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5 Simple Yet Effective VFX Tricks

5 Simple Yet Effective VFX Tricks

Use these 5 techniques to save your budget — and sanity!

You’ve planned out your scene, but the VFX may require additional plug-ins, assets, or substantial amounts of work that are going to add a cost to your project. While it’s great to have a nice budget for VFX work, sometimes you may be severely limited on resources. 

Today’s article is going to show you five simple visual effects you can use without the need for purchasing additional plug-ins or specialized software.

Of course you’ll need a decent editing computer, but even if you don’t have access to something like Premiere Pro or After Effects, you can download the free HitFilm Express to jump right into producing VFX without breaking out the credit card.

Before we get to these specific tricks, here’s an excellent video from CG Geek that gives several tips on what you should keep in mind when filming your VFX shots. These steps will not only make compositing faster in post-production, but they’ll also make the final results look as good as possible.
Now that you know what to look for when filming your scene, let’s take a look at the five simple VFX tricks we mentioned. 

While your editing software may vary, each of these simple techniques can be replicated in your software of choice with basic tasks like masking, cropping, and scaling, which can be accomplished in almost any video editing software. Some are even basic in-camera effects you can accomplish with a little creativity. So let’s get started!

#1. Forced Perspective

Forced perspective can have an amazing impact on your visual effects, and it’s been a valuable filmmaking tool since the early days of Hollywood. In this case, an expensive military vehicle adds a ton of production value to the shot. In the end, we discover it’s merely a tiny model that was subtly incorporated into the scene, which made for an awesome visual trick. 

Using this trick, you could include everything from a luxury sports car to a spaceship, all without renting vehicles, building props, or spending time in a 3D modeling program.

#2. Fake a Punch

Another classic Hollywood visual effect is the faked punch. In the video below, you’ll see how to use trick angles, a speed ramp, frame cuts, or even a little masking, duplicating, and resizing to convincingly land a punch. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure you’ve got a nice sound effect for the moment of contact.

#3. Seamless Transitions

Masking transitions can create some truly subtle scene shifts, and could even be used for set extensions. We’ve covered several awesome techniques for film editing cuts, so be sure to check those out, along with the method used in the video below.

#4. Simulate a Car Hit

Employ some simple animated masks to create a sudden (and terrifying) scene where your actor gets hit by a car, no stuntman necessary!

#5. Add a Set Extension

One of the most versatile and effective VFX tricks you can use is to generate a set extension. You might have limited space to shoot your scene, or even an uninteresting background. Solve both of those problems and create an exciting set extension to add an epic scale to your shot.
Of course, there are a myriad of ways you can accomplish the tricks on this list, but these examples are a good start to get your creativity flowing.

What are your favorite simple VFX tricks beyond what we mentioned? Let us know in the comments below!

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