Understanding Special effects (SFX) and Visual Effects (VFX)

Understanding Special effects (SFX) and Visual Effects (VFX)
by Uzoma Sunday Logicman
Some filmmakers interchangeable use the terms SFX and VFX, they are different though not entirely. The difference between the two effects used in film making is discussed in this article.
What are Special Effects (SFX)?
In order to recreate the imagined events in a narrative or virtual environment, special effects are deceptions or visual gimmicks employed in the theatre, cinema, television, video game, amusement park, and simulator industries. 
Filmmakers utilize special effects in movies and other visual media to create illusions that could be unrealistic or even impossible in a live-action scene. Mechanical effects like pyrotechnics, miniatures, and prosthetic makeup are examples of special effects. Science-fiction and fantasy movies frequently use special effects because they need to create things, people, and situations that don't exist in reality.
Special effects add a tactile realism to a dream scene that is usually hard to accomplish with CGI, though digital effects like computer-generated imagery (CGI) and digital compositing are employed increasingly frequently in contemporary filmmaking.

An example of special effect can be seen in the movie “Ritual of Vengeance” 

Types of Special Effects (SFX)
There are two types of special effects in movie making
1) Mechanical Effects (Practical effect): These are real-world special effects created physically on a set, and atmospheric effects, such as the creation of rain, wind, and other weather conditions on a set. For example, special effect makeup can be used to make a 25 year old man to look like a 70 year old man. Also, a beautiful lady can be transformed to look like an old witch; these can be achieved using prosthetic or special effect makeup.

2) Optical Effects: Optical effects are photographic photographs that create the appearance of various elements coexisting in one scene. The photographic processes used to create images or film frames are known as optical effects. These processes can be used "in-camera" (such as multiple exposure, mattes, or the Sch├╝fftan method) or in post-production (such as with an optical printer). 
Optical effects are either in-camera effects, like a double exposure, composite images created using a green screen or blue screen, or completed as part of the post-production process through the use of an optical printer.

What is Visual Effect (VFX)
 In filmmaking and video production, the process of creating or manipulating graphics outside of a live-action shot is known as visual effects. [3] Visual effects allow filmmakers to create breathtaking imaginary universes and achieve stunts that would be impossible to film in the real world. 
The creation or alteration of any on-screen imagery that does not actually exist in reality is known as visual effects (VFX). In the context of a live-action shot, VFX enables filmmakers to construct locations, objects, monsters, and even people that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to film. VFX in film making frequently involves the integration of live-action footage with computer-generated imagery (CGI).
With the release of reasonably priced and user-friendly animation and compositing tools, visual effects using computer-generated imagery (CGI) have more recently become available to independent filmmakers. Utilizing specialized software, a VFX editor will combine edited parts with live-action film. Additionally, they want the entire scene to appear realistic. However, visual effects are sometimes mistaken for special effects.
An example of Visual effect can be seen in the movie “Ogbo nke Ajuala” 

Types of Visual Effects.
There are 3 major types of visual effects namely;
1) Computer Generated Imagery (CGI): The production of static or animated visual content using computer software is known as computer-generated imagery (CGI). 3D computer graphics that are used to generate characters, scenes, and visual effects for movies, television shows, and video games are most frequently referred to as CGI.  "VFX artists can use VFX to fill a baseball stadium with a crowd of cheering fans or de-age an actor to make them appear younger" 
2) Compositing or Chroma Keying: Compositing is a VFX visual technique that combines multiple images into one. Shooting live action in front of a green or blue screen is necessary for compositing. Green screens are chromatic and can be changed with a different background image. That doesn't occur until after post-production, though. This way, compositing and green screen VFX occur both during and after production. So the process is created with live capture and digital enhancement. 

3) Motion Capture Visual Effects: Digitally capturing an actor's movements and then converting them to a computer-generated 3D model is called motion capture. Motion capture, often known as "mocap," is a technologically advanced technique for recording an actor's actual performance and motion so that it can be used to create a CGI figure. Different types of motion, including bodily motions and facial expressions, can be tracked using mocap. Mocap can be used to create CGI characters for live-action movies, but it is most frequently utilized for animated movies.

Difference between Special effects (SFX) and Visual Effects (VFX)
Though filmmakers interchangeable use the terms SFX and VFX, Special effects are achieved in real-time during filming. All the required effects and manipulations are done while on set.  Examples include; fake rain, animatronics, prosthetic makeup etc while All visual effects are added after shooting in post-production. 
In conclusion, special effects are frequently manufactured artificially on set and are known as practical effects. On the other hand visual effects are produced in the editing room or during post-production.

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