Commonly Used Software and Techniques for Visual Effects in Films and Games

ADMEC Multimedia > Animation > Commonly Used Software and Techniques for Visual Effects in Films and Games

Visual effects in its most elementary structure are digitally controlled live action footage. Simply a visual effect is the ideal utilization of computers to insert and remove special effects or enhancements that wasn’t initially inside the shot. 

A visual effect is that the assimilation of live-action footage and generated imagination to make realistic environments. However formation of such fanciful would be critical, costly and basically difficult to capture on film.

Jobs of visual effects employing computer-generated imagery (CGI) got to be continuously common in big-budget films, and have conjointly become open to the novice film producer with the presentation of economical animation and compositing applications

The blog is must read for beginner filmmakers and visual effects artists interested in knowing common application and techniques for creating realistic visual effects. 

Overview of VFX industry in India

Visual Effects has become a crucial element of the post-production industry. The past few years has witnessed the tremendous rise of the VFX Industry in India. The cutting edge quality work produced by Indian VFX studios has reached new heights and continues to gain international appreciation.

The industry has been turning into a robust and dynamic industry. In this world of digital revolution and emergence of new platforms like Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, ZeePrime, there is a constant need of generating fresh content.

Visual Effects has turned into a staple of the post-production industry and with the constant rise of digital technology, the audience has made it clear that they are only interested in high quality content.

These digital platforms are key players in increasing the role of VFX in Indian Cinematic industry. Netflix Original shows like Sacred Games, Bard of Blood, Delhi Police, She, Jamtara have bagged a lot of appreciation for Indian creative industry.

It has become so easy to access these new digital platforms that the line between Virtual Reality and Visual Effects are getting blurred day by day. 

These big players are investing heavily in production houses that are carrying out the Visual effects for big budgeted films and series and probably this is the reason for constant rise in the VFX industry, opening the thousands of avenues for people.

Kolkata has become a hub of VFX and animation industry and this time period has become a golden era for coming up Visual effects artists.

You must be shocked to know that most of the prominent movies who were best known for their Visual effects, were actually edited in India. Some of the exceptional movies are:

  • Interstellar
  • James Bond
  • Avatar
  • Star Wars: Trilogy
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation
  • Paranoia
  • Games of Thrones
  • Expendables 2 and etc

Not only movies, but it also goes for digital shows too. Red Chillies Entertainment production, Bard of Blood received nation-wide appreciation for its spectacular and stunning visual effects.

Red Chillies was the same production house that delivered the breakthrough in Indian Cinema with the spectacular VFX based movie, Ra.One. Though VFX were definitely used in indian movies before that, it was with Ra.One that VFX were playing on the front foot on such a great scale.

The Growth of the industry.

Visual effects and animation industry is dominating the entertainment industry. The industry is ruling not only the Indian platforms but across the globe and the global success of movies like Avengers series, Star Wars, Interstellar, Avatar are proof how big Visual effects is doing the entertainment sector.  

The recent movie Frozen 2 has already collected over 300 million dollars worldwide and I guess these statistics are enough to witness the rise of the industry. With this humongous growth, no one can ever run out of jobs in this domain. 

commonly used software techniques for visual effects in films and games

Common Software Used for Creating Visual Effects (VFX)

3Ds Max

3Ds Max is a 3D modeling, rendering and animation application. The application depends on computer 3D technology that meets expectation by making groups of “points” commonly known as vertices (who form surfaces when linked together).

The image of three dimensions is made by modeling objects from assorted surfaces. Still pictures, films and video-game environments (besides other media) can be made with this technique. 

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects is the commonly used software for creating visual effects. Its essential uses include motion graphics (title introductions and logo movements) & compositing (including fake stuff into live footage). This program is incredible for fresher to visual effects. Its convenience and extensive variety of uses make it the ideal tool for Indy film making and small productions groups.


Boujou is a 3d motion tracking application that permits the insertion of computer graphics into real-life footage with right position, scale, introduction, and motion in respect  to the physical information of the original footage. Also called matchmoving Boujou is like PFTrack and Syntheyes. 

Maxon Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is a 3D animation, modeling and rendering application. The application depends on computer 3D technology that meets expectation by making groups of “points” commonly known as vertices (who form surfaces when linked together).

The image of three dimensions is made by modeling objects from assorted surfaces. Still pictures, films and video-game environments (besides other media) can be made with this technique.

Cinema 4D applications are used on a professional level mainly for motion graphics. The software is easy to use and permits direct exporting into After Effects which additionally makes it preferred software amongst users of After Effects. 

Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya resembles like a special application for cg artists due to its “node base” framework. It has a strong ability about dynamics, particles, animation, modeling, rendering, etc. Maya is best if you utilize it all the time. However if you don’t use it regularly, you will need to “re-learn” it every time you lift it up. Maya encompasses some of the best features of animation. 


Mocha software is mainly used for planar tracking & rotoscoping. The software comes along with tools for wire removal, lens distortion correction, clean plate generation & mesh warping, to convey an all-in-one VFX tool set.

Mocha Pro is intended to supplement any editing, compositing and finishing environment, and offers computerized media artists an influential, instinctive and creative planar following based arrangement with a streamlined interface, accelerated work process and the ability to effectively manipulate and track shots impossible with customary solutions.

