Visual Effects (VFX) in Filmmaking

Created on : October 26, 2023 18:48 | Last updated on : January 19, 2024 12:56


Visual effects (VFX) in Filmmaking refers to imagery that is produced, altered, or improved for any motion picture or other media that isn't shot in real time. In order to create environments that seem realistic for the context, visual effects frequently integrate real footage with this manipulated imagery. These artificial environments are either unreal worlds or ones that are too dangerous to shoot in. To achieve this, they use specialized VFX software and computer-generated imagery (CGI).


Visual Effects or VFX is the process by which imagery is created or manipulated outside the context of a Live-Action Shot in filmmaking and Video Production. The integration of Live-Action Footage is to create realistic imagery is called VFX.

VFX involves the integration of live-action footage (which may include in-camera special effects) and generated-imagery (digital or optics, animals or creatures) which look realistic, but would be dangerous, expensive, impractical, time-consuming or impossible to capture on film. Visual effects in filmmaking using computer-generated imagery (CGI) have more recently become accessible to the independent filmmaker with the introduction of affordable and relatively easy-to-use animation and compositing software.

In 1857, Oscar Rejlander created the World's First Special Effects Image by combining different sections of 32 negatives into a single image, making a montaged combination print. In 1895, Alfred Clark created what is commonly accepted as the first-ever motion picture special effect

Types of Visual Effects

Special effects:

Special effects (often abbreviated as SFX, SPFX, F/X or simply FX are illusions or visual tricks used in the theatre, film, television, video game and simulator industries to simulate the imagined events in a story or virtual world. Special effects are traditionally divided into the categories of mechanical effects and optical effects. With the emergence of digital filmmaking a distinction between special effects and visual effects has grown, with the latter referring to digital film post production while "special effects" referring to mechanical and optical effects. Mechanical effects (also called practical or physical effects) are usually accomplished during the Live-Action Shooting. This includes the use of mechanized props, scenery, scale models, animatronics, pyrotechnics and atmospheric effects: creating physical wind, rain, fog, snow, clouds, making a car appear to drive by itself and blowing up a building, etc. Mechanical effects in fil are also often incorporated into set design and makeup.

 Motion capture:

Motion Capture sometimes referred as mo-cap or mocap, for short is the process of recording the movement of objects or people. It is used in military, entertainment, sports, medical applications, and for validation of computer vision and robotics. In filmmaking and video game development, it refers to recording actions of human actors, and using that information to animate digital character models in 2-D or 3-D computer animation. When it includes face and fingers or captures subtle expressions, it is often referred to as performance capture. In many fields, motion capture is sometimes called Motion Tracking, but in filmmaking and games, motion tracking usually refers more to match moving.

Matte painting:

A Matte Painting is a painted representation of a landscape, set, or distant location that allows filmmakers to create the illusion of an environment that is not present at the filming location. Historically, matte painters and Film Technicians have used various techniques to combine a matte-painted image with Live-Action Footage. At its best, depending on the skill levels of the film artists and technicians, the effect is seamless and creates environments that would otherwise be impossible or expensive to film. In the scenes the painting part is static and movements are integrated on it.


Animation is a method in which figures are manipulated to appear as moving images. In Traditional Animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent celluloid sheets to be photographed and exhibited on film. Today, most animations are made with computer-generated imagery (CGI). Computer animation can be very detailed 3D Animation, while 2D computer animation can be used for stylistic reasons, low bandwidth or faster real-time renderings. Other common animation methods apply a Stop-Motion technique in filmmaking to two and three-dimensional objects like paper cutouts, puppets or clay figures. Commonly the effect of animation is achieved by a rapid succession of sequential images that minimally differ from each other.


In 3D computer graphics, 3-D Modelling is the process of developing a mathematical representation of any surface of an object (either inanimate or living) in three dimensions via specialized software. The product is called a 3-D model. Someone who works with 3-D models may be referred to as a 3-D Artist. It can be displayed as a two-dimensional image through a process called 3D rendering or used in a computer simulation of physical phenomena. The model can also be physically created using 3D printing devices.


Skeletal Animation in filmmaking or Rigging is a technique in computer animation in which a character (or other articulated object) is represented in two parts: a surface representation used to draw the character (called the mesh or skin) and a hierarchical set of interconnected parts (called bones, and collectively forming the skeleton or rig), a Virtual Armature used to animate (pose and key-frame) the mesh.


Rotoscoping is an animation technique that animator uses to trace over Motion Picture Footage, frame by frame, to produce realistic action. Originally, animators projected photographed Live-Action Movie images onto a glass panel and traced over the image. This projection equipment is referred to as a rotoscope, developed by Polish-American Animator Max Fleischer. This device was eventually replaced by computers, but the process is still called Rotoscoping. In the Visual Effects Industry, rotoscoping is the technique of manually creating a matte for an element on a live-action plate so it may be composited over another background.


Compositing in film is the process of fusing together visual components from various sources into a single image, frequently to give the impression that the components are all a part of the same scene. Various terms such as chroma key, blue screen, green screen, and others are used to refer to live-action shoots used for compositing. The majority of compositing that is done today—though not entirely—is done via digital image manipulation. However, pre digital compositing techniques date back to Georges Méliès's trick films from the late 1800s, and some of them are still in use today.

Production Pipeline

Visual Effects in filmmaking  are often integral to a movie's story and appeal. Although most visual effects work is completed during film post production, it usually must be carefully planned and choreographed in film pre-production and production. While special effects such as explosions and car chases are made on set, visual effects are primarily executed in film post-production with the use of multiple tools and technologies such as graphic design, modelling, animation and similar software. A Visual Effects Supervisor is usually involved with the production from an early stage to work closely with production and the Film's Director to design, guide and lead the teams required to achieve the desired effects.

0 Reviews

Please log in to write a review!