Visual Effects for Film

VFX is a tool for your story telling~

Category Archives: 1. Basic VFX concepts

The process of VFX in film

Find your crew, start shooting, finish editing, then comes visual effects, right? If you use this process, you’re not only putting yourself at risk of not being able to finish your vfx, but you might also be missing a lot opportunities for better vfx solutions for your film. Here we are going to talk about a good process for maximizing your VFX in film.

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What is Matte Painting?

Matte painting is one of the oldest techniques in the visual effects industry and one of the most widely applied techniques as well. The concept of matte painting is simple: “Use one or few paintings to replace a background.” Although the concept is so simple, but the technique of matte painting is quite skillful and artistically demanding because the paintings used to replace background have to be realistic enough and support the film style so the audiences can think it’s a real background. Read more of this post

What VFX can do?-Part 4: compositing

Most people think that vfx is the same as 3D animation. But the truth is compositing, which is in the 2D department, is the most common vfx. This technique is applied in almost every film. If the shot has 3D objects, compositing is the last step to put all the elements together. In many cases, compositors have to key all the green/blue screen, sometimes do the tracking, get all the different 3D elements from other team members, put those together and do all the necessary fixing and adjustments. This article will discuss what compositing can do.

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What VFX can do?-Part 3: special effects

This is the part of visual effects that most people can recognize. It could be some laser light beam, energy waves, or time traveling magic waves and Si-fi style effects. Or it could be a natural force but difficult and dangerous to film. Such as tornado, earthquake, tsunami, ground or walls spliting open, explosion or fire.

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What VFX can do?-Part 2:Environments

Ok~let’s move on to talking about environments. This is probably most used vfx in films. For environment visual effects, there are several different techniques. We can build full 3D environment, matte painting, or projection matte painting to 3D. It all depends on how the camera is moving and how many times and different angles we need for the environment. We’ll leave the details of the techniques to later. Now we’re just going to get a concept about what VFX can do for your film as digital environments.

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What VFX can do?–Part 1: Creatures

We talked about what is vfx and the reason we apply these techniques in films. Now let’s dive a bit deeper into the different kind of vfx in film.

Visual effects can create various creatures, environments or special effects such as fire, tornado, lightning and so on. Other important roles of VFX are correct mistakes, clean up and color correction. Let’s talk about creatures in this post. For environments, special effects and more, please check out the next few articles.

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What is visual effects?

You might have seen films with heavy visual effects and heard people say “The visual effects were amazing!”, but what exactly are visual effects and how do they work? In this post, I’m going to give you a rough overview of the possibilities that visual effects can offer, then we’ll go into more detail in the next posts.

According to VES handbook:
Visual effects (commonly shortened to Visual FX or VFX) is the term used to describe any imagery created, altered, or enhanced for a film or other moving media that cannot be accomplished during live-action shooting. In other words, much of the art of visual effects takes place in post-production, after primary image capture is complete. Visual effects can be added to live-action, captured through techniques such as matte painting; rear- and front-screen projection; miniature or forced perspective sets; computer graphic objects, characters, and environments; and compositing of images recorded in any number of ways. The recent explosion in digital tools that make flawless compositing, digital sets, and fully computer-generated characters possible and accessible to moving image makers at all levels has made visual effects a standard part of every moving image maker’s tool kit.

Wikipedia says:
Visual effects involve the integration of live-action footage and generated imagery to create environments which look realistic, but would be dangerous, costly, or simply impossible to capture on film. Visual effects using computer generated imagery  has recently become accessible to the Independent filmmaker with the introduction of affordable animation and compositing software.

So basically, anything that’s difficult to film then we use visual effects to achieve it. For example, aliens attacking the earth is impossible to film so we use visual effects for all the alien creatures to destroy the city. This is a very obviously example of visual effects. A lot of time we use visual effects in more subtle areas. For example, if there’s a scene in the story that needs to be in another country, an imaginary location or a city in the future/past. It’s just inefficiency to go to another country or build a set. Visual effects in these situation are really helpful.

A lot of visual effects examples will be discussed in the future posts. Here we just need to have a rough concept of what visual effects is about and why we use it for films. We hope you enjoyed this post and please feel free to leave us any comments.