How Hollywood makes High Quality Block Buster VFX Movies so Fast? – Part 3

In this chapter of the Hollywood VFX Movie effects behind the scenes series, learn how the CGI 3D Models / Assets library and Stock Footages are seamlessly blended in the Post Production pipeline.


movie effects

Learn how to make Hollywood movie effects (VFX and post production):

Part 1: 3D Scanner and Digitizers

Part 2: 3D Camera Projection and Motion Capture (MoCap)

Part 4: Animatronics and Prosthetics

4) CGI 3D Models and Assets Library:

3D models and assets library is one of the best practices of various visual effects studios production pipeline. This CGI library creation is continuous process which gets growing with each project. It contains various kinds of props like vehicles, weapons, machinery, gadgets and other background elements.

There are two ways to create assets library:

  1. Creating all assets in-house:
    Modelling, Texturing and Shading team builds a huge collection as per requirement. The ‘Master File’ is saved in the main server. Different departments can access it to tweak and reuse in various series / movie / commercial to speed up the production work. The final file is saved for future use.
  2. Buying from third party companies:
    There are several websites who buys and sells professional 3D models. The post production studio can buy required assets from such sites if the deadline is too short. It comes with all technical details like texture maps, shaders, materials and associated art works. Once bought, the studio can reuse the model.

    Some of the major 3D models buy/sell websites are listed below.
    Highend3D / CreativeCrush

Sounds funny, but all leading Hollywood studios have ready made 3D cities in their assets library. All the major cities of USA and other countries are made replica version with exact real life city details and proper scaling. It helps to enhance the quality of movie effects. Very advanced technologies like LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) and Photogrammetry are used for utmost accuracy. You name it, they have it.

You just demand which city / famous monument to destruct and they will do it just with smile!!!

  • The movies in which ‘Statue of Liberty’ is destroyed are: The day after tomorrow, Deep Impact, Cloverfield, Independence Day, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, X-Men, Batman Forever, Judge Dredd and many more
  • The movies in which ‘White House’ is destroyed are: White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen, Independence Day, Mars Attacks!, 2012, X2: X-Men United, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and many more
  • The movies in which ‘New York City’ is destroyed are: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Deep Impact, Watchmen, Armageddon, Godzilla, Knowing, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Escape from New York, I am Legend and many more
  • The movies in which ‘Los Angeles’ is destroyed are: 2012, Sharknado, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Skyline, War of The Worlds, Battle Los Angeles, Volcano, The Core and many more


lidar new york city 3d

white house 3D model

cg digital chopper

5) Stock Footages:

Stock footages are ‘Compositors Playground’.

Following is comprehensive list of VFX stock footage /element list:

  • Blast, car blast, car bomb
  • Explosion, explosition at cam, ground explosition
  • Debris, rock debris, wood debris, dust at cam, dust wave, ember, dirt
  • Smoke, smoke fumes, smoke charge, wisp
  • Fog, particle stream, foam, vapor
  • Glass breaking, glass holes, falling glass, glass hit, glass smash
  • Gun fire, muzzle flash, spark, spark hitz, charge, lens flares
  • Bullet hits, bullet holes, bullet shells, metal hole
  • Fire, ground fire, fireball, fire at cam, firecracker
  • Blood, blood splash, blood splat, blood splatter, blood burst, blood hit
  • Atmosphere, clouds, lightning, forest, ocean, desert, cities, rain
  • Water splash, water blast
  • Snow, snow at cam

Majority of these are not created in 3D softwares if the script don’t demand it specifically. Such effects / FX simulations are very complex and time consuming. So, using 2D plates of stock footages with manual key frame animation is mostly used to complete the shot.

The benefits of using VFX stock footage in post production pipeline are:

  • Great for producers who have low budget but wants high quality movie effects output
  • Saves production time as it is not created in 3D
  • These elements renders fast as these are 2D plates
  • Use of multiple footages with proper alignment and camera animation gives convincing depth
  • One footage can be used multiple times into several projects

The stock footages for visual effects are filmed very technically, either with black background or blue/green chroma screen with flat lighting. So, the background can be easily removed. While shooting, all possible camera angles and variations are covered. It gives full control in the post production process. The client and the compositing artist, both gets variety of options to play around. These elements are seen in every VFX breakdown shot.

Recommended >> Top 7 Sites to Download High Quality VFX Stock Footage

These VFX stock footages are available in Web, SD, HD, 2K, 4K and 5K resolutions. Some footages are also pre-keyed. Various FPS (Frames Per Second) are also provided. To fit in post production pipeline completely, some of the videos also come with alpha matte and R3D Raw file format. Most of the videos are in uncompressed QuickTime (.mov) format. Apart from paid clips, some sites also provide royalty free stock footages.

stock footage action essentials 2

hitfilm stock footage

free chroma green screen plate download


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