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The Best VFX Software used in Movies: The Preferred and Powerful

VFX softwares used in Movies, Television, or advertisements has come a long way since the early days of the industry when the use of computers in movie-making was still in its infancy. Nowadays, visual effects are an integral part of film-making, whether the VFX remains invisible or the one where the moviegoers get to see spectacular CGI, digital and practical effects.

As a VFX artist, you are probably looking for the best software that can help you ease your best work and deliver the best output. But, the number of VFX programs used in movies that are available on the internet is quite overwhelming. There are so many applications out there that you might find it challenging to choose the right one. They vary in terms of features and price, and specialization. Here are our picks of the lot and the preferred VFX software used in the industry today based on their broad specialization.

3D or CG

Nowadays, CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) has become an indispensable part of a VFX pipeline. The role of 3D in VFX has grown over the years, as the advancement in computer technologies has progressed exponentially. Whether you need advanced cinematic visual effects or want to enhance the look of the shots, some form of 3D does come into play most of the time. Some of the 3D packages which play a central role in this department are

VFX software used in movies

Autodesk Maya

Maya by Autodesk is an industry standard for a 3D application. It is a versatile software that has improved over the years to become an essential part of the Film production revolution and a preferred software for a 3D artist. Maya can do everything in 3D, starting right from asset creation (3D Modeling, Texturing, Rigging) to 3D animation & lighting to creating particle simulation effects. Moreover, The user interface is very intuitive, and it is easy to learn the software. Also, it has its scripting language (MEL), which makes it even more powerful.

SideFX Houdini

Houdini’s exclusive attention to procedural generation distinguishes it from other 3D applications. It’s a special effects software primarily used in the visual effects industry to create incredibly complex and natural-looking effects in film. Houdini allows users to construct highly complex geometric or organic objects in comparatively very few steps compared to other packages because of its Node Based workflow at its core. Many studios that use Houdini on large feature films develop libraries of procedures that can be used to automate the generation of many of the elements with almost no artist interaction. 

Notable Mentions of other 3D softwares:

Cinema 4D and Blender are equally effective 3D software packages that are used extensively in the visual effects industry and can do everything that Maya and Houdini do. 

Also, there are some specialization tools without which a VFX workflow is incomplete. There are vastly used in Post Production to enhance the 3D elements or fill in a gap to make the final output of Visual effects shots more realistic. They are

ZbrushModo are Digital Sculpting tools and used more like a 3D Modeling Software

Substance PainterMari for Texturing

RealflowStormKrakatoa for Particle Simulation Effects

Adobe Photoshop for Matte Painting

3D Matchmove

Matchmoving is a technique used to track the movement of a live-action camera through a shot so that an identical 3D virtual camera move can be reproduced. It helps to insert 3D elements into live-action footage and see those objects have the correct position, scale, orientation, and motion relative to other things in the shot. And when they are composited in the original live-action shot, they look natural and seamless. Some of the Matchmoving softwares that are used in today’s VFX workflow are 

3D Tracking and Matchmove

3D Equalizer

3DEqualizer is the world’s leading 3D tracking solution. Most of the world’s best VFX studios today use 3DEqualizer to deliver consistent results on significant projects. It is much deeper than a One-button solution. It includes a range of proprietary technology from 3D calculation cores, real-time image decompression/manipulation, and 2D tracking engines to offer the level of control that high­end visual effects demand.

PF Track

Tracking professionals consider PFTrack as one of the most innovative products in the VFX industry. It’s built on solid camera tracking and image analysis and added exclusive technologies that allow it to offer capabilities beyond other programs in the same market. The tool is so flexible that you can optimize your workflows for any situation, whether complex geometry builds, detailed per-pixel depth maps, or stereoscopic renders of 3D scenes.

Notable Mentions of other Matchmove Softwares:

Syntheyes is another popular matchmoving package used to get matchmoving data. It provides a high-quality output and sometimes delivers highly accurate results over others.


Compositing is a process in which a visual effects artist combines different elements of different origins into a single output, often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene. It is essentially putting together the pieces of a final image using the Visual Effects software. This is true for 3D compositing as well, where an artist combines all the generated passes to lock on the final look of the shot. The art of compositing has advanced so much that today, the audience is unable to differentiate real from fake. Some of our favorite VFX compositing programs are mentioned below

XMEN - At Shoot

Foundry Nuke

Nuke is node-based compositing software that provides an interface for high-level effects creation. Its popularity in the movie industry is due to its powerful non-linear capabilities. The interface is sleek and customizable, allowing you to create your custom workspace. Nuke comes with various tools for compositing, color correction, match moving, rotoscoping, and much more. Over the years, it has improved and enhanced even to include 3D and editing capabilities.

Adobe After Effects

After Effects is a top-rated Visual Effects & Compositing software used by VFX, 3D, and motion graphics artists. It provides the feature set used for creating everything from simple title sequences to full VFX compositing. After Effects has evolved from being a program for VFX professionals in television and Film Post-Production to an important tool for anyone doing video and film work, big or small. The main advantage over the other Visual Effects application is that it can be easily mastered, and a lot of content can be found online to learn from. 

Notable Mentions of other Compositing software:

Blackmagic Fusion is another excellent node-based compositing software and visual effects application.

Silhouette & Mocha are some of the VFX tools that are indispensable parts of a VFX workflow. They greatly assist in all kinds of Roto and Prep work which are later used for compositing.


The variety of applications mentioned above are the best VFX programs used in movies, television, and commercial currently and forms an integral part of today’s VFX pipeline. When making the final decision, consider the final goal that you are going after for the project, the quality of the output that will be sufficient, the software’s compatibility with other tools in the production pipeline, its feature set and capabilities.

Most of the vfx applications used in movies comes with a steep learning curve. As a filmmaker, you’d need to invest a lot of time to master the software to save money. That’s why hiring an experienced team can be a helpful alternative. But before you do that, you should do your research and always ask for references. FXiation Digitals happens to be one such team, and you can check out our portfolio here. We know the software and can provide you services tailored to your needs at a price that won’t break the bank.

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