Special Effects vs. Visual Effects: Our Changing Industry

The industry (commonly referred to as “The Biz”) is in a constant change of getting the public viewers’ interested in their story by using all of the tools available. All businesses experience this – constant change. Special Effects was the preferred tool of the trade for years with explosions, water tanks, and stuntmen diving off of buildings into inflated cushions. In the last 10-15 years Visual Effects has been coming into their own with water effects, fire, explosions and making digital characters fall off roofs, mountains, or catching on fire.

Special Effects with live action shots were faster and easier for the director to work with, however, to do a second and third take became difficult and expensive. Now with visual effects and computers, you can do the second take, make various changes, and get a whole new look that could not be done any other way.

Visual Effects also lets you break all the rules as to what happens to a character or object within a scene. Yes, over the years there have been many changes, and more changes are on the way. The most important part of visual effects is creating life-like models and their seamless integration to live action.  This is the real magic of everything working in synchronization. It also gives the movie makers and commercial innovators a more cost-effective method of building content. This should also have an effect on the insurance that a show has to carry becuase their talent or their stunt actor is not in danger.

 To create the digital characters and props, you could have them modeled, or use some different visual effects depending on how close you would like them to get the action. 3D scanning has become the quickest solution that gives you the ability to use in pre-visualization and in the shot.  If you are working on a franchise such as Spiderman or Ironman, the 3D scan can be used over and over. The same can be done with TV episodics,  commercials with several variations and with video games that have a number of iterations to serve their fan base. 3D scans also make a great asset to use in the event of changes in the cast for various reasons.

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