Special Effects Background

Special Effects are used to produce film content for television and film and other forms of entertainment when the desired effect cannot be achieved through real life photography with natural action.

Two basic methods are Optical and mechanical.

Optical is achieved using an optical camera.

Mechanical involves devices or props created such as R2D2 in Star Wars or miniature ship, planes, or space craft we see in movies.

A more advanced approach is computer generated effects and animations. These are the newest and most widely used method for achieving amazing scenes. Spiderman is a prime example.

For Computer generated content an example would be when you see a historic movie that displays 50 square miles of historically accurate landscape. This could only be achieved with a computer.

As well historic locations are restricted so shooting is not normally permitted.

Similarly, all futuristic movies need special effects an example being that it is not possible to have actual space ships traveling at light speed or battling out in space.

It was not possible to recreate the ship Titanic and sink it in real life.

There are some expensive software pakages out there for effects but recently there has been some relatively inexpensive products that have become available.

Some examples of Visual Special Effects software are:

  • Adobe After Effects
  • Apple Shake
  • FXhome
  • Boris FX
  • 2d3
  • Autodesk (Discreet)
  • Canopus
  • Imagineer Systems
  • Topaz
  • Zaxworks

Note: These programs have not been fully tested so no recomendation is given. A few also fall into the animation software category.

Film Home From Special Effects