Special Effects When you see a commercial, and animals are talking to each other and having human expressions you think, "How did they do that"? The answer is special effects. When you look at commercials, movies, cartoons, all of them have some sort of special effect. With the technology becoming better we begin to see more and different types of special effects. As with the movie Toy Story, being created all by computer, it was the first of its kind. As the times and movies progressed we have seen the increased usage of special effects and the steady improvement of the quality of the special effects. If we did not use Special Effects the revolution of movies would be really slow and boring and movies would be really basic.

With Special Effects in movies we can create endless possibilities and bring dreams, illusions, and fantasies to life. Using special effects, we have brought dinosaurs, aliens, and other monsters to life. We have destroyed cities, people, and planets with special effects also. With computers we are able to create scene ries we would never think possible. With the help of computers we can create people, buildings, animals, monsters, aliens, and many other creations.

Our creations in the computers can come out to life with a touch of a button. Special Effects are both an art and a science. The "science" part involves the complete understanding of how the audio-visual sensory parts of our body and brain perceive the world around us, while the "art" part involves the strategic use of this information to fool the sensory system. Without knowing what special effects is, it would be hard to understand what is necessary and needed to produce a good movie with special effects. Now there are two basic kinds of effects, computer generated and humanized effects. Computer generated effects consist of the Blue Screen/Matte, Computer Animation, and Composting.

A blue screen / matte is when the foreground and background shots are shot separately and later superimposed one on the other. Certain areas of the foreground have to be transparent for the background detail to show through. (If the foreground detail fills the entire frame, the background detail will not be visible)! For this purpose, the foreground object is usually shot against a plain blue screen. A particular shade of blue called Chroma Blue is used for this purpose.

(Human skin does not contain this shade of blue). The blue area is later erased from the frame making the area transparent. The background detail can now show through this blank. Computer animation is when the animation director, who is in charge of most of the creative work comes up with the idea, designs the scene, and like a film director, "directs" the action, and the expressions and appearance of the characters. A storyboard artist breaks the script down into a comic-strip sequence so that the animator can follow each "shot," like a rough map of the action. Animators then draw the characters, or other moving objects, and assistant animators clean up the drawings and do minor work.

Composting is when one shot is super-imposed on another, resulting in a composite shot. A common example is our everyday weather forecast on TV. The weather map is a separate computer generated shot onto which the announcer is super-imposed, making it look as if he / she is standing in front of a giant TV screen flashing different weather images. Humanized effects consist of latex, the use of rain, wind, snow, and fire, blood bags and bullet hits and the use of explosions. The use of latex has revolutionized the world of creating "real" monsters out of humans. Not only can we get monsters out of latex, but also we can add scars to faces, add extra eyes to a monster, make young people old and vice versa...

The uses of latex are innumerable; you can create aliens, or even put latex covering robotics to make them just like dinosaurs. One of the best things about latex is that with it you can custom design any kind of mask, defect on the body, and face defects. Many movies have settings where it is raining; do you think they wait till the day when it rains to record? What if they are filming in a city like El Paso, Texas, where is like a holiday, it only comes once a year. Special Effects come into effect.

The production crews sets up long plastic tubes with tiny holes in the bottom, attached to a water hose in the top of the setting. What do you get out of this? RAIN! With Special Effects you can make rain possible in any setting even in cities where it only rains once a year. Christmas movies are the most popular at having snow in their settings, but what if it is not snowing on the day of the shoot and the day will be ruined if you do not have snow on the set. What do you do? Get a snow machine to make it for you, if the snow cannot come to you; make it come to you with this device.

Shooting a part of the movie where it involves high winds? Movie makers use the same technique as the one for the snow; they get hold of large fans and turn them on at high speeds, or the desired wind, and let them take their tolls on the setting. Movies that contain big fire scenes do not actually go out into the set and actually turn out massive fires. Independent companies are called to create job, and they do so with machines that very easily turn on a massive fire scene, but can also be turned off in a matter of pressing a button. These machines can be really dangerous without supervised use, but with normal use they can be extremely safe. Have you always wondered what exactly in the fight scene when some gets shot cut whatever and begins to bleed? Well, a squib, which is a small explosive charge triggered by a 9 V battery is taped to the plate and a blood pack placed over the charge and secured in place with gaffer tape. Blood packs can be anything that can be filled and sealed.

Placing the blood pack over the charge reduces the flash given off by the squib detonating. The rigged plate is taped or strapped to the actor and concealed under clothing. White clothes show the effect off best and should be pre-scored with a knife to weaken the fabric. Ideally the squib should blow through the shirt and it helps here if the shirt is tucked in. Before firing everyone stays well clear of the charges, the actor avoids looking down at his chest, and the camera is at a safe distance away.

A simple countdown helps the actor be aware of when to expect the hit. An explosion can be triggered by Pyrotechnic machines that can either put out a beautiful fireworks show, lightning for a grand opening of a store, explosions in movies, and mainly anything else that involves fire and colorful lights. These machines are relatively safe to handle, they can set off an "explosion" and in a matter of minutes be put out with the touch of a button. Some explosions like the ones that occur in the movies that blow up buildings are also related to the pyrotechnic machines. With so many different uses and techniques for special effects, it's not hard to see why they are so popular today. Many directors have mastered the techniques used for special effects and in doing that most of the movies today are filled with special effects in order to draw us in and it has worked.

Society has fallen into the fictionist world of the creators of the Special Effects in the movies we watch. Those people create illusions that we fall for in an instance; they make it look so real we are hypnotized into a world of illusion. People jump from car to car while on the freeway going one hundred miles per hour, but try this at home and it's a promise that you will get hurt. Dogs talk to humans; even though we know that it is not real we still fall into the world that the creators have created for us. The dogs have the jaw movements that make it hard to believe that it is not real.

Some action movies have people that jump off ropes that are fifty feet into the air, but try one of these stunts and you will end up in the hospital. Special Effects are so realistic that sometimes they turn against society. Society tries out scenes from movies that might hurt some people; some even get ideas from special effects in the movies of how to hurt their next victim. In the movie "Money Train" their was a scene with Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes when then throw a fire bomb into a booth in the train station, and it kills the man inside. Two weeks after the movie came out, the same thing happen in a subway station in New York where one person was killed. In the city of Oklahoma there was an instance when a teen strapped him to a pole stuck to the ground and waited for the tornado that was coming to pass right over him.

This teen was trying to catch a glimpse at the center of a Tornado like in the movie "Twister", but like said before, Special Effects are not real, and this teen's life was taken by the tornado. While Special Effects are the main driver to get us to watch movies, the outcome we get after watching the movies is up to us. Whether we go out after a movie and try and light a house on fire and then turn it off like in the movies is up to us, if we hurt somebody because of the special moves on the movie we just watched is up to us. It is up to us how we perceive Special Effects. Society has grown around Special Effects in movies..