There are a number of ways that VFX can dynamically change your film for the better, and knowing which tool is right for you can help you on your moviemaking journey. The rest of this article will walk you through each of these VFX tools to see which is right for you.
What Is VFX?
Thanks to modern technology, we can experience movies in a whole new way, with visual elements that aren’t real appearing in action on the big screen just as vividly as real elements. Visual Effects (VFX) include all visual elements designed to enhance or alter the recorded footage after live-action shooting.
Often, the live footage and VFX are combined or made to create realistic environments, different mythical creatures, or add effects taking place around the characters. VFX might even be used to create entirely fictional environments such as in animated movies.
There are several types of visual effects, including CGI, compositing, and motion capture, but the end goal is the same: make something not real appear on the screen.
The Best VFX Tools for Post-Production
The use of VFX in post-production relies on advanced software capable of generating or altering an image to make it appear different. The best tools, used by beginners and pros alike, can be both user-friendly and accessibly priced.
Adobe After Effects
Used by both seasoned VFX experts and beginners, Adobe After Effects is a program designed to be user-friendly, allowing you to put amazing visual effects in your film with little effort.
It also makes the editing of these effects simpler by allowing you to import assets from other programs, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Animate.
If you want to pair Adobe products, then you can export your VFX products from Adobe After Effects to Premiere Pro. They allow you to eliminate mistakes, change the weather, and add depth to the footage, as well as offering smoothing techniques.
Perhaps the best part about this program is the chance to learn using the tutorials provided by Adobe.
Another great VFX tool to use in post-production, Adobe Photoshop is inexpensive and offers a range of tools you can use. In most cases, Photoshop is used to alter images and make them brighter—not so much for adding bold VFX to your movie.
Even so, the free trial on Photoshop gives you the perfect chance to try it out for yourself to see if it’s best for you.
Nuke is a more high-end VFX software that allows you to compile and edit footage in a professional format. Armed with the technology and innovations to compose visual elements that will blow your audience’s minds.
If you’re looking to step up your game and start incorporating fancier VFX elements into your movies, Nuke has both the software and collaborative elements to get you started.
Autodesk Maya includes 3D animation, rendering, modelling, and simulation software to create the VFX elements of your dreams.
With the capability to make just about anything you can imagine, Autodesk Maya puts the tools in your hands to generate exceptional visual spectacles for your film.
If you want to try before you buy, Autodesk Maya offers a free trial of all their downloadable software, letting you test whether the program is the right pick for you.
Blender is the go-to tool for cross-platform artists. If you’re looking to create 3D graphics, then this is the tool for you.
With the ability to manage the weight of different particles and add external elements such as wind or rain. You can also track objects, allowing you to do a lot of the camera movements reconstructed in the 3D scene.
As such, Blender is a great program that’s affordable, open source, and available across different platforms.
Mastery of visual elements starts with HitFilm Express. Anyone wanting to develop their video editing skills should try this program with its rich array of visual effects (over 140), allowing you to edit your videos with incredible VFX. It has a solid timeline editor, efficient playback features, and multiple exporting options.
Best of all, the lite version of the program is free, allowing you to see whether it’s right for you.
Krita is an optimized software great for layering that can be run even on older PCs. As a lightweight VFX tool, Krita is great for having a simple, resource-efficient way to manage your 3D and VFX editing.
A great alternative to Adobe Photoshop, GIMP is a great open-source software with an easy-to-understand UI and support for layering and masks.
With lots of great post-processing resources to take advantage of, GIMP certainly isn’t an alternative to be ignored, especially if budgeting is a concern.
Armed with a powerful toolkit, DaVinci Resolve is designed for professional VFX artists and has a skill ceiling to learn.
With that being said, if you know what you’re doing, it doesn’t demand a lot from the PC and has a free version with great functionality.
4D Cinema is your go-to tool for animation and procedural modeling. With tools for modeling, animation, rendering, and texturing, 4D Cinema can create sophisticated models that can create realistic and reliable VFX for your movies.
With lots of presets available, you can create visual elements like a pro using 4D Cinema.
There are lots of great tools out there for VFX, whether you’re just getting started in filmmaking or are looking to take your skills to the next level.
From programs that can generate and track rendered objects to others that can touch up and color match images, there’s no shortage of great VFX programs to make your movie stand out.
So you’ve got your movie through filming and are ready to enter post-production. What now? Here are some of the best VFX tools you can use to make your film come to life.