Can you imagine a world where no stories are told, ever? Nothing except the plain, dull reality you see every day. Wouldn’t that be a world too unnatural to perceive? As humans, stories are a unique blessing only our species can have. We grow up with stories from generations behind us, and knowingly or unknowingly, we are instilled with the power to tell or enjoy stories. Cinema is one of the most popular ways to visualize stories.
Now, visual effects in movies make it possible to replicate more than just reality in movies. Today, visual media has become the prime way for humans to share stories. And the Indian market has lapped up the opportunity. VFX in Indian cinema was brought forth in an attempt to enliven the art of telling stories through a screen even more.
How is the VFX film making technique taking Indian cinema forward, though? Let’s find out.
What is VFX in Movie Making?
VFX is an abbreviation for visual effects. It can also be shortened to visual FX. The use of visual effects in movies and television has grown exponentially over the last few decades. Visual effects allow filmmakers to create environments, objects, creatures, and even people that would be impractical or impossible to film in a live-action shot.
The film’s visual effects frequently combine live-action footage with computer-generated imagery. In recent years, the visual effects industry has grown rapidly, with the market revenue growing at a CAGR of 12.12% from 2022-2030.
While many people consider visual effects in movies to be a type of special effects, there is a significant difference between VFX and traditional special effects (SFX), because visual effects necessitate the use of a computer and are added after the shooting is finished. VFX can make use of rotoscoping, which involves cutting out on-screen elements frame by frame and hiding or moving them elsewhere. This method is far more efficient and time-efficient than drawing images by hand. Special effects, or SFX, are created on set and include things like purposeful and controlled explosions, fake gunshot wounds, and so on.
Most movies use both visual and special effects at the same time. The visual effects team in Disney’s 2019 adaptation of Dumbo first created photorealistic 3D clay models of Dumbo, the elephant. These physical models were then digitally scanned and rendered for animation on a computer. To ensure that the visual effects scaling were correct, they used life-size physical models of Dumbo for the actors to sit on and interact with.
What are VFX Techniques?
While we are talking about VFX film making techniques, you might be wondering, “What VFX software is used in movies?”
VFX artists create imagery from scratch using computers. Therefore, they use software such as the Maya 3D modeling and rendering package, Adobe Photoshop, or After Effects 3D animation program. There are numerous aspects to VFX film making techniques. However, most of them can be classified into three main categories:
CGI: Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is a type of visual effects in movies. It only uses computers to generate images, whereas other types use them to enhance or combine live-action footage. These images can be 2D or 3D. A 3D representation of an image, on the other hand, helps you achieve the best visual impact.
Compositing: Compositing is a VFX film making technique. In this, visual elements from various sources are combined to create a single image. The single image gives the impression that all of the visual elements are from the same scene.
Stop Motion: Stop motion animation is a type of visual effects in movies that has a certain allure. From old classics like King Kong to 2015’s Oscar-nominated Anomalisa – Stop motion has the power to expose fully posable models one frame at a time. It comes with a certain texture that CGI can never replicate. To create the illusion of motion, figures such as dolls, toy vehicles, clay, or just about any raw material a filmmaker may wish to animate are painstakingly filmed in dozens of poses per second of film.
Each of these occurs either after principal photography or concurrently in a dedicated and controlled studio.
How Does VFX Play An Important Role In Movies?
VFX in Indian Cinema is basically an instrument of advanced storytelling. Each medium of storytelling has its own place. And good stories are tailored to each medium. To condense a novel into three hours of screen time, specific writing skills are required. It also implies that writer descriptions that would otherwise form images in the minds of readers must now be generated in photographic reality for the movie viewer.
Filmmakers now have the power to reinvent the cinematic visual experience thanks to advances in VFX movies. It’s also worth noting that the role of visual effects and animation has expanded beyond commercial films. They are slowly but steadily becoming a part of leading and emerging brands’ business strategies.
Communication with one’s target audience is critical in advertising and marketing. Most of us are visual learners. This is why showing animated branding videos to them when they visit your website or are exposed to unique branded content helps develop a strong and deep connection with them. It is because visually appealing content attracts more audiences and aids in the development of a stronger brand connection. The advanced VFX film making technique, which has become quite the norm, is used in 9 out of 10 Hollywood films. The purpose of visual effects in movies is not only limited to science and fiction or fantasy movies, but it can be very well used in other departments of life.
Place Of Bollywood In Using VFX
These are a few of the best Indian movies with amazing visual effects, computer graphics, and special effects. However, Indian films may have lagged behind in terms of global CGI and VFX. Many well-known Hollywood film production houses have chosen Indian companies for their work in VFX movies. But Bollywood, in particular, has yet to fully capitalize on the Indian VFX industry.
