Updated: Mar 31
What is Visual Effects (VFX)?
VFX, or visual effects, is the creation of imagery using a combination of image manipulation and digital compositing. Visual effects are used for everything from simple camera tricks to blue-screen backgrounds to incredibly complex (and expensive) fully 3D environments that you see in sci-fi films these days. All of these elements combine to create images that are sometimes considered impossible.
Visual effects (VFX) are used to create the imaginary world of a movie. It ranges from making a movie character look more realistic to making fantasy things such as ghosts and monsters appear on the screen. The best VFX artists have something in common: they make anything look real, believable and spectacular.
What Does a Visual Effects Artist Do?
What does a visual effects artist do? The role of the visual effects (VFX) artist is to create amazing computer generated images and integrate them into live action movies. It’s mind-boggling how much you can accomplish in post-production! Every day, VFX artists use their creative minds to present some spectacular images that would otherwise be impossible. Some of these effects may be seen by a viewer but others might require specific knowledge in order to notice their seamless integration into the scene.
VFX vs. CGI
VFX stands for visual effects and refers to any effect that wasn't shot directly in camera. For instance, if you shoot a person jumping off a cliff, but you don't have the budget to jump off a cliff yourself or send a cameraman down there, then you can film the person jumping against a green screen, then place them above the cliff in post-production by removing the green background and adding in the cliff behind them. This is an example of VFX.
CGI stands for computer-generated imagery and is anything created digitally, either as an asset or effects. This includes characters, environments, and props. So, for example, if you want to make a dinosaur run across your city, you'd need to create that dinosaur digitally from scratch. This would be CGI.
CGI is a term that encompasses anything that is created digitally on a computer. It can be used to describe anything from digital animation to the use of special effects in live-action film. VFX, on the other hand, is short for visual effects. It refers largely to computer-generated imagery (CGI) that is designed to enhance live-action film.
Most VFX artists specialize in one VFX discipline, such as compositing or motion graphics. However, in order to be competitive in the industry, you'll need advanced skills in at least three disciplines, such as 3D modeling, matchmoving or roto, texturing, animation and simulation.
How Are Visual Effects Used in Films and Games?
For the most part, visual effects are used in films and games to bring a greater level of realism to them. When you're watching a film or playing a game, you want to be immersed in the experience. Oftentimes, this requires creating a world or situation that doesn't exist in reality. This is where visual effects become an integral part of the process.
Visual effects are also used to enhance scenes that have been filmed in real life. For example, if a director wants to make it look like there's more water coming out of a fire hydrant than what was actually filmed, they could use visual effects to make this happen.
Visual effects are a part of most movies, even smaller independent films. They can be used to create effects that would be impossible to film with the naked eye (such as the destruction of a planet), or simply to help enhance a scene in which special effects make-up is not enough (for example, turning people into apes). In addition, visual effects can be used for more practical purposes, such as making an actor appear younger or older than they actually are for a movie set in the past or future.
Visual effects are also used in video games. Some of the same techniques used for movies are also applied to video games, but there are some unique challenges that game developers face when creating visual effects for their games. For example:
In movies, the scenes are carefully planned out ahead of time and shot on sets that have been built specifically with visual effects in mind. Video games do not have sets: they take place in virtual worlds that must be created by the developer and then populated with objects and characters.
In movies, scenes are played out according to a script and it is possible to retake any scene if something goes wrong during filming. In video games, players can do whatever they want: there is no script and no way for developers to predict what will
Advantages of Visual Effects
Advantages of Visual Effects
Although visual effects (VFX) is a term that most people associate with big budget Hollywood films and television, it can actually be quite beneficial to any company. Here are some reasons why:
VFX allows the creation of images that would otherwise be impossible to capture in camera
New technologies have made VFX more accessible to companies of any size and budget
VFX is cost-effective, especially with access to stock footage, free VFX software, and affordable talent
VFX allows you to create a storyboard or concept that represents your vision more effectively than words alone
When VFX is used alongside live-action video, it can enhance the viewer's experience and make the video more engaging
Takeaway: So that's visual effects, or VFX.
So, there we go. Some of the biggest and most successful movies in recent history have used VFX to enhance their stories' engagement. From The Jungle Book to Gravity, these films have created a new benchmark for what's possible on screen in live action cinema. We may not all be able to give a job-report on an interstellar space lab with a shaky vocalized "Klaatu barada nikto," but hopefully learning about the process behind that phrase gave you an appreciation for what goes into the making of a movie, and the resources available if you want to dig deeper into this field. Perhaps the best lesson is that nothing is truly impossible with perseverance and imagination. And who knows? Maybe twenty years from now we'll look back on our favorite movies and wonder how they ever did it without VFX---staring at each other in complete disbelief was a close second.