The Evolution of Human Beings in VFX: From Practical Effects to CGI and Beyond


Apr 17, 2023
The Evolution of Human Beings in VFX: From Practical Effects

Human beings have always been fascinated by the art of storytelling. From the earliest cave paintings to the latest blockbuster movies, the ability to tell a story in a compelling way has been an essential part of our culture. One of the key elements of storytelling is the ability to create believable characters that the audience can relate to. In the world of film and television, visual effects (VFX) have played a critical role in bringing these characters to life.

The Early Days of Practical Effects

Before the advent of digital technology, filmmakers had to rely on practical effects to bring their characters to life. In the early days of cinema, this often meant using makeup and prosthetics to create the illusion of a character. One of the most famous examples of this is Lon Chaney Sr.'s portrayal of the Phantom of the Opera in the 1925 film of the same name. Chaney's makeup was so realistic that it took audiences by surprise and helped to establish him as one of the greatest actors of his time.

The Rise of Animatronics

As technology advanced, filmmakers began to experiment with animatronics, which allowed them to create more lifelike characters. One of the most famous examples of this is the Xenomorph in Ridley Scott's 1979 film Alien. The Xenomorph was brought to life using a combination of practical effects and puppetry, which gave the character a sense of weight and physicality that had never been seen before.

The Birth of CGI

In the early 1990s, a new technology emerged that would change the face of VFX forever: computer-generated imagery (CGI). The first film to use extensive CGI was Steven Spielberg's 1993 hit Jurassic Park. The film's groundbreaking use of CGI to bring dinosaurs to life was a game-changer for the industry, and it quickly became clear that CGI was the future of VFX.

The Advancement of Motion Capture

In the years that followed, motion capture technology emerged as a new way to capture the movements of actors and turn them into digital characters. The first film to use extensive motion capture was Peter Jackson's 2005 film King Kong. In the film, actor Andy Serkis wore a motion capture suit to bring the giant ape to life, and the result was a character that was both lifelike and emotionally engaging.

The Future of VFX

Today, VFX technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. One of the most exciting developments in recent years has been the use of deep learning algorithms to create lifelike digital characters. These algorithms analyze vast amounts of data to create characters that are indistinguishable from real actors. As this technology continues to improve, it's likely that we'll see even more impressive digital characters in the years to come.


The evolution of human beings in VFX has been a remarkable journey, from the early days of practical effects to the latest advancements in deep learning algorithms. Throughout this journey, filmmakers have used technology to create characters that are not only believable but also emotionally engaging.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What is VFX technology?

A: VFX stands for visual effects, which refers to the use of digital technology to create special effects in film and television.

Q: What is motion capture technology?

A: Motion capture technology involves capturing the movements of actors or objects using sensors and turning them into digital data that can be used to create lifelike digital characters.

Q: How has CGI technology impacted the film industry?

A: CGI technology has revolutionized the film industry by allowing filmmakers to create digital characters and environments that were previously impossible to achieve with practical effects.

Q: What is the difference between practical effects and CGI?

A: Practical effects involve using physical objects and makeup to create special effects, while CGI involves creating digital effects using computer-generated imagery.

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