It permits artists to effectively track shots where point trackers fail: shots with commotion, shots with motion blur and shots that go off-screen or are clouded. Mocha AE comes free along-with After Effects CS4 and above.


Nuke is primarily compositing software, similar to Adobe After Effects however utilized on a more specialized level. Nuke is one among the commonly used compositing software on big budget movies. Mainly professional VFX companies use Nuke and Flame.

Nuke’s uses a node-based methodology which takes into consideration effective workflow inside a vfx group. Also it facilitate for integration of 3d models making it perfect for 3D compositing and environments.

Nuke additionally permits for deep compositing which implies that users can work with ‘deep images’ containing numerous opacity or color samples per pixel.

This permits rendering of CGI components without foreordained holdout mattes, avoiding the requirement for re-renders when substance changes.


PFTrack  is a 3D motion tracking software that permits the insertion of computer graphics into real-life footage with appropriate positioning, scale, introduction, and motion in respect to the physical information of the original footage.  

Also called as matchmoving PFTrack is like Boujou and Syntheyes. PFTrack is likely the most refined instrument when in terms of the algorithms used. It supports object tracking, facial feature tracking (utilized for motion capture).

PFTrack 2011 being a node based application is easy to use for Flame and Nuke users to work with.


Syntheyes is a 3D motion tracking application that permits the insertion of computer illustrations into live-action footage with appropriate positioning, scale, introduction, and motion in respect to the physical information of the original footage.

It is also called as match-moving Syntheyes is similar to Boujou and PFTrack. The application offers a complete high-end feature set, including stabilization, tracking, mesh building and motion capture.

Commonly used Visual Effects Techniques

Green Screen

Green screening is a technique for compositing (layering) two images or pictures together. A color range in the top layer is made straightforward, revealing an alternate image behind. Otherwise called known chroma keying technique, it is generally utilized as a part of video production and post-production.

Motion Tracking

Motion Tracking permits the insertion of computer graphics into live-action footage with right position, scale, introduction, and motion in respect to the captured objects in the shot. The term is utilized loosely to refer to several diverse ways of extracting motion information from a motion picture, especially camera movement. Motion tracking relates to photogrammetry and rotoscoping. It is often referred to as match moving.  

3D Modeling

3D model is a representation of any three-dimensional surface of article (either lifeless or living) by means of a 3d modeling software for example, 3Ds Max, Maya, or Cinema 4D.

The product is known as 3D model. It can be shown as a two-dimensional image through a methodology called 3D rendering or utilized as a part of computer simulation of physical phenomena.

Matte Painting

matte painting as its name describes is painted representation of something like set, location, or landscape. It is very useful to create illusion of an environment that is impossible in real life and very expensive too for film makers and game developers.

Physical Simulators

Physical simulator software permits recreation or simulation of the way bodies of several types are influenced by a variety of physical stimuli.

They are likewise used to make Dynamical simulations without needing to know anything about physics (material science). Physics engines are utilized throughout the video game and film industry. They are regularly utilized for high budget movies including natural disasters such as 2012.


Rotoscoping is the technique of physically modifying film or video footage frame by frame at a time.

The frames can be painted on subjectively to make exclusively animated impacts like lightning or light-sabres, or followed to make realistic traditional style animation or to deliver hold-out mattes for compositing components in a scene and, all more recently, to create depth maps for stereo transformation.

Is the animation and VFX industry the same?

Although both animation and VFX are the terms which are used interchangeably but still there is a difference in between Animation and VFX.

Majority of people think that the both of them are the same; in fact the process for both of them differs vastly. Not a minor but they both share significant differences.


Animation is the process of bringing static images/characters into motion. It adds the movement to elements which are otherwise static and represents the reality. Animation creates the illusion of movement in images.

Popular software used for animation are:

  1. Maya
  2. Blender
  3. VRay
  4. 3D max
  5. Mudbox
  6. Light wave 3D

Visual Effects

While animation creates the illusion of movement, VFX is the process which deals with the process of creation and manipulation of computer generated images.

VFX are added to enhance the cinematic element. VFX are used to create environments or materials which are almost impossible to create in reality.

Popular software used in VFX industry are:

  1. Mocha
  2. Smoke
  3. Fusion
  4. Houdini
  5. Silhouette

Career Scope in VFX industry

Indian visual effects industry has become strong with each passing year, opening a lot of avenues for people who are looking for opportunities in Media and Entertainment sector

Career in the VFX Industry has been equally satisfying and rewarding for young and fresh minds. The success of the industry has saved a lot for aspiring VFX artists .

As a VFX artist you can successfully work as a

  • Layout Artist
  • Composting Artist
  • Lighting Artist
  • Rendering Artist
  • Roto Artist
  • Matte Painter
  • Match Mover Artist

Author’s Note

Do you also wish to be part of this exciting and dynamic VFX world. The VFX career promises a bunch of careers if you also want to achieve your dreams in the VFX industry then explore our Animation and VFX courses.

Get yourself enrolled with us for a better and prospering future.

Stay tuned for more informative blogs. Till then, Keep Exploring!

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