For years, Bollywood has dabbled in visual effects. In fact, special effects were used in India’s first film, ‘Raja Harishchandra,’ which was released 100 years ago. Films such as ‘Krrish,’ ‘Ra.One,’ and ‘Shivaay’ have even received the National Award for special effects. Furthermore, we’ve had masterpieces such as ‘RRR,’ ‘Baahubali,’ ‘2.0,’ and many others that boasted world-class use of VFX and CGI technology.
While Hollywood has made extensive use of Indian VFX experts, Bollywood and the Indian film industry as a whole have yet to embrace the concept. VFX in Indian cinema was used in many of the recent Bollywood films like Zero, Krrish, etc. However, apart from Baahubali, Robot/Enthiran, and the Dhoom and Krrish series, as well as a few regional language films, Indian filmmakers have shown no interest in incorporating VFX into their projects.
Brahmastra Vs. Adipurush: The Ultimate VFX Battle
With Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, and Amitabh Bachchan in the lead roles, Brahmastra only needed its world-class visual effects to become one of the best VFX movies ever made. Namit Malhotra, the founder of Prime Focus Limited and the chairman and global CEO of the seven-time Oscar-winning company DNEG, is credited with the majority of the visual effects used on Brahmastra. Brahmastra Part 1: Shiva has over 4500 VFX shots, compared to Avengers: End Game’s 2,400 – perhaps the most ever for an international film.
The filmmakers of Brahmastra enlisted the services of Prime Focus Group. The company has worked on critically and technically acclaimed films such as ‘Avatar’ and ‘Gravity.’ Prime Focus teams were also tasked with cloning and mastering digital assets for both standard and IMAX 3D screens.
Brahmastra was also provided with on-set camera equipment and cutting-edge sound stages. Pritam’s Jam8, a music and sound design studio contributed sound effects and scores to Brahmastra.
Meanwhile, as soon as Prabhas starrer Adipurush’s first teaser was out, the much-anticipated film received mixed reactions. While many people praised the chemistry between the lead pairs, Prabhas and Kriti Sanon, many were perplexed by the cartoon-like VFX used in the high-budget movie. Twitter became a meme-fest, with users pointing out parallels between Marvel’s Avengers, Game of Thrones, and Brahmastra.
Here’s a video for you to understand the ongoing VFX feud between Brahamastra and Adipurush.
Many of you do not know that Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer Chennai Express was shot entirely indoors in a virtual environment. All of the outdoor shots were created using VFX technology. All scenes, whether Shahrukh jumping out of a moving train or standing with a burning shop behind him, were created with the help of the visual effects team.
SS Rajamouli has always been a visionary filmmaker. He is known for coming up with something unique and unexpected in all his films. His films always manage to entertain and hold the audience’s attention. The film ‘Magadheera’ should be included among India’s top ten VFX movies. It has stunning cinematography and visual effects. It is a fantasy-revenge-drama that is regarded as one of the top regional films that made it big.
The Baahubali Series
Who hasn’t heard of Baahubali? When it comes to VFX in Indian cinema, both films in the series are top-notch. They were big-budget films starring Prabhas, but the real hero was the VFX. It was used for almost every shot and showed. From the baby being kept above water in the opening sequence to the bullfight, from the first appearance of each character to the final battle – the two epic fantasy action films were incredible. The visual effects used are so extensive that 15 different VFX companies were hired for the films. Indeed, the Baahubali series has given two of the best VFX movies ever made.
‘Fan,’ starring Shahrukh Khan, got a lot of hype before its release. However, its weak screenplay made it less appealing. Despite the film’s box office failure, the movie’s dedicated VFX team did incredible work on the screen, making ‘Fan’ one of the best CGI movies in India.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
This film, based on the life of the Flying Sikh, Milkha Singh, owes a lot to its special effects artists. Over 150 shots of VFX covering the Commonwealth Games and events in Tokyo and Rome were delivered by a team of over fifty artists. The team created a black and white CGI of crowds in the stadium and Milkha Singh receiving the award. Tata Elxsi’s Visual Computing Labs were at the helm of this project.
So this was our guide to VFX in Indian cinema. It is evident after films like Brahmastra that India has plenty of VFX houses to give any international studio a run for its money. In fact, a lot of international VFX studios are opening their branches now in major Indian cities. Time will tell whether, in the near future, Bollywood can make movies with VFX stunning enough to outperform the visual effects in the movies of Hollywood.