3 Popular Types of Visual Effects in Filmmaking

by Staff & Contributors

in Gaming

Visual effects are a process that filmmakers frequently use to create imagery and add to live action shots that are recorded. While in the past visual effects were largely seen as an extension of the practical special effects used in filmmaking, today it is a blend of practical and digital effects used both during recording and post-production.


Some of the more popular types of visual effects in filmmaking today include:


  • Chroma key

Sometimes also known as blue or green screen effects, Chroma key is a type of digital compositing where two videos are combined. In the case of Chroma key a solid-colored screen is used when recording when video, and it is subsequently replaced by the second video that is composited over it.


Although Chroma key is relatively new, this type of effect has been in use in filmmaking for years in the form of the Schufftan process and travelling mattes. Nowadays practically any video editor can use it however, and for example you could apply a Chroma key effect in Movavi Video Editor with the instructions at https://www.movavi.com/support/how-to/how-to-use-chromakey-effect.html.


  • Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI)

One of the areas of visual effects that has shown tremendous growth over the last decade is CGI. Today CGI has become almost synonymous with visual effects, as computer-generated imagery is widely used throughout most blockbuster movies in some form or other.


In some cases CGI is used to accentuate videos, or in others entire CGI environments or characters are created and added to films. Ever since CGI has come into its own there has been an extensive debate over the line separating film and animation – which is increasingly becoming nonexistent.


  • Prosthetic makeup

At one time prosthetic makeup sculpts were the main method in which cosmetic effects were created, and actors would frequently go through lengthy sessions during which the sculpts were applied prior to filming. Today’s prosthetic makeup is a far cry from that, and is often easier to apply while looking more realistic at the same time.


Despite facing an existential threat due to the prevalence of CGI, prosthetic makeup continues to be favored by many filmmakers. Often prosthetic makeup is used during the initial filming, and CGI is then blended in to touch it up or perform alterations during post-production.


In some cases prosthetic make-up artists design the initial model that is then converted into a CGI model and techniques such as motion-capture are used to animate it.


While many of these visual effects require sizable budgets, they are getting easier to create all the time. Already Chroma key effects are fairly commonplace, and can be found in numerous amateur videos (albeit applied with varying degrees of effectiveness).


For now CGI certainly does dominate the visual effects landscape, due to its versatility and ability to craft any imagery that filmmakers require. In the future its usage is only likely to expand further, as more advanced algorithms and developments in machine learning and artificial intelligence make it possible to create far more realistic imagery.


Many purists cite CGI as being responsible for the ‘decline’ of the creative visual effects of yesteryears such as stop animation as well as various other practical and optical effects. While that may be true in some ways, the results of CGI-driven effects really speak for themselves.

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