Visual effects (VFX) integrates generated imagery and live-action footage to create realistic environments. Movies and games incorporate computer-generated imagery (CGI) and composting software to create intriguing VFX content.
Visual effects are an integral part of the movie and games industry. These effects range from shading effects to explosions and particle effects. VFX artists use digital art software with traditional art insights to create 3D animation and game engines.
As per a recent report by Vantage Market Research, “VFX Market- Global Industry Assessment and Forecast,” the global VFX market is anticipated to reach USD 65.45 Billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 10.80%.
With progressive VFX statistics, developers must navigate the technology to design stunning visual effects.
Common VFX Technologies
The VFX pipeline has many forms. Designers can use these technologies as per the objectives.
Morphing transforms one image or shape into another seamlessly. Designers can use the technology to make films and games look much better.
The movie Venom (2018) is one the examples of morphing. The main character’s shapeshifting effects keep transforming as the film progresses. To create the character “Venom,” the VFX artists added multiple FX simulations and distortions. They also used Canon 5D Mk III witness cameras for precise tracking.
2. Motion Capture (MOCAP)
MOCAP digitally integrates real-world motion. VFX artists use MOCAP to record characters’ actions in films and games.
The VFX artists can use these actions to animate character models in 2D or 3D animation. Video games use motion capture to animate the game characters.
In a 1995 arcade game, Soul Edge used optimal passive markers for motion capture.
Rocket Racoon, in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, is a classic example of motion capture, played by actor Sean Gunn.
3. Computer Generated Imagery (CGI)
CGI uses computer graphics to create media or art in 2D or 3D for films, computer games, and VR experiences. Movies and games use CGI alone or employ CGI effects with live-action to create composites.
The technology often produces complex forms, flat shapes, and 3D models. They use several light sources, particle effects, and realistic physics.
Moreover, the technology creates models and scenes with 3D capturing and computing to output the final rendering frame sequence.
In games, developers create characters using CGI. The method is similar to MOCAP. The VFX artists use human anatomy and translate it into CGI. They add essential features to give the game a distinct persona.
The 3D movies Avatar and Avatar 2 used CGI. The cast had worn MOCAP suits (leotards) with sensors. The artists then fed the movements of the body back to computers. The actors acted on a “performance capture” stage.
The transition from 2D to 3D is a noteworthy advancement of CGI in video games. Games like Halo: Combat Evolved and Metroid Prime are such examples. These games had realistic environments that excited the players by making them feel like a part of the virtual world.
VFX Technology on Gaming Platforms
The demand for VFX in-game is growing with the adoption of visual technology. As per a report by Business Research Insights, “Animation, VFX, and Game Market Size- 2022 to 2030, “the global animation, VFX, and game market are anticipated to grow to USD 543560 Million by 2028 at a CAGR of 3.0%. The statistics indicate an increase in demand for the technology in games.
Here are a few standard VFX technologies used on gaming platforms.
1. Mobile Games
Mobile devices have smaller screens and less display capacity than computers or consoles. Thus, VFX for mobile games must be lightweight and low resolution. Mobile game creators aim to develop robust gameplay and interactions via mobile.
Moreover, mobile games use small characters. They also have limited joint mobility. Therefore, game developers must invest in performance or the MOCAP techniques.
2. Computers and Consoles
Gaming in PCs, VR headsets, and consoles require high-quality VFX. Due to the ample screen space, VFX artists can create intricate gameplay and expand their designs.
VR and console video games deliver the most enjoyable experience. VFX artists use many VFX techniques to offer an authentic experience.
VFX Technology in Movies
The increase in VFX technology and streaming content has led to the adoption of the technology. As per a recent report by Arizton, “Film and Episodic VFX Market Forecast 2023-2028,” the film and episodic VFX market size is anticipated to reach USD 9.91 billion by 2028 globally at a CAGR of 11.54%. The report states that the USA is leading in the film and episodic VFX market.
Here are a few VFX technologies used in movies.
Motion Tracking is an essential VFX element. The lack of motion tracking restricts the integration of 3D data into live-action footage. With advancements in software that perform motion tracking, it has become affordable and quick to accomplish.
Combining CG and VFX into live action is the best approach to make CG feel real. It lets users add content like motion graphics for an explanation. The live footage lets users properly position the CG tracking software when working on the animation track.
The VFX studio created a rig with three animation control layers for Lord Voldemort’s CG snake-like nose in Harry Potter. It enabled the VFX artist to use the 16 tracking markers attached to the head.
This way, they gained the flexibility to animate the nose area, upper lip, and cheek. Moreover, they retained natural facial creases when using CG skin textures to remove the shadows of the actor’s actual nose.
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Forced perspective uses optical illusion to make an object appear closer, far away, smaller, or larger than it is. The technology manipulates human perception via scaled objects. It then uses the correlation between them and the spectator or camera’s vantage point.
In the 2003 movie Elf, forced perspective was one of the VFX tricks used. They used this approach to create shots where the oversized character named “Buddy” tries to fit into Santa’s elf community.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) Imagery
HDR floating points are real-world snapshots with detailed lighting information. The designers can transport the data from not-so-light CG objects into realistic virtual environments. Technology blends the moments to make them real.
3D Modelling Sculpting
3D modeling and sculpting approaches bring characters to life. 3D modeling programs aim for precision. 3D sculpting apps turn visual clay into a robust 3D print.