What is VFX Pipeline?

What is the Visual Effects Pipeline? How does the VFX Pipeline work?

Nowadays the abbreviation ‘VFX’ is found everywhere whether it's related to a movie, series, music video, or even an advertisement. VFX or Visual effects are fictional objects or motions which take place in post-production using CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) such as smoke, destruction, green blood, etc.

What is the Visual Effects Pipeline?

Although we understand the term ‘VFX’, it is quite enlightening to figure out how exactly the VFX pipeline works. VFX pipeline is the process to build either a character or a scene from scratch to come alive in a real-world on-screen. For example, from creating a baby Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy(2014) to live-action shots with other real-life actors.

Let's dive into the process of making a VFX movie.

The VFX movie development is majorly divided into three phases:

1. Pre-production: The amount of work that revolves around building concepts and giving the vision is associated with pre-production. The storyboard, concept, locations, and pre-visualization are usually considered in the pre-production department.

2. Production: In the production process Live-action shots, costumes, set design, location, and budget are taken into account to make to movie-making process ahead

3. Post-production: Audio effects, dubbing, or noise reduction video and audio edits are parts of the post-production process. Visual effects play a major role in Post Production to give the movie a final touch by assembling all the departments.

There are two types of movies where VFX plays a major role.

1. The whole movie is built on the VFX from the character building to the live story building for example Avatar(2009) or The Lion King (2019).

2. While the second one only demands some effects which could be applied to live-action shots using softwares such as Maya, 3Ds Max, Houdini, Nuke, Mocha, After Effects, or Blender such as Bahubali(2017), RRR(2022), or Brahmastra(2022).

How does the VFX Pipeline work in a movie?

3D Modelling: 3D Modelling can be done using tools like Maya, Houdini, Zbrush, etc. which refers to building a character from scratch as in a cylinder or rectangular prism shape to create body parts or shape of an object.

Rigging: The whole support system or rigging points out the character's skeleton structure, which can be done using Houdini, Blender, or Maya software.

Animation: While doing Animation one puts life into the character. In other words, implanting emotions, expressions and movements are all part of the animation. Maya, After Effects, or Blender are generally used for animation.

Material |Texturing | Shading | Lighting: This is the main element that differentiates VFX from simple 2D animation as the texturing refers to reality. If the light is coming from the right side of the object then its left side should be generating a shadow to make it look real using softwares like After Effects, Nuke, and Blender.

Rendering: The rendering process is creating the definite outcome of that particular object/scene and converting it into the frames with appropriate lighting, shadow, texture, and camera angle so the final output can be seen as per the director’s vision. In VFX rendering is the most time-consuming process as it has to integrate all the elements which the scene demands.

Compositing: It is the process of merging the computer-generated scene with a live-action shot and turning it into reality. It can be done using tools like Maya, Houdini, Zbrush, etc.

So these are the fundamental processes of the VFX Pipeline:

As the VFX production process has a variety of departments and is complicated in terms of management. Most of the Production houses don't have anything to track the whole VFX production process, they use excel sheets to keep the track record. Excel sheets are annoying as studios have tons of projects and a huge workforce. An error in reporting or misunderstanding can make a project miss a deadline and It may cost a lot to the studio and production house.

‘Vani’ is the accurate solution to tedious excel sheets. It provides the dashboard where the progress of all departments can be seen by the admin directly who can take actions wherever required. Vani can be learned in a single day considering its simple architecture. It is also affordable and fits any size of the company. Vani can also be used to track the production process of CGI, Games, Short films, advertisements, and Animation as well.

VFX does not fall into any methodology or has a solid pipeline. The VFX pipeline varies from one studio to another. Some studios need the Character from scratch, while others work on Animations, so the timeline and methodology will be different for both. While ‘Vani’ is suitable for every type of Studio or Production house. Vani will be customized as per your needs. Hence to make your process shortened and more effortless you can always reach out to us for ‘Vani Software’.