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Today, many American kids spend their Saturday mornings in one of two ways – watching cartoons or playing video games. A recent announcement by major television companies could revolutionize both activities.

At the last Consumer Electronics Show, manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic announced that they’re planning to introduce 3D televisions in 2010. While 3D TV may not be very useful for adults who watch “Law and Order” followed by the evening news every night, it could be a game-changer for the animation industry.

Like the 3D movies in theaters now, 3D TV would create the illusion of three dimensions through a technology called “stereoscopic imaging.” To create a 3D stereoscopic image, professionals in film production careers must shoot a scene using two cameras positioned next to each other, filming simultaneously. When both images are projected onto the screen, special glasses force the right eye to only see images shot by the camera on the right, and the left eye to only see images shot by the camera on the left. The brain then combines both of these images into a single 3D picture.

The problem with creating live-action films like “Avatar” in 3D is that the elaborate two-camera setup can be difficult and expensive to correctly pull off. Live-action 3D cameras must use NASA-grade stabilization motors to stay together, otherwise, the images start to get jumbled, and the 3D effect is completely disorienting. Many more hours of post-production are required to finesse the 3D effect.

Animators, on the other hand, have always used “virtual cameras.” To create 3D animation, they simply have to set up another camera in the computer animation program they’re using. While there is some extra cost and animation training involved, the whole process works much better in the virtual world than it does in real life.

The way video games are programmed makes the process of creating 3D games even simpler. In fact, about 400 computer games developed after 2002 were programmed using a “second camera” and already have 3D information inside of them. To play these games in 3D, a person simply needs the right graphics card, a monitor capable of displaying 3D and electronic 3D glasses.

So while 3D TVs will probably take many years to integrate into your home, the first generation will be able to shine through cartoons and video games. As these TVs gain popularity, animators with 3D training will be in higher demand, and video game manufacturers will race to make their hardware 3D-compatible. This will result in stunning animation that has finally been moved from the big screen to the living room and a completely immersive generation of video games.

All of this, of course, is very good news for Saturday mornings.

Information in this article was provided by Collins College in Arizona. Contact Collins College today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with an industry-current degree program. (Collins College does not guarantee employment or salary.)

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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