The CGI industry has seen significant growth in the UK over the last few years. Being used in many industries, from films and video games to architectural visualization and virtual reality experiences, CGI is playing an increasingly important role globally.
The UK is renowned for its history of creativity and innovation, making it an ideal hub for CGI development. Studios are now spread throughout the region from Edinburgh, and Glasgow to Leeds, Manchester, and London.
The demand globally for immersive, sophisticated, and high-quality visuals continues to grow even more so in the UK. CGI continues to improve and captivate audiences with films like Avatar and Star Wars to video games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 and Forza. PwC predicts the UK media industry including CGI will grow by 4% annually between 2023 and 2026 which is driven by the increasing use of visual effects and 3D animation in the film, gaming, and advertising industries.
The film industry in particular has been pivotal in the use of CGI increasing in the UK. Some of the biggest blockbusters and franchises such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Fast & Furious 9, and Marvel's Avengers have all been produced in the UK with CGI playing a fundamental part in bringing these productions to life. As a result, there has been a surge in established and upcoming studios as well as a rise in the discovery of new talent.
Video games also play a key part in the UK's CGI industry. The gaming industry has exploded in recent years, with a global audience of approximately 3 billion gamers, and circa 39 million gamers in the UK which is home to some of the most successful game developers. From studios like Rockstar North, whom you may have heard of for their work on a little-known series in Grand Theft Auto plus Creative Assembly, the studio responsible for the Total War series.
One industry that is less in the media limelight but just as increasingly vital to the UK is the use of CGI as a tool for architects and designers. Using platforms like VRay, Unreal and many more artists can create photorealistic visualisations of buildings, structures, and much more. This not only allows architects but also clients to visualise the project before a brick is laid.
In addition to film, gaming, and architecture, CGI is also being used in healthcare, engineering, and education. Medical imaging and simulatable doctors diagnose and treat patients more effectively while engineering companies use CGI to simulate complex machinery and processes. Educational institutions are using CGI to create interactive learning environments and immersive experiences for students.
The CGI industry has a very bright future. Platforms like Netflix and Amazon give more and more people access to content on demand and as we see technology advance daily the use of CGI in new industries will continue to grow and enable the strong tradition embedded in the UK for innovation.
However, the industry also faces challenges. The talent competition is intense, and studios must attract and retain the best CGI artists and technicians and fend off competition from studios across the pond in the US and EU. The industry also faces the challenge of keeping up with rapidly evolving technology and keeping up with the rising costs of components.
Overall, it certainly appears that the UK CGI market is a growing opportunity with ample room for innovation in new sectors and expansion in its already-dominated fields. Artists and studios are poised to reap the benefits in the UK who continues to be a key player in the global CGI market. As we naturally embrace new hardware and software, there is a constant need to nurture top talent and ensure the UK can remain ahead of the curve and continue to deliver audiences stunning visuals that captivate audiences worldwide.