to produce better quality more efficiently, and all the while still complaining, “This shit should be easier!”


The problem with generators is customization…

What if you need a specific shop in that city? What if the interior of a building has to have a specific look? Who is going to build things like that? What if you want to create something that never existed? There are so many things that absolutely require a human touch that we can’t even come close to yet.

What you describe has been an issue for a while, but bear in mind the people doing the work keep having to change too… sure a technology might make something easier, but that will only pile more responsibility in the place of what would otherwise be free time. Competition, of course, is fierce because the field attracts a LOT of people in comparison to other industries such as marketing or sales.


Bah, if we can do realtime realistic characters next thing we want is realtime realistic crowds. Realtime explosions, RBD. In 3d, in 60fps. Once they’ve done that we’ll all go and want voxels so we can cut through things and see internal structures, etc etc. If you’re a programmer, don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of challenges for decades to come. If you’re an artist, enjoy the new freedom to design.


Skynet is going to take over long before we reach such a point, and even that has only a slim chance of happening before world’s end in less than two years.
I wouldn’t be worried.


Hm. I can’t see how substance designer is going to replace 3d artists. To me the idea of a ‘generator’ only speeds up the process so we can make more !

The people who do computer graphics don’t just love some strict specification that can be outdated by a new technique, they love the visual result. I can’t yet create anything near what I see in my imagination. If the future helps me get there by generating shit for me, i’m on board!


I second Mic_Mas statement. Once todays problems are solved, new ones appear. There’ll be plenty of work for artists and programers.


That time has not arrived fast enough to save Robert Zemeckis’ post at Disney. He really needed a good generator for Human Actors with flawless substance recreation.


and how do you wanna be sure that in 10 years people still watch movies as they do now? so with new tools,softwares come also new demands which animators can get their hands on and use and actually look at the movies now 3d movies are becoming more and more popular than average movies so don’t worry the demand for 3d wont go away for a while.


There might actually be more jobs actually. Optimization doesn’t take nearly as much time as making the high-quality models in the first place.

Take for instance Gran Turismo 5, they have the high detail cars, and the low detail cars. They already spent at least 5 years on the game, and yet they still had many of the cars at average quality.

I’d say as far as games are concerned, graphics are about matching film graphics from 2003, so we’ve got a ways to go. Especially if the console manufacturers keep trying to extend the console lifetime.


Its funny. All the stuff thats real time are also some of the oldest cg fundimentals (mblur, shadows, etc). But as soon as somebody makes a significant new developement its extremely computationaly intensive to solve. So its far from real time.

I’d be surprised if this would ever change or we’d have run out of new ideas.



Gaming will always have ebbs and flow to the numbers of jobs available. It is an entertainment industry and at times people will be thrilled by that entertainment, other times they will seek their diversions elsewhere. Think back on the number of times you’ve heard gaming is dead, but it still goes on (at times very zombish in demeaner).
As to game graphics hitting their limit, that tends to imply a game’s success is driven by graphic improvements. A deck of cards is still pretty much the same type of deck they were using 10’s and 100’s of years ago. It’s the game that attracks and holds people. Today’s advances in game art quality are not so much driven by demand from gameplayers, as by the manufactures of gaming consoles and graphics hardware. They drive the industry by innovation and marketing so that they can continue to advance their bottom line, not due to the hue and outcry of they gaming public. How many DS, PSP, phone games are still selling, not really what you call graphic powerhouses.
As the saying goes ’ You can put a pig in a satin dress, but it’s still a pig.’. And I believe there are those members of this site who might admit to going for that satin dress in a game, only to discover the hog within.

Mr. D


Well current life cycle of consoles is 5 years and even though that could be cut in half with this generation I don’t think gaming will change that much in 10 years.

Portable systems are really exploding now so no idea just how much they’ll grow but I can assume that cost and size limitations will keep them from getting too crazy.

I figure there’s going to be an i-Pod/Wii innovation that will happen but that’s not going to change things from the content creation side.

I do however think there’s going to be a constant growth in software and hardware development and the standard “what film studios are stressing to do now will be possible on a laptop in 10 years” as usual.

All I know for sure is that I still think that my PC is as slow as it was 10 years ago(relative to the software demand).


So 24 gigs of RAM for 300$ is still too much?


2 years, I thought it was 1 year…I wish people would make their minds up! :wink:


Quite the opposite, IMHO.
Its a given that some jobs will disappear while new ones will be created but I think an overall increase will occur, if only because as capabilities increase, output will increase. I believe we’re seeing the rise (return?) of the small developer with online stores for PC and consoles as well as the growing iPhone/iPad market.
Exciting times.


It’s the 21st of December 2012. We just entered the 2nd quarter of 2011, so about a year and 8 months and spare change. A.K.A. less than two years :slight_smile:

I’m a glass half full kinda guy. Shame I have stuff to deliver before then, otherwise I could have kicked back, nodded and smiled at people, knowing the deadline would never come.



I’m an FX guy. Lots of sims. It may be ‘fast’. It maybe calculating stuff that ten year old machines would choke on. But its still not fast enough. I still do a lot of waiting.


I think artists who have the most creative brains developing new ideas will get to keep their jobs or acquire new ones :shrug:It will be a relief though if technology advances and we can sculpt in zbrush and the software can just generate a topology for us :smiley: