Visual effects are the various ways in which images are created or manipulated in a context different to live shooting. They are 100% computer generated and are used to create a variety of effects in movies, TV broadcasts, spots, simulators and even billboards.

Professionalization of visual effects comes together under the concept of Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), which, with the introduction of computer animation and cheaper modelling software, has recently become an accessible tool for independent productions as well.

Visual effect experts divide the field into five categories:

  • Modelling
  • Matte painting
  • Live-action effects
  • Digital animation
  • Digital effects


It consists of generating sets of miniatures and models, animatronics and animation with Stop motion.


Matte painting

This type of painting can be done either digitally, following the traditional way or with pictures that work as background for rotostropic elements. The artist will paint a group of pictures in great detail, while actors appearing in them are frozen in the scene, not to break the outline of the layers that shall be added at al later stage during editing.

Matte painting was used fro the first time in The Wizard of Ozand later also in  Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.


This visual effects technique uses real actors located in front of a Chroma key, with a blue or green background. The green background is more common than the blue one fro this technique, as image sensors on video cameras are more sensitive to that colour and require less lighting than the blue background.

Digital animation

This visual effects category consists of a light simulation in computer graphics, texture simulation, animation and computer generated 3D characters, particle systems, digital sets, etc.

Digital effects

This type of visual effects is also known as digital FX or just FX within the 3D industry. Images are created with and by photographic assets within this category. Digital effects often integrate fix photography and computer generated images in order to create real-looking environments that would be either dangerous, too expensive or just impossible to shoot with a camera.

We may highlight that visual effects are often an integral part of the stories they tell, bot only at cinema, but also when producing series and other formats. Thanks to forefront technology they create a positive impact inspiring emotions and allowing the audience to identify with the story they are being told more than ever before.

In our Character, Animation, VFX reel you may see a good example of what we are talking about, as it gathers all disciplines: texture simulation, 3D character animation, particle effects, digital sets, etc.

At forma, we aim to become part of our customer’s dreams. Shall we bring a story to life together? Contact us!



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