Explainer: the VFX pipeline and post-production – RedShark News | Episode Movies

A VFX pipeline is a process that breaks down the various workflow stages into logical and efficient tasks. Large production pipelines involve many people working together as a team. To manage a big movie, you need to break the workflow down into manageable tasks that are completed on time and on budget.


Every film project begins with research. Here, the team decides on their technical approach, which includes software preferences, and talks about the different techniques used in the film. This is where the first concepts and ideas are pitched.

CGIs are a time-consuming process. Once the production team has finished storyboarding their project, the VFX team steps in. They start planning and preparing different scenes to develop their concept art. This gives them a clear idea of ​​what needs to be done for the scene to come together.

Watch how director Mark Bone storyboards projects:

Pre-visualization starts with arranging the scene into digital and physical sets. Once this is complete, the VFX artist actually creates the various models and effects required for the film. This may sound pretty simple, but a scene can involve modeling, texturing, weight paining, rigging, animation, and any other special effects that require special skills. These special skills sometimes mean an entirely separate team, depending on the scale of the film. The latest season of The Rings of Power required over 1,500 VFX artists from 20 different VFX studios.


This is where the actual filming takes place. VFX artists will work with the production team to provide useful content on set. They also take reference pictures of everything like props, environments, backgrounds, actors, etc. These photos are later used as 3D models to improve the realism of the scene.

3D modeling is one of these and one of the most labor intensive aspects of CG effects. It turns concept art into a digital theme by creating model props, environments, buildings, vehicles, and other objects that help the director realize his vision. The first example is motion capture. The 3D modelers create the character played by the actor using a combination of VFX software such as Autodesk Maya and Pixologic Z-Brush. To do this, 3D modelers use hundreds of reference photos and 3D scans with motion capture suits. Another example is matte painting, one of the earliest VFX techniques used in filmmaking. You create backgrounds from magical forests to castles and other 3D landscapes.


Post-production brings in all the elements of the film – video footage, special effects, CGI, music and sound. Post-production is the most labor intensive stage in the VFX pipeline. For animation, the rigging team creates a digital skeleton of their movie character, or a control system, which the animators then use to animate the character. This is done with motion capture cameras using the data collected during the actual production.

The FX team is the action crew. Your task is to add simulation elements such as explosions, fire, smoke or other destruction to the film in order to achieve realistic results. Polishing is also applied to existing scenes to improve visuals. Another way to add finishes is texturing. This adds surface colors and other textures to the 3D models, making the models look as realistic as possible. People receive their skin with detailed properties and textures for the ultimate result.

Check out this interesting behind-the-scenes video where the production team takes anti-aging effects to the next level:

Lighting is everything. Once the objects and characters are complete, the correct lighting is added to make a computer generated scene look realistic. This is applied throughout the 3D scene. The light, color and intensity of the original shot are enhanced while ensuring shadows are on point. Once the sequence of frames is rendered, they are passed to the compositor to bring all the VFX elements together.

The final stage of post-production is compositing. In this process, all the elements of the films are taken and then layered on top of each other. Color correction, masking, and other stitches are applied to achieve the final results. It is the compositor’s job to ensure that real objects and characters interact with computer generated effects and make everything look seamless and realistic. For this reason it is often referred to as stitching as it makes all the pieces seamlessly blend together.

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