One of the most powerful enablers of film making in this technologically advanced digital era is Visual Effects (VFX). It’s a magic wand that film makers are wielding brilliantly to craft stunning, out-of-the screen cinematic experiences. And it’s been happening since ages, (though the VFX basics remain the same) in a slightly crude or elementary fashion compared to modern day special effects wizardry. From the use of miniature models in the early 1900s, to the advent of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in the 1990s, and other advancements such as motion-capture (mocap) and animatronics along the way, VFX has helped stretch the scope of film making vastly.
Traditionally, Hollywood has been a super power in film making and the driving force behind the global media and entertainment industry’s growth. And it’s no secret that the VFX sector is growing rapidly on the back of demand from mainstream Hollywood films helmed by creative film makers who understand the impact of special effects on storytelling. Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Michael Bay, Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg are some of the prominent film directors credited with extensively using special effects in their films and popularizing the craft. VFX is growing bigger every year as more and more filmmakers exploit its creative power to dramatize the visual narrative.
As per an online report, there are about 30 VFX-based Hollywood films slated for release this year (From September to December 2019): Star Wars – Episode IX, The Goldfinch, Frozen II, Terminator: Dark Fate, Zombieland: Double Tap, Zeroville, Artemis Fowl, 3 from Hell, Spies in Disguise, Motherless Brooklyn, Downtown Abbey, Sonic the Hedgehog and Ford v. Ferrari to name a few. And these are in addition to a bunch of 3 dozen odd films which have already hit the screens this year (From January till August) and hundreds of Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and other language films and television serials/Netflix series based on VFX which are in the making and scheduled for a 2019-2020 release/premiere worldwide.
Apart from cinema, gaming is another major accelerator for VFX. Every year, scores of new games are being introduced in the market to cater to the burgeoning demand. The line-up for this year’s gaming releases is impressive to say the least. The entertainment world is waiting with bated breath as the biggest names in the business rollout brand new games and fresh editions of existing games from their creative pipeline. Many of these games are expected to be launched during various upcoming gaming events across the world such as EGX Berlin (November 1-3), SIGGRAPH Asia (November 17-20), India Game Developer Conference-2019 and GDC 2020 (March 16-20) to name a few.
Is it only movies and gaming that are fuelling VFX? Certainly not! Advertising is another major area where Visual Effects is being used to tell unforgettable stories. Be it an explosion, a car chase, an adorable CG character or a sublime utopian world, VFX is creating it all for film makers and enabling stories that engage, enlighten and enthral. The Vodafone ZooZoo commercial, Happydent City Lights television commercial, MTS Internet Baby Ad Campaign, the KitKat Dancing Babies Ad Campaign and the Kawasaki KB 100 morphing advertisement in the late 1900s are some of the best examples in Indian advertising history where VFX was used to stunning effect.
Apart from films, gaming, and advertising, Visual Effects are also being used increasingly in creating high value, mission-critical presentations, videos and other promotional material for companies across industries and verticals including education, engineering, healthcare, hospitality, infrastructure and real estate, manufacturing, science and technology, research and e-commerce to name a few. All of these are adding momentum to the VFX engine as it picks up speed and races towards projected revenues of USD 23,854 million in the year 2025. From the days when people were curious to know what is vfx to this exciting era of digital media and entertainment, VFX has come a long, long way.
What’s evident is the fact that, as VFX is growing bigger every day, more film makers, game crafters, ad builders and promo builders in addition to other new users are make it an indispensable tool for everything from business to entertainment and education. And this is great news as more VFX studios are required to execute the work which in turn means more jobs will be created and artists can look forward to thriving careers. As technology is evolving, Visual Effects is expanding in scope to include many specializations. Some of the popular roles in VFX include Motion Graphics Artist, Digital FX Animator, Visual FX Artist, Compositor, Roto Artist, Matte Painter, 3D Compositor, Audio-Video Editor, Match-moving Artist, Digital FX Artist and DI & Colour Grading Artist apart from talent required for many other integral tasks such as Simulation FX, Motion Capture, 3D Scanning, Character & Creature Animation, Concept Art, and Previs/Pre-Visualization which also require specialized VFX effects skills.
The growing use of VFX in cinema, gaming, advertising and other sectors/industries is triggering a spurt in demand for special effects training academies such as Dilsukhnagar Arena which have been doing phenomenal work in the field since 1998. The academy has trained outstanding VFX artists, many of whom are working with top CG studios, have been honoured with the coveted Oscar for their contributions to the award-winning Hollywood film ‘The Jungle Book’ and collaborated on many other popular Hollywood blockbusters such as Captain Marvel and more. At Dilsukhnagar Arena institute, the emphasis is on enhancing employability: by creating an enabling environment, extending prompt learning support, facilitating experiential learning and selflessly travelling the extra mile to ensure that students rise to their potential and achieve their career goals.
This learner-oriented, industry-specific approach to VFX training is the key to helping the global digital media and entertainment business cope with the surge in demand for readily employable talent. The industry needs more such competent institutes which can deliver the best VFX training in India and across locations around the world. As cutting-edge technology driven by innovation – the mother of necessity evolves to meet the emerging needs of creative film makers who are pushing the boundaries of storytelling, VFX is becoming indispensable to the craft, even as new roles are being created and more talent is being recruited. Exceptional talent passionate about building careers in Animation and VFX can confidently step in to the exciting world and enjoy a secure and rewarding future even as the industry expands.