Google may have just released one of the coolest animation apps of 2018: Google Earth Studio, a browser-based animation tool based on Google Earth’s 3d and satellite imagery.
While many people already use Google Earth imagery in animated content by capturing screen recordings, Earth Studio is a keyframe-based tool that allows animators to take full advantage of Google’s massive store of satellite and aerial imagery. This data includes not only geological and terrain imagery (mountains, valleys, and other large-scale topographical features), but an increasing store of 3d data for urban cities and individual city buildings.
The supporting documentation and tutorials offer information about what the app can do, including camera targeting, motion curve editing, multi-view options, supersampling for increased render quality, and 3d camera export.
The preview version of Earth Studio requires a Google account and currently works only in Google Chrome. Access is being granted on a case-by-case basis.
Google says Earth Studio is “free to use for news, research, education, and nonprofit use.” It’s not specifically stated whether the app is available for film and tv entertainment uses, but Google does have an application for a free broadcast license for such uses, so perhaps the app can be used for that purpose as well.
While Google is clearly positioning the tool as something for educational and informational animation, it could have broader potential in the future for entertainment content as well, either for previs or final project imagery.