Importance of VFX pipeline and VFX workflow best practices
Some people call it a vital part of today’s era of cinema, some call it a key part of the modern film industry, visual effects have become a prime necessity. With the help of visual effects, many movies have been made better, it gets noticed by those who are avid cinema lovers. Today, a movie without VFX is pretty hard to imagine, and its importance extends far beyond the silver screen. Almost all kinds of media that we consume today, be it advertisements or television shows, are touched by VFX.
The general public may assume VFX to be something like a magic trick, and those who have a little bit of knowledge of how movies are made may think it’s the VFX software that has done the work. But, it can come as a surprise to many that a visual effect pipeline is something that plays a key role here. A lot of people may have a hard to realize the impact of VFX on the final results, but this is exactly what makes all the difference in a shot. Today, the VFX pipeline has turned into an art form, it has surely come a long way since its early stage.
Here, we will take a look at the importance of the VFX pipeline and also the VFX workflow best practices.
The importance of the VFX pipeline
For every visual effect shot, the VFX pipeline is critical, whether you are a VFX supervisor who is taking care of a team that is responsible to create all the effects, or you are someone who is responsible to create 3D animation, 3D elements, and digital characters for movies, video games or television shows, VFX pipeline is sure to play a key role for everyone. If you want to bring an effect to life, then you must follow this chain of processes, and it will help you from planning to production and post-production.
Some reasons why the VFX pipeline is crucial
With the help of the VFX pipeline, you can be assured that there is someone who is always taking care of the project, there is someone who can pull all the triggers and also can do the required fixing before they turn into bigger issues.
During and post-production, it can prevent major issues, it will make sure that your work is always in process and moving in the right direction, even in the time of breakdowns.
It ensures that the film is done on time. Once your visual effects are done on time, you can rest assured that your project will be completed within the specified time.
The working of the VFX pipeline
For various films, television shows, and video games, the VFX pipeline is the system that is the interconnection of technical and creative steps that are designed to complete the pre-production and post-production aspects. Ultimately, it needs good teamwork and every team member is responsible to create striking and seamless video effects.
You can find the workflow of VFX a little compartmentalized, but these are some key stages of production:
Where production begins
This is the initial stage where all the pre-visualizations, story ideas, and brainstorming are done, it will be the stage where every single piece of art will be used before the actual work gets started, and all the important changes are made in this stage.
The production team does all the shooting work for source content, and all these are done in the presence of the VFX supervisor who carries all the planning and notes down all the data that will be needed after the production stage is complete, this includes motion capture, clean plates, set measurements, lighting references and more.
During the post-production stage, the role of the visual effects team and the supervisors is to create final VFX shots and for this, they need to bring up all the semi-finished work and concepts in the pre-production stage, and it also includes the data that was collected during the production stage. And, then comes the final touch with the help of color grading in the sequences.
Just like other processes, the pipeline workflows also need to be changed as and when needed so that you can stay competitive with all the new breakout technologies. To allow artists to do their job with ease and perfection, new tools, technologies, and software solutions keep emerging. Artists, on the other hand, need to be flexible and organized to make use of these emerging technologies.
For those who have a VFX studio, it allows to figure out some of the biggest cost-cutting technologies and this, in turn, helps in the completion of projects within the specified and well within the budgets of the clients. Moreover, VFX studios can meet the changing demands of clients in a better and quicker way.
What makes communication very crucial?
When the work begins on some kind of series or movie, a lot of heavy lifting is needed with all the technical and artistic elements. From editors and colorists to compositors and modelers lighting artists and animators, they need to connect and communicate with all the artists involved in the process. They must have a strong understanding of how it will play out, and what everyone is working on. They must also be able to give all the required creative guidelines to the director, storyboard artists, and production team.
When there is an independent creative environment, communication can prove to be a challenging task. Every team member needs to be well aware of the other person’s work and goals if a strong collaboration needs to be established. The key goal of the VFX pipeline is to have a solid plan and how you can execute your tasks while reducing the number of unknowns.
People can see the bigger picture once the communication is streamlined, the supervisor can easily communicate with the other departments such as CG, special effects, and live-action once the supervisor has all the ideas about the path from the beginning to the final output of the given film. This is where a win-win collaboration can be established and it is sure to keep the ball rolling.
Staying organized is important
The company needs to work closely together, and being organized is one of the key ways to handle all the necessary tasks, especially when it is about working on a major or complicated project. If there is any communication breakdown, it can be very costly and cause delays in the completion of a project. As a studio, there can be plenty of clients to handle, there can be lots of revisions to meet a deadline, and there can be a production schedule that needs to be followed.
You need to have the right systems and tools in place, the right systems are not too challenging to get, it’s more about you should not be tracking all the things time and time again, and all the work needs to keep going smoothly. Backtracking can be one of the biggest reasons behind teams being able to complete only four or five VFX in a project, such output can be called inefficient.
The VFX artists must be aware of the tools and how they are going to utilize them in the pipeline, and the VFX supervisor needs to be aware of workflow tools, software solutions, and processes that are established in the VFX pipeline.