What is 3D animation, actually? It's really a series of still images, displayed in rapid succession, typically 30 frames per second. It's the sequencing and the differences in each individual image, in relation to the next, that produces movement. Which is what animation is all about. Or is it? What about individual images, output from the 3D animation software? Are they useful? Absolutely.
Still frames allow for more sustained viewing, making them ideal for work-in-progress previews of an animation that is "under construction", so clients can see how an animation is shaping up.
And still images output at much higher resolution can be used in other media such as print brochures, trade show graphics and packaging. 3D stills are important visuals in websites and in boardroom Powerpoint presentations. Sometimes a sustained view is needed as well as moving sequences.
Finally, few clients realize this until they go to play their newly developed 3D animation, but to their delight, a paused animation IS a still frame. So in a boardroom presentation, they can pause to point out important details, and answer questions. Details can clinch the sale. And high-end 3D animations have plenty of detail. Explore this gallery of random still frames and see for yourself.