The Present and Future of Visual Effects in Media and Entertainment

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Pile of vintage TV with one in standby. TV channels concept

Pile of vintage TV with one in standby. TV channels concept 3d illustration

Visual effects play one of the biggest roles in today’s media and entertainment landscape. From TV shows to advertisements, music videos, and movies. What many people may not think about is that visual effects have become an important part of not only feature films, but of video game production as well. This article takes a look at the present stage of visual effects and how it will reshape media and entertainment in the years ahead.

A.I. and Improved Graphics

Hand of a businessman shaking hands with a Android robot.
Hand of a businessman shaking hands with a Android robot. The concept of human interaction with artificial intelligence.

Bitrate today will not be able to compete with the bitrate and graphics capabilities of tomorrow. Yet, today, a number of movies produced use virtual humans to represent principal characters. These movies utilize VFX artists to accomplish complex movements and facial expressions to build over wire structures and make these computer-generated characters quite believable. This was depicted in The Incredibles where the superheroes were heavily animated and styled. A rather much more different motion caption-based approach was used in The Polar Express to create the nearly realistic human or the Kia Stinger Super Bowl commercial with Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler.

It is not an easy feat to create realistic animated human beings due to the complex nature of the human muscle and skeletal system. This is why animators rely on the use of motion capture and even that has not been perfect. In the nearest future, through deep learning, A.I. and lessons learned from motion caption sessions with the current set of animating tools, animators will be able to create realistic virtual humans efficiently, from scratch.

Realistic Facial Animation

Making realistic human facial animation is one of the biggest challenges visual artists face. It is attainable as VFX artists have proven but hours turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months of work to get the details just right. The human face is quite complicated with a lot of moving features hard to define by a computer. However, it is expected that there will be a massive improvement in these areas in the coming years. At the end of the day, as moviegoers and fans of televised entertainment, the more these computer effects are used in the projects we sit down and enjoy with family and friends, the more we appreciate the subtle details.

Synthetic Environments

mars rover exploring the red planet surface, 3d illustration
Mars rover exploring the red planet surface, 3d illustration, synthetic environment.

Presently, creating fully photorealistic and synthetic environments are very costly and time-consuming.  Studio tentpoles and network flagship programs invest a lot of time and effort on special effects and visual effects because they have the larger budgets to build out these fictitious worlds that only a computer and VFX artist can create.

However, in the near future, there will be software that can create digital cities and massive environments in an automated way. Every building, tree and even road will be generated by the software. This would make post production easier and faster. As these advancements in technology and automation happen, the cost of production will decrease and the amount of original content will increase. Privately owned and operated Youtube channels will have high production value content similar to what we are currently viewing today.

Conversion of Movies and Games

In the very near future, will see a fusion between movie producers and game developers. It’s happening as we speak. The reason for this is that as VFX technologies advance, game developers will use more of film style VFX. Likewise, VFX technologies make use of gaming technology. This relationship will allow more data exchange between both parties.

At the moment, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality are in it’s infancy. Once technology catches up to affordable hardware for mainstream consumers, prepare for a new, very fun and immersive entertainment experience.

If you are in need of world-class VFX or VR work, contact us. We are happy to give your video production projects care and attention to detail it deserves.

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