Different Techniques to Create Special Effect

Different Techniques to Create Special Effect

What is Special Effect?


Special effects is imagery that is created from non-genuine or artificial sources or crude material to some degree or entire but should seem genuine, predictable with whatever is left of the components in the story.

Special effects (often abbreviated as SFX, SPFX, or simply FX) are illusions or visual tricks used in the film, television, theatre, video game and simulator industries to simulate the imagined events in a story or virtual world. For example space travel that can’t be accomplished by cutting edge or ordinary methods.


Example for Special Effect

In the show event that you show a genuine tiger, will the audience think it is genuine? Not likely, but rather it will seem genuine, steady with whatever remains of the fictional story (which isn’t genuine as well). Then again, if you show the audience a film like Who Framed Roger Rabbit they realize the movement isn’t genuine but still, accept it as a major aspect of the imaginary world made by the producers.

Click on below Video: Who Framed Roger Rabbit


Special Effect is divided into two categories:


1. Mechanical Effects (Physical Effects)

Mechanical/ Practical Effects are achieved during the live action shooting in which they make use of scenery, scale models, animatronics, mechanized props and atmospheric effects in creating physical rain, wind, snow, fog, clouds etc.

These effects are also incorporated into makeup and set design.

Click on below Video: Beginners Mistakes in SFX


For Example: Prosthetic makeup can be used to make an actor look like a non-human creature or a set may be built with breakaway walls or mirror to enhance a fight scene.


2. Optical Effects (Photographic Effects)

Optical impacts are techniques utilized in image or film outlines are made photographically either “in-camera” utilizing multiple exposure, mattes or post-production using an optical printer. An optical impact may be utilized to put performing artists or sets against a different background.

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) has gone to the forefront of special effects technologies. It gives film producers more control and enables numerous effects to be practiced all the more securely and convincingly and—as technology improves—at lower costs. Therefore, numerous optical and mechanical effects technique have been supplanted by CGI.

Different Techniques to Create Special Effect

There are three techniques to create images for video or films:


1. Through the Camera

  • Split screen
  • Stereoscopy
  • Flicker
  • Props
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range)
  • Flare
  • Stop motion
  • Filters and Lighting
  • Zooms, movements, etc.
  • High-speed Imaging
  • Slow-motion
  • Still imagery
  • Prosthetics and Make-up
  • Miniature sets, models, etc.
  • Motion control rigs
  • Underwater techniques
  • Action, Stunts, Simulations
  • Guns and Weapons
  • Explosives
  • Set Design and Decoration
  • Lens (e.g. fisheye, tilt-shift, etc.)
  • Animatronics, puppetry, robots, models, etc.
  • Color or Tonal effects (Black and white, LUTs, Gammas, etc.)
  • False perspective (using the set and lens)

Click on below Video: How to Add Special Effect in your Video


2. Scanning

  • Hand-drawn animation
  • Film
  • Other media or imagery


3. Computer Software and Hardware

  • Editing
  • Compositing
  • Keying
  • Rotoscoping
  • Tracking
  • Texture mapping
  • Motion Capture
  • Crowd simulation
  • Animation
  • Colour grading
  • Painting, Matte painting
  • Filters, plug-ins
  • Warping, deforming
  • Motion Graphics, Text, Shapes
  • Lighting, Ray tracing, Shading
  • Resizing, reframing, transcoding
  • Bullet-time, Time-lapse, Hyper-lapse
  • Fluid dynamics, Fractals and Particle dynamics
  • 2D and 3D Models, Texturing and Animation
  • Slow-motion or high-speed Retiming and Interpolation

Click on below Video: 7 Movie before and after Special Effect

For beginner animation enthusiasts who want to learn different techniques to create a special effect on a professional level and want to become a special effects artist, please send us an enquiry for our Arena VFX courses in Vadodara.

What is Pinscreen Animation?

What is Pinscreen Animation?

What is Pinscreen Animation?


Pinscreen animation makes use of a screen which is entirely filled with moveable pins and can be moved in or out by pushing an object to appear on the screen. The screen is lit from the front side so that the pins cast shadows. To create animated films the pinscreen animation technique has been used with a range of textural effects challenging to achieve with any other animation technique which including traditional cel animation.

Pinscreen Device


A pinscreen is a white screen drilled with thousands of pins in small holes. Light shines from the one side of the screen causing each pin to cast a shadow. Each pin moves in and out through the holes can cast different shadows.

These pins do not move easily they presenting some resistance to movement to avoid unintended dislocation and thus image error. The pins motion resistance depends on the pinscreen calibration.

