What is a special effect?

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The special effects also called faking are Images created only from a computer, without any photographic source.

These techniques are used in the field of cinema to simulate objects, characters or phenomena that do not exist or cannot be filmed at the time of filming. These effects are used to create the illusion of certain actions and can be used during filming, after filming or by combining the two. Generally speaking, filmmakers use special effects in particular to reproduce an atmosphere such as rain or snowfall, to make the viewer believe a “reality” based on imaginary elements and to preserve the actors and the environment in scenes of explosions, violence, etc…

Special effects are used in particular in fantasy, science fiction and disaster films and they must be as close as possible to reality.

The types of special effects by MJM

Mechanical special effects: or tricks are effects that are not digital, systems used during the shooting that require mechanized props, models of landscapes and scenery or even pyrotechnics.

Digital special effects: digital special effects are effects produced using computer programs, computer-generated images or 3D animations. This type of effect is recent as it only appeared in the 1980s. It is from this period that new productions emerged, such as films that mix computer-generated images and filmed images.

Techniques used by MJM


It is used for “image distortions”, to make an actor gradually disappear or transform his face into a computer-generated image for example.


This technique consists in digitizing a 3D object to change its texture.
Colorimetry: this is a set of digital filters that can be applied to the image in order to give it a particular style or atmosphere (black and white, or the accentuation of red, green or blue …).

Inlay on monochrome or chroma key backgrounds

This technique consists in filming the subject in front of a monochrome background, very often green or blue as these colours move away from human colours, then the background can be replaced by any image or video thanks to software.

The inlaying of 2D or 3D objects

This technique allows the cut objects to be integrated into the sequence via software. Such as a gunshot coming out of a cannon (2D image) or a 3D spaceship.

This was a general overview of special effects, their types and their uses, however if you wish to study them further or specialize in this field, we suggest you follow a quality professional training at the MJM school.

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