Introduction to visual effects
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Introduction to Visual Effects. What is Visual Effects? How far back should we go?. Illusion & Magic. What makes a magic trick work? Are visual effects magic?. Early History. 1879 Altamira Spain 8 legged animals were drawn to show movement - Animation

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Introduction to Visual Effects

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Introduction to Visual Effects

What is Visual Effects?

How far back should we go?

Illusion & Magic

What makes a magic trick work?

Are visual effects magic?

Early History

1879 Altamira Spain

8 legged animals were drawn to show movement - Animation

We’ve always been interested in capturing our real world.

Altamira Spain

First Illusions

Ancient Egypt: Wooden statues were used for prayer.Some were mechanical, using a series of pullies activated by a nearby water source.

First Illusions


Moving stages during the Renaissance

Automatons - What the heck are these? P.11


Importance of Technology.

1800’s - Theatres thrived.

They were huge and used advanced gas lighting systems.

Importance of story and its appeal.


What are the elements of theatre today?


We still use projections?

Las Vegas

What are the best uses of effects here in Las Vegas?


1826 - Thaumatrope (Paris)


1832 - Zoetrope (William Horner)


1860 - Celluloid / Film

1888 - Kinetescope (Edison)



George Milies - The Father of Visual Effects

The first edit.

“Journey to the Moon” 1902.

The first science fiction piece.

What’s the difference between Visual Effects and Special Effects?

  • Special Effects modify the real world

  • Visual Effects modify the virtual world

Special Effectsmodify the real world




Visual Effectsmodify the virtual world







Why create visual effects?

  • In normal photography we try to reproduce reality

  • In VFX we want to create something that doesn’t exist at all

    • …and also, fool people into believing it is real

Three scenarios for VFX

  • What we want to see doesn’t exist

  • What we want to see is too difficult or dangerous to photograph live

  • We need to “fix” something we have photographed

  • What about Story?


  • Whether VFX are shot on film or video depends on what the effects will be used for

  • Often effects shots require much higher resolution than the viewing format

  • The ability to shoot at a variety of speeds is also a determining factor

Film Formats

  • 65/70mm

    • When used horizontally, it’s called IMAX

  • 35mm

  • 16mm (used for television)

  • 8mm

Film Formats

Aspect Ratios

  • Full Aperture = 1.33:1 (Silent)

  • Academy = 1.37:1

  • WideScreen = 1.85:1

  • VistaVision = 1.5:1 (Silent)

  • Cinemascope = 2.35:1

  • Television widescreen = 1.78:1 (16x9)

Normal ActionFilm Speeds

  • 12 fps (Silent movies)

  • 24 fps (all Hollywood movies)

  • 25 fps (all European movies)

  • 30 fps (video)

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