Did you know that there are animation based learning programs to help workers evade disasters in cruise liners and oil & gas plants? Or that medical students can now see the complete process of human heart pumping blood through the entire body without ever having opened one? The answer to these and many more questions is yes. And making such amazing immersive and interactive E-learning content is Mumbai headquartered Tata Interactive Systems (TIS).
During its early days, TIS used 3D animation for intro or splash animations, which were created for different industries including Banking. Back then, these sequences were put together using 3D Studio 2, now known as Autodesk 3ds Max. However, going forward the company started setting its foothold in the education industry by creating e-learning animations for the school education market (1st-12th grade) in UK and Europe. As these solutions were meant for kids, they were always rich in animation.
TIS did not limit itself to the education sphere alone; working with a Medical College in the UK, it provided its students with animation on critical health conditions like 'Child Birth’ and’ Cancer’. “Animation also fits very beautifully in topics like genetics which are shown at a microscopic level as these cannot be shot live. We use Autodesk Suite, which includes Maya, 3ds Max, Softimage and Mudbox to create all our 3D animations and virtual worlds. Our team is well trained on these software and they allow us to efficiently deliver high quality learning experiences for our customers across verticals,” says Manisha Mohan Executive VP, Tata Interactive Systems.
TIS forayed into virtual world creation with a project for Canada's largest retail pharmacy chain, ‘Shoppers Drug Mart’ (SDM). TIS created a virtual world for familiarizing the employees with the errors in the store environment and how to counter them. The project was built on a game engine with assets developed on Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya, and the business impact created by it was immense. No surprise it also picked up the Gold at the Brandon Hall Awards for the ‘Best Virtual World’. “The store concepts which would have taken around 9 months of learning, were successfully taught in 3 months with our program, which I feel is the reason for winning this award,” adds Manisha.
One Solution – Multiple Platforms
The future success of all of the learner centric programs does revolve around their ability to be compatible with multiple platforms. And here TIS uses ‘Responsive design’, which provides optimal viewing experience, easy reading and navigation with a minimum resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones.
For most of its multi platform 3D learning solutions TIS creates less detailed, low poly CGI models and focuses more on textures. It optimizes the program to a level, which allows the content to load and display much faster. The game play takes prominence over visual detail for most mobile users, and TIS tries to achieve a fine balance between these elements to give the best user experience.
New technologies and future focuses
TIS is currently dabbling with newer ways to deliver learning solutions on Google Glass, Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift. Striving to make its roots stronger in the augmented reality space, it is also working on a program for the manufacturing sector, in which a worker would be able to see the internal functioning of a high-end machine by just holding the iPad against the given part of the machinery.
This is an excerpt from a Case Study by Autodesk, Inc. To read more, click here.