Forget about subcellular and molecular animation movies being done for research purposes or as didactic tools. The real driving force in the future will be pharma advertising.
Take a look at this demo reel from iMed Studios — a spin-off company from Engineering Animation Inc., now part of the Saatchi & Saatchi family — that “develops scientifically accurate, visually impactful, leading edge multimedia for clients in the medical and pharmaceutical industries”.
The demo has just won the prestigious 2007 RX Club Award (Vanessa at Street Anatomy explains that the RX Club Awards are “the Oscars of pharmaceutical product advertising and promotion”). In other words, the inner-life-of-the-cell kind of movies will probably become an important part of future pharma advertising. That’s where the money is, so that’s where the animation technology goes.