The white screen becomes darker the farther the pins are pushed out, pointing from the surface. When more pins are pushed in less shadows are formed the lighter the screen becomes giving a greyish color and ultimately an all-white screen again.


Click on below Video: How to Make a Pin Art Toy


Basis of Image Synthesis


The image creation process in the pinscreen is based on the shadows the pins cast over the white surface board, enabling the synthesis of black and white images with intermediate grey levels. In below images shows an amplified model of a fraction of the pinscreen used to demonstrate the shading process.

Let assume that you are looking at the front surface board. When the pins are not appearing from the surface, no shadows are formed and the surface seems completely white. If one of the pins is pressing from the backside, its shadow will be cast on the white surface board. The further the pin is moved the longer the shadow appears.


Instead of one pin, push a group of pins. Suppose we done it in only half portion. The shadows cast will appear with white spaces between them and a medium grey color will be displayed.

If the pins are entirely pushed, the shadow of each pin will overlay that of its neighbour. No light will reach the white surface board and black color is cast. The back surface shows the reverse effect acting as a negative.



Digital Pinscreen


The Digital Pinscreen was developed between 1989 and 1995 by Pedro Faria Lopes and allowed to reproduce the traditional Pinscreen with gains both in ease of use and productivity. It is possible to simulate the Pinscreen using 3D primitives computer graphics and this approach is not suitable for real-time manipulation of the pins. On a Pinscreen, it is the shadows of the pins that create the image and not the pins themselves. That means there is no need to represent the pins visually, but only the shadows they cast.

Furthermore the shadow can be interpreted as a rectangle with a length equivalent to the height of the pin and rotated in correspondence with the light source. It means that the shadow of a pin has two properties which are length and orientation. As for the light source, assuming the light is far away from the surface (parallel rays), moving it around in a three-dimensional space only has effects in a two-dimensional plane: it only changes the length or orientation of the shadows of the pins, making it easier to change the shadows directly instead of the light source.

Click on Link: Digital Pinscreen

By defining a maximum shadow vector (MSV) as the length and orientation of the shadow, a pin cast it if its height is maximum than other pin heights have the same orientation of the MSV and its length proportional to the length of the MVS. Representing the shadows as rectangles and controlling the MSV, allow a fundamental shift in the way the Pinscreen image synthesis can be achieved: visually, it is possible to work only in 2D instead of 3D, which will result in very high gains in terms of interaction, visualization and ultimately, inefficiency that will allow processing of hundreds of thousands of pins in real-time.


Digital Pinscreen Animation


Because of the cost and labour-intensive animation process, many computer programs have been made with the purpose of simulating the images generated by a physical pinscreen.

One of the benefits of using digital pinscreen animation is the recovery of images. With the traditional pinscreen, there is no other way to recover a previous image except for creating it again with no guarantee of accuracy. With digital pinscreen, the previous image can be retrieved and modified without having to be recreated.

For students who are interested to learn more on Digital Pinscreen Animation and would like to experience and practice on a more professional level, please sign up today for Arena Animation Prime Course.

References link

The Pinscreen in the Era of the Digital Image

Pinscreen Animation

Digital Pin Director

Pinscreen Animation

Difference Between Stepped and Spline Blocking in Animation

Difference Between Stepped and Spline Blocking in Animation

Blocking in Animation

Blocking is a technique used in animation in which key poses are shaped to set up timing and placement of props and characters in a given specified shot. There are many different ways in which blocking can be performed some of which are Stepped and Spline Blocking. In 3D animation designing, there are many steps that are involved. One of these steps is blocking which tends to put many animators in the difficulty of which specific technique to use in designing.

Stepped and Spline Blocking in Animation

Stepped and Spline Blocking refers to the way your keyframes are interpolated in an animation. Stepped blocking means that there is no change in values between two keys while in spline blocking method, the computer automatically adds in-betweens values between two keyframes.

Let’s take a look in detail at the difference between each method for blocking in animation and its benefits.

Difference Between Stepped and Spline Blocking in Animation


Stepped Blocking in Animation

In stepped blocking phase you can focus on the key areas of the animation. Creating an animation is a lengthy process and it involves different elements to bring it all together. During the blocking stage of animation, one of the most important things to get established is the key poses for a shot. Being that in stepped blocking mode the software doesn’t interpolate between two keyframes it allows you not to be distracted by how the computer is actually moving between keyframes, but rather the poses for the character. One of the most important things to get established is the key poses for the shot. Stepped blocking also allows you to keep your scene very clean, and you are able to tell the animation story with a minimal amount of keyframes.

Click on Below Video: Blocking Stage – Stepped

Advantage of Stepped Blocking

The main advantage of stepped blocking method is that it is faster and have the option of correcting and rectifying the mistakes. If any change is necessary for it, then it is easier to do it in the rough state.

