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The Future of Animation: Interactive, Immersive, Intelligent

A virtual keynote address at the Beijing Film Academy’s International Conference on Digital Media Arts and Technology - December 25th, 2020.

I was invited to deliver a keynote address at the Beijing Film Academy’s “International Conference on Digital Media Arts and Technology” on December 25th, 2020.

Unfortunately, I was unable to return to Beijing this year in the wake of the pandemic, and I also couldn’t Zoom in live since the conference was being held on Christmas Day, which I traditionally spend with family.

So I submitted this prerecorded video on “The Future of Animation,” highlighting three related areas of activity — interactive content, virtual production and artificial intelligence — with respect to their impact on the animation industry and the history of storytelling itself.

This video is a scripted condensation of a more in-depth presentation that I’ve previously delivered live (and extemporaneously) in Beijing in 2019 and Taipei in 2020, as previously profiled on here AWN.

My introductory remarks to the Beijing Film Academy conference attendees:

“We’re on the cusp of a revolutionary transformation in artistic expression and mass market entertainment. This is a radical shift from the passive consumption of traditional media to interactive immersion in cross-reality experiences: VR, AR and MR. The immersive media revolution is disrupting every aspect of the traditional entertainment industry and dissolving traditional categories and contexts. Disruptive technology is nothing new, but the paradigm shift this time around is unprecedented. The current combination of interaction, immersion and intelligence is going to exceed our wildest expectations by bringing imagination to life — with virtual characters and environments responding to us in ways that are personal, adaptive and integrated into our daily lives. Obviously, there’s not enough time to dig into all the aspects and considerations in this forum, but I hope that what I say here at the high level will connect with you, and inspire you to explore further.”

My related academic paper, “Preparing for the Future of Animation,” is available online.

Kevin Geiger's picture

Kevin is the author of AWN's Reality Bites blog, his musings on the art, technology and business of immersive media (AR, VR, MR) and AI. You can find Kevin's website at and he can be reached at