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Invisible VFX: Now know the examples of VFX that hide in plain sight

The spectacle of VFX has become an essential tool for filmmakers, from the roaring explosions and gunfights of action-packed blockbusters to the creation of entirely new environments, creatures, and characters in movie epics like the Marvel films. VFX allows filmmakers to bring their vision to life in ways that were previously impossible and have become an essential part of the filmmaking process.

But there are more covert examples of VFX that trick the untrained eyes into believing what it sees is part of the scene. This type of invisible VFX is frequently used in movies that seem to have no VFX. Although it requires just as much work and a similar workflow to VFX work that are prominent, these invisible kinds of Visual Effects works are often overlooked. And that’s the goal. For visual effects to really enhance the story and character, they must be seamless, maintaining the narrative’s integrity and visual continuity. Nonetheless, it is still a testament to the impressive Visual Effects magic behind the scenes. 

So what does these invisible VFX work looks like, and where does the need for it arises from

Beauty Work – The highest form of invisible VFX

Beauty work in VFX is, simply put, the technical term for post-production effects used to alter how an actor or actress looks. It’s a hidden craft practiced by artists who make every frame look sublime by working on it for long hours — while remaining invisible. These techniques have been around for more than a decade now.

Beauty work can range from something as simple as taking care of pesky eye bags, zap blemishes, fixing teeth, taming rogue strands of hair, removing double chins or wrinkles, covering up scars, fixing hair color, removing facial hairs, all the way to body transformation like adding muscle definition, slimming down actors, hiding a pregnancy, aging or de-aging the actor based on the need. Earlier, these were done through the process of makeup, which took a long time to get the look right. Everytime! Also, it didn’t manage to achieve the flawlessness that VFX can.

Irishman - Great Examples of VFX for Invisible VFX
Deaging – Robert De Niro from Irishman

Unless it’s a key part of the narrative, as in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” where Brad Pitt ages in reverse, or the flashback in “Ant-Man” where Michael Douglas’s face is aged 30 years, the general audience barely gets a clue about where beauty work is done. Check out the full list and other examples of VFX where De-Aging has been done. In case you are curious, these days there are a lot of actors whose contracts include beauty work. But You won’t get an answer from those who correct A-list flaws as NDAs are common practice in the industry.

Removing unwanted artifacts & elements

As directors work with Visual Effects artists to perfect their shots, they are aware of what they need to maintain the realism of the scene. However, no matter how advanced the technology or how skilled the videographer is, there are elements in shots that end up in the shot due to production limitations or by accident. The most obvious ones are the wires & rigs that support a prop or actors, objects that shouldn’t exist as per the scene’s reality, the crew along with their shadows and reflections, lens flares, smoke, dust, and insects, to name a few. Fixing these distractions are examples of Visual Effects that are very common in feature films, tv shows, and commercials. 

While the more popular side of the VFX industry is that of the movie magic, with artists working to create brand new creatures, worlds, and heroes from scratch, the reality is that the bulk of their workload is in fact removing unwanted elements from a given shot. The artistic process behind these removals is just as complex as any given Visual Effects shot.  It is a process that is essential in the filmmaking process but sadly rarely discussed.

At FXiation Digitals, we’ve been doing artifacts and elements cleanup since we started. This process improves & polishes the visual content extensively and increases its overall value.  

Scene Alterations

Many movies today rely on invisible VFX to create objects, moods, or even entire locations that would otherwise be expensive or difficult. Sometimes locations that don’t seem to stretch the imagination or are actual places that can be shot at are also created using Visual Effects. This is done due to the director’s vision to develop extravagant settings and achieve perfection. Another time it is just done to mold the location to the specific period the story is based. “Zodiac” & “Wolf Of Wall Street” is such examples of VFX. 

Other times Visual Effects are done to overcome the challenges faced due to timing and set location. Shooting at any iconic places or crowded streets is a production nightmare from timing and logistic perspectives. So they are mostly completed with the help of VFX. Most of the Day to Night (or anyother time) Shots, Shots with huge crowds, and placements of contents in screens are also an example of this.

Furthermore, Visual Effects enables to add small aesthetic details to the scenes that push the story forward and match the director’s vision. Some elements include a waving flag in the background, a flock of bird, a completely new mountain range or sky, or simply doing some form of color correction on the elements of the scene.

The rise of invisible VFX, it has enabled the filmmaking process to be more forgiving by allowing production mistakes to be solved in post-production, rather than with a reshoot.

Addressing Censor based objections

Filmmakers, when shooting, has to keep in mind laws and regulation that governs the production process, the legal clauses in actor’s agreements, copyright concerns, brand placements permissions etc. Complicating matters, when filming abroad, countries often dictate that production companies have to adhere to local laws and cultural sensitivities. This often limits the overall creativity during the shooting process.

But VFX allows filmmakers to override these challenges quickly and achieve the vision it is trying to go after. Movies like “Children of Men” & “The Beautiful Mind” have effectively created CGI infants to override the laws governing infants on sets and the limits that come with them. Another example is nudity. Visual Effects play a significant role in making the scenes believable on screen, as most of the actors aren’t comfortable going fully naked in front of the camera. 

Another common use of VFX is the removal of unauthorized brand placements. This is especially common in sports films, where brands must approve the use of their logos and names. Also, in specific countries where certain products that are not authorized to be sold can be altered or removed completely. This is something we at FXiation Digitals work on from time to time.


What you see in a film is not always easy to achieve. Given the size limitations in terms of time and money and the general complexity of filmmaking, quite often, what you see on screen is the result of a lot of effort, both on set and in post. The end result is a combination of elements you get to see and elements that aren’t so obvious.  In fact, many of the elements that you don’t see are there to take care of problems that were inherent in the original shoot. Some examples of these solution-based elements are CG vehicles, crowd replication, backgrounds, and characters.

For those aspiring to master the art of Invisible VFX, there are invaluable resources, workshops, and courses designed to hone your skills. Learning from the experiences and insights of industry veterans can provide a solid foundation for your journey in this magical field

So the next time you walk into a theater to see a movie, think of how much work went into making that scene a reality, no matter how insignificant it might look. There might easily be a chance that some VFX artists have worked in a specific capacity to make it look believable. At FXiation Digitals, we love working on such kinds of VFX, which are generally invisible to the audience.

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