Spline Blocking in Animation

Spline blocking technique helps the animator to assume a vivid understanding of who the characters are and how they are supposed to move. Spline Blocking allows you to work more in a straight-ahead way. Depending on the shot, sometimes just going at it full force can be the way to go, and with spline blocking mode you are able to get a feel for how animation is going to be played out very early on in the blocking stage. Since the computer is actually interpolating between each keyframe, you are able to get a strong grasp of how the timing is actually going to look at the animation. If the timing doesn’t work, you can immediately shift keyframes around until you get what you are looking for. In the beginning of an animation, you can basically work in stepped blocking mode as you create the key poses by simply flipping through your keyframes without playing the whole animation. That way you can still focus on the posing, and not worry about the animation. It’s also much easier to incorporate things like overlapping action and follow through.

Click on Below Video: Blocking to Spline 2.0 Animation Tutorial

Advantage of Spline Blocking

Advantage of working in spline blocking mode are that you can get 70–80% of the way there in your first pass, and finishing off the shot can be a breeze.

Click on Below Video: 12 Principles of Animation



Stepped and Spline Blocking technique is used in animation. The only way you decide what works better is if you try both the method and determine what you find easier for workflow. There are some situations where stepped blocking is better and there are situations when blocking in spline technique will work best. It’s up to you to decide when to use one over the other.

For students who are interested to learn more on stepped and spline blocking technique and would like to experience more on a professional level, please sign up today for our Animation Course.


Stepped vs. Spline Blocking in Animation

Stepped or Spline?

Blocking (Animation)

Learn How to Create Color Smoke Effect in Photoshop

Learn How to Create Color Smoke Effect in Photoshop

Creating color smoke effect is a really easy technique. In this Blog, We show you how to create a color smoke effect by playing with some colors and adjustment layers. Below are the steps on how to create a different color smoke effect and few tips to achieve the best result in Photoshop.

Click on Below Video: Colored Smoke

How to Add Color Smoke Effect in Photoshop

Adding One Color

Step 1: Duplicate the Background Layer

Open the image in Photoshop, then go to the layers palette and rename the layer by dragging it into the layer or by going to the layers menu and selecting the duplicate layer. Don’t make any changes in the original background, so if you get into the problem, you can easily start it again.

Step 2: Brighten the Smoke

To brighten the smoke effect slightly > Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to open the histogram or by clicking on the black and white circle in the layers palette. When you click on the white circle to the bottom right of the histogram and drag it to the left, the image will slightly brighten. Keep your eye on the background when you apply this as you don’t want to add too much effect so that the black effects start to disappear and white spots appear.

Step 3: Create a Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer

Next, We create a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer by going to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation. When a new window opens, move the hue slider up or down to vary the color. For more variety, click on the colourize box and when you run the slider, you will see more color options.

Click on Below Video: How to Add Color Smoke Bomb in Photoshop


Add Rainbow Color Smoke Effect


Step 1: Add a Gradient

To add a rainbow color to the image, we add a gradient fill layer. To apply the gradient go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient. Here a new window will open. In the window, you will see you can adjust the angle, scale and style. There’s also a box called gradient which has the new gradient style in it. To change this click on it to open the gradient editor, once you are satisfied with the selection click on ok.

Step 2: Apply the Fill Gradient to the Smoke

You will see the gradient is covering the whole image. To apply it to the smoke find the drop-down menu in the layers palette that says ‘normal’, click on it and select ‘color’. Now the smoke will have the gradient applied to it. If you don’t like the colors, then double click on the fill gradient in the layers palette to bring the window up to correct it.

Change a Black Background to White

Step 1: Change The Color of the Background

To change the background color > Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Invert.

Step 2: Change The Smoke Color

It will change your background to white, but smoke may be a color you don’t want it to be. To rectify this, if you are still working on the same image, go back to the hue/saturation adjustment layer and adjust the hue until you find a color you are satisfied with. If it’s a new image then > Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation and adjust it.

Click on Below Video: How to Create a Smoke / Fog Brush in Photoshop


Few Tips to Achieve the Best Result

1. Use Dark Background

White smoke looks much better on a darker background than on light one.

2. Use Good Smoke Images

Some images with smoke are not suitable for your project because the background is not black, just dark grey. So when you use screen layer mode, you will see something like ghost rectangle on every single layer copy. You can edit these resources by using adjustment layer – levels and make dark colors darker.

3. Use Different Smoke Types

The result will be more reliable.

For students who are interested to learn different color smoke effect technique in photoshop and would like to experience and practice on a more professional level, please sign up today for Arena Animation Prime Course.

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