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10 common misconceptions about visual effects

Published on October 10, 2014, by in VFX.

We are already in the tenth month of the calendar year. So we thought it would be fun to list top 10 for various things that would help you know the industry better and build a successful career.

Let’s start with breaking a few misconceptions.

Ever since Steven Spielberg released his chair-clenching thriller, Jaws, in 1975, visual effects have constituted a significant amount of the budget of practically every movie released. Although visual effects are here to stay, many misconceptions continue to exist that deter producers from entering the arena. Here are 10 common myths that make rounds about visual effects.

#1 Visual effects is animation

Even though a lot of progress has been made, people continue to believe that animation and visual effects are the same thing. This is highly inaccurate. Visual effects are the special effects applied to live cinematography, while animation refers to creating the illusion of motion and shape change, through rapid display of a series of drawings, either done by hand or on a computer.

 #2 Visual effects is expensive

Financers often shy away from investing in visual effects because of the misconception that it is extremely expensive. On the contrary, a plethora of visual effect companies have made the business competitive, offering cutting-edge technologies at minimal costs. In fact, big budget movies such as Superman Returns used basic special effects like the Air Cannon Super Throw to show Superman’s strength and accomplish filming.

#3 Losing the art of traditional film making

Conventional film makers are of the opinion that the art of traditional filmmaking is dying due to visual effects that can serve everything on a platter. But when movies fail, it is not because of their visual effects, they are mostly because of their bad narratives. Visual effects only serve as an auxiliary to the art of movie making.

 #4 Locations

Most people think that the special effects industry is limited to national borders, when the reality is that most of the visual effects work is done abroad, and is spreading far and wide every day.

#5 Bollywood cannot create great visual effects

Whether its Salman Khan jumping on a railroad crossing in front of a approaching train in Kick, or its Hritik Roshan whizzing past baddies in his superhero franchise, Krissh 3, Bollywood has proved itself in the visual effects race. In fact, a lot of work from Hollywood gets regularly outsourced to India.

#6 Realism v/s storyline

Visual effects are often blamed for the sacrifice of reality in a story. For example, it is not humanly possible that a punch can send a man flying across the ground. But the fact is that sometimes the head of visual effects must sacrifice realism in order to keep the sequence of the film in line with what the director wants, resulting in a trade off. When we watch unbelievable action sequences, it is the director and the writer’s decision; visual effects artists merely bring it alive on screen.

#7 One company does it all

Nothing could be farther from the truth. With various special effects companies offering different software and specializations, even low budget movies employ a number of companies that execute CGI and special effects.

#8 Time consuming

In the pre-1990s era it was true that CGI and other visual effects took a lot of time to film due to the lack of advanced computing. But in the present times high tech processors and terabytes of hard disk space have made it possible to create spellbinding visual effects in no time.

#9 Mainstream Bollywood will never accept visual effects

Contrary to popular perception, almost every popular movie produced in India today has a significant amount of its budget devoted to visual effects.

#10 Visual effects are only used in movies

This is possible the most popular misconception across the world. In reality, nowadays, television shows and even commercial advertisements feature spellbinding visual effects. Low cost effect techniques have encouraged special effect companies to feature specially produced videos on online platforms like Vimeo and YouTube.

Have you come across any such misconceptions about visual effects? Tell us below in the comment box.

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