The state of the art of graphics world
11/9/2011 3:03 PM EST
If you've ever been to the movies, watched TV, played a computer game or read an advertisement you've experienced the power and benefit of computer graphics.
Computer graphics is as old as computers. It's popularly thought of as having started with Ivan Southerland, but it actually dates back to WWII and artillery projections. The industry began to formularize as a special interest group within the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and in 1969 Siggraph was set up. By 1974, Siggraph was holding conferences with exhibitors. Every year there is a massive conference in the U.S. (which moves from city to city), and one in Europe known as Eurograph. In 2008, Siggraph expanded to Asia and the first Siggraph Asia conference was held in Singapore. This year, Siggraph Asia will be in Hong Kong.
This year the overall CG market will exceed $67 billion dollars and hit $100 billion in 2014. The industry has enjoyed a 7 percent growth for past five years through recessions, and bubbles.
The computer graphics hardware market was worth $53 billion in 2010 and should exceed $67 billion in 2011. The market for CG software was worth $13 billion in 2010 (not counting services, maintenance and other aspects). CG software is expected to grow to $14.8 billion in 2011 as the industry shakes off the remaining effects of the recession and customers start replacing software tools.
As a result of the pull back due to the recession, more people will be buying computer graphics software programs and we will see the development of traditional segments like CAD/CAM expand as new design approaches in automotive, aerospace, and architecture are brought forth. Visualization, a market that has been almost dormant for the past few years, is poised now for great expansion due to exciting and lower cost technologies.
There is considerable opportunity for computer graphics software on several fronts. The tools used in making movies is the highest profile market but it represents a very modest proportion of the total market. Design tools, game development, manufacturing, and scientific visualization are much larger markets and there is a great deal of opportunity as these markets adapt to changes in mobile devices, and take advantage of the vast compute power in the cloud. There has been a bubbling up of interest in computer graphics tools for mainstream and hobbyist users. It is still a tiny proportion of the overall market, but this too is an area where intriguing product development and growth is happening.
Over the course of the next five years, we will see the effects and tools used in filmmaking extend to much larger markets for small production houses, independent filmmakers, and even enthusiast/hobbyists. Game development will shift to accommodate new game platforms including mobile devices. And, most exciting, we expect to see a resurgence in imaging, vector graphics, and desktop publishing as new distribution models enable new business models for the publishing industry.
The demand for programmers, artists, scientists, and designers has picked up again and firms are actively looking for people who can use and exploit these new programs and their associated hardware accelerators. The economic recession has caused a slow down, but it's going to look like a small bump in the road by 2014.
CG in Asia is, like most other things in Asia, growing rapidly, energetic, and boundless with optimism and a can do attitude. Asian consumers due to heritage and custom have been users and consumers of CG from the beautiful calligraphic characters of their rich logograms to the design of their clothes, buildings and theater.
Part of Siggraph is the Siggraph Pioneers—people who have worked in the CG industry for over 20 years. Long celebrated in the U.S., this year we are bringing the Siggraph Pioneers to Asia.
CG scientists and artist in Asia have been doing amazing work for over 30 years. But language differences and the great distances between Asia and Europe or North America have limited the exchange of information and community. The Pioneer's meetings are one place where those obstacles get bridged. Therefore we are making a special plea and invitation to all Asian computer graphics practitioners, from arts to designers, to programmers, hardware developers. Anyone involved in the generation, manipulation, or use of a pixel that is based in Asia should come to Hong Kong in December and experience Siggraph. And in particular, anyone who is qualified to be a Pioneer should get in touch with me as soon as possible.
Jon Peddie is the founder and president of Jon Peddie Research, a technically oriented marketing, research, and management consulting firm based in Tiburon, Calif.