2020 AnimState of the Industry Results

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Miscellaneous

The last section of the survey was about how people feel about their studio and industry in regards to animation, training, and career growth.

For questions that were open ended responses, I tried to categorize them around consistent themes that emerged. Across all the questions around what we are struggling with, this resulted in:

  • Production (Scope, Team Size, Scheduling, Communication Issues, etc)
  • Tech (Outdated Tools and Tech, Tech Constraints, etc)
  • Creative (Quality Concerns, Game Feel, New Ideas, Lack of Keyframe)
  • Leadership (A subset of Production, but called out often enough)
  • Hiring (Unable to find the needed talent or skillset)
  • Knowledge Sharing (Training, Cross Studio/Industry Communication)
  • Diversity
  • Pay
  • Capture
  • Outsource

Our first question was to ask people what their studio most struggles with in regards to animation.

As a continued thread from the Leadership section, we can see Production issues are the primary concern of respondents, followed by Tech, Leadership, and then Creative.

When we asked people what the industry most struggles with in regards to animation, we got slightly different results.

Production was again was the biggest concern followed by Tech though not to the same degree as their own studio. We also see Creative concerns jump up noticeably, and the addition of Diversity concerns. By the numbers, it appears people think far less of their own studio’s tech compared to the rest of the industry and think far higher of their own studio’s creativity compared to the rest of the industry. More open, honest and regular knowledge sharing could certainly help to align those more. In regards to Diversity, we will be digging into that in just a moment.

Following up on how people view their studio vs the rest of the industry, this is the graph for how much people believe their studio values animation (1 means A Lot and 5 means Not At All).

In general, people are pretty positive in how they feel their studio values animation. But when we compare that to how people believe the industry values animation…

While still more positive than negative, it isn’t as heavily weighted to the positive side of the graph.

When it comes to studios providing the necessary training needed to do their job well, the response was pretty positive. In this graph, 1 means they were Very Well Provided and 5 is they were Not Provided At All.

When asked if the studio provided them a clear path for career growth, the responses were a more evenly split, but still more positive than I would have suspected.

The next three questions were again open ended and were broken down into the following categories.

  • Tech (General catch all for non specific tools or tech, separate from the following)
  • Motion Matching
  • Machine Learning (Automation was also brought under this umbrella)
  • Procedural
  • Workflows (This includes implementation)
  • DCC (Rigging, Tech Anim, specific software)
  • Capture (Motion, Performance and Facial Capture)
  • Creative (New ideas, style, quality, keyframe)
  • Production (Communication, scope, budgets, etc)
  • Culture (Diversity, Inclusion, Equality, Exploitation)
  • Fundamentals (Could be a subset of workflows, but called out enough to warrant it’s own category)
  • Outsource
  • Knowledge Sharing

When asked what areas or topics around game animation people want to learn about, the most common response was Workflows at 29%.

Creative, Tech, Motion Matching, and Machine Learning were also high on people’s lists of areas they want to learn more about. These will be recurring trends as you are about to see.

When asked what they were most worried about in regards to the future of game animation, the most common response was Production at 29%. As we have seen throughout this survey, this is something we as an industry need to spend more time discussing and trying to solve. However, only 4% want to learn about it, so I suspect some less than enthusiastic conversations are going to have to happen!

Following Production in what people worry about the most, Creative stagnation and conformity was a big one, followed by Machine Learning. Luckily, both of those are areas people are excited to learn about and engage with, so it will be exciting to see how these sentiments change and grow over the coming years.

The final question was what has you the most excited about the future of game animation. The most common response was Creative at 27%, followed closely by Tech at 25%.

This is where we see the optimism that comes with people willing to engage with something that worries them. Specifically in terms of Machine Learning and Motion Matching, people were responding that they are excited to learn more about how these new advancements in tech can help enable us to be more creative as a whole. I can’t think of a better sentiment than that when tackling the future of interactive animation!

All of this has been through the lens of the majority of respondents, so we need to now look at the results through the lens of Diversity.

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