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VFX Trends: Where We Are and Where We Are Going

VFX Trends: Where We Are and Where We Are Going

The Visual Effects industry is an ever-changing creative landscape full of visionary professionals constantly trying to outdo their previous work. Because of this, the trends in the VFX industry come and go. Here are some of the top 5 trends we see happening right now.

1. Younger (or living) CG Versions of Actors

Hopefully, everyone reading this has seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and if you haven’t then you probably should stop reading this and go watch it. Among many fabulous visual effects in that movie was the stunning work by ILM to recreate digital versions of Peter Cushing’s Governor Tarkin and Carrie Fisher’s young Princess Leia.

This was a massive display of how far technology and art have come. Rogue One followed the footsteps of Marvel’s 2016 Captain America Civil War, which showed us a young Robert Downey Junior, and HBO’s Westworld that showed off a de-aged Anthony Hopkins.

In the trailer for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell NoTales, we get a glimpse of a young Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow. It is easy to assume that this trend of de-aging and bringing deceased characters back to life will stick around for a while. You never know, maybe Elvis lives.

2. Creatures

There is nothing new about a great monster, alien, or creature in a movie. In fact, epic creatures have a long history with Hollywood, however, technology has hugely changed how we see these creatures on screen.

Advancements with computer animation and motion capture have given VFX artists incredible flexibility with not only modeling and texturing a realistic creature or monster, but also bringing them to life in stunning ways
that completely dissolve the lines of what is real and what is fake.

Using real animals or monster make up has all but been replaced by CGI, and where directors used to shy away from showing too much of a creature or animal, they now showcase them in up-close and personal situations.

This was true in movies like the 2016 Jungle Book, and by the looks of the trailers, we can get a feel that this will hold true in the upcoming Alien: Covenant.

3. Motion Control Reaching New Heights

One of the most exciting new trends in the VFX world is the new abilities of motion control cameras. Motion control systems have been around since the late 1970’s and give directors the ability to record the motion of a camera and replicate that exact motion for multiple takes. 

This is useful when you need to perfectly repeat a camera motion for compositing purposes or when you are shooting a high speed moment with a high frame rate that you want to later reveal in slow motion with added movement. 

As 3D sets and digital environments are becoming all the rage, we are seeing a sort of reversal of motion control. Artists now have the ability to take the motion data from a 3D camera and plug that information into the motion controlled camera. 

The camera then acts as a robot and does whatever the 3D camera tells it to do. This allows for immediate compositing feedback by creating a 3D plate with a perfectly matched live action plate that is pixel on pixel. This incredible flexibility with the camera and composting will most likely continue to push the blending of 3D environments with real-life actors and props.

4. Invisible Effects

Invisible effects are everywhere in the industry right now; they just don’t get the spotlight very much. After all, to the general public, it is way more impressive to watch a superhero crash through a building than to see that a blemish was removed from an actor’s face.

VFX artists have gotten extremely good at fooling us into thinking we aren’t even watching a scene with visual effects. This trend can have plenty of negative connotations as it seems VFX artists are now responsible for fixing small continuity errors or set dress issues, but it is still awesome to marvel at what can be accomplished by a post-production team.

5. A Generalist Industry

Throughout the years of cinema, studios have gone back and forth in preferring to hire specialists or generalists. With the current state of technology changing faster than you can change your clothes, studios are trending towards hiring generalists in the areas of VFX.

This means that studios want VFX artists who are well-versed in various areas of the craft, not one specific theme. So if you are trying to break onto the industry scene, don’t just learn character rigging. Learn simulations, modeling, texturing, mo-cap, and as many other things as you can.

This will give yourself a greater opportunity to get your foot in the door of a major studio. Thankfully we are here to help. With our growing library of assets, you can quickly spruce up your portfolio and make your movies looks awesome with stunning visual effects.

First time here? ActionVFX creates action stock footage for VFX and filmmaking. (We also have some great free stuff!)

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