Computer animations have been used in the courtroom for almost 30 years and the prevailing view thus far is, "keep it simple." That's true as far as demonstrating the
key issues . But when it comes to how it looks, it is time for a major update.
Producing an animation has drastically changed over the years because of the development of faster computers and more sophisticated software. A few seconds of animation may have taken a week to render, now can take minutes. The idea of "simplification" in regards to the courtroom animation was in truth, more of a technical issue for the producers of the animation. Shadows, lighting, reflections and refractions, were extremely time consuming , if even possible.
With the advance of animation technology, the general public has become much more sophisticated. The proliferation of animation techniques in movies, television, and the internet have raised their expectations as to what constitutes a good animation. I have heard that an animation used for demonstrative purposes must be simple, or sterile, so as not to detract from the issue. There are situations where the "esthetic" qualities are not necessary such as any 2D animations.
The above illustrations demonstrate the difference between what we have become accustom to presenting the jury verses what we are now capable of producing. The first question I always hear after showing these two examples is "How much more is this going to cost me?" The answer is no difference.
Today there is no technical reason not to include a higher degree of realism to your demonstrative animations. It's simply a matter of defining what is simple.