The fact that the highest engrossing movies in our present times are Visual Effects Industry featured movies leaves no room for doubt about the remarkable progress the Visual Effects Industry has experienced in the last few years.

Because of this and other factors, industry experts seem to have good reason to predict more future success for the industry.

According to expert opinion, it is best to acquire an overview of the-state of-the-art in the last two decades, at least in terms of challenges and technological advances, if one wishes to foresee where the industry is headed.

The Exponential Evolution of Visual Effects Industry

Three major facts characterize the current stage of development of Visual Effects Industry:

  • The exponential increase in the production of heavy Visual Effects Industry featured movies. A glimpse at the latest ranking of the 50 highest-grossing films worldwide of all time would be a telling pointer: Avengers: Endgame (2019), Avatar (2009), Black Panther (2018), and Captain Marvel (2019).
  • The rise in the demand for TV series and streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Disney+. Netflix alone released almost 1,500 hours of original content in 2018, comprised of more than 850 titles streamed exclusively on the platform, according to Quartz.
  • The unprecedented FX developments, which have radically redefined the cinematic experience in the last two decades. Such tools allow the filmmakers nowadays to create beyond any bounds.
    • At this stage, it is only logical that such a shift has produced new challenges to which field experts have had to respond.

Present Challenges

It is known that with any given evolutionary path comes challenge and with challenge comes further change. That being said, the challenges FX artists nowadays rumble about are essentially a direct result of the increasing reliance of filmmakers on Visual Effects Industry.

In short, this has to do with getting the job done in a shorter time-frame, with lower cost, and with no lesser quality.

The good news is that the continuous development of technology including the emergence of the open-source model and AI has made it relatively easier and more satisfying for FX artists to meet the new standard demands.

Open Source & Other budding trends in the world of visual effects

Open-source has become the new trend among professionals nowadays enabling the sharing of data; hence, the acceleration of new data production and software development.

AI and machine learning are also the new venues of any player in any field. AI tools enable the automation of parts of the process, allowing not only the reduction of cost and time spent on the task but also the increase in accuracy and processing of higher volumes of data.

Virtual production and real-time technologies seem to be the new directions of the Visual Effects Industry. While virtual production technologies present new creative and economic conveniences, real-time technologies allow the reduction of long and costly render times that CG shots require. Indeed, real-time technologies have the potential to shift the FX process to preproduction and production.

VR/AR (virtual and augmented reality) technologies present great potential and a promising venue for Visual Effects Industry. To quote Ron Frankel, Founder and Creative Director at Proof Inc, “The most prevalent is with on-set visualization, which is just a variation of AR geared specifically for cameras using professional film lenses. We’re also seeing applications of VR for film production with virtual set walk-throughs, and using game engines for real-time shot design.”

The continuous development of technology and their incorporation into the field of visual effects will indubitably yield extraordinary results in the near future. With new inventions such as the ones advanced by Elon Musk's Neuralink, some have even begun talking about experiencing media through direct neural inputs and providing interactive neural feedback at the same time.

One sure thing is that the Visual Effects Industry has reached a major milestone and everything points out to its incremental relevance.

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