Spotlight on Special Effects Creator, Stan Winston
06 May 21
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Being able to convey a storyline, or a message has always been important in creating a good film or TV series, but now with HD and 4K screens, people aren’t just looking for a tale to be told. There is a growing emphasis on quality, creating incredible visual effects that transform and unimaginable scenario into reality for the viewer.
Visual effects have a dramatic influence on the success of a film or TV series; if viewers aren’t in awe of what they see, you can be sure ratings will decrease. Although there is a demand for talent in the world of special effects, it is also vital professionals have the relevant skills and knowledge to produce jaw-dropping visuals.
If you’re looking for a career in visual effects, whether that’s within film or TV, there are four areas which you will need to know about.
Also known as stills, these background plates are used for 3D characters, particle effects and digital sets they are made from digital or traditional paintings and photographs. Instead of trekking through the globe in search of the perfect backdrop to film, artists have been creating stills for over a century with the first being built in 1907 by Norman Dawn in the Missions of California film.
One of the most common visual effects areas is to work in animation. As a broad term, it means to add movements to any 2D or 3D characters. There are different types of animation, including traditional, stop motion, computer, mechanical and more. The Simpsons is one of the most successful animated TV series of all time, with production beginning in 1989 and continuing today, it is these types of feats many animators look to for inspiration.
Also known as computer simulation, someone who works in modelling creates an object which is then to be put through an algorithm to bring it to life. Some models are physically constructed; others are developed on computer software. An excellent example of modelling is from the Wallace and Gromit film series.
Any visual effects fanatic will be familiar with the ‘green screen’, but there are many names for compositing, including chroma key. The purpose of compositing is to merge two live-action frames into one. It is often achieved through digital image manipulation, but there are traditional methods which span back decades. All compositing involves replacing one part of a frame, or selected areas, with another image or material.