SFX vs VFX vs CGI 🙄

SFX vs VFX vs CGI 🙄

Other than programming, my main obsession is Movies. I am a big fan of movies and I watching a lot too. Like 2 movies a day 🙃. When you hear the word movies, I am sure these movies pop up in your head.

  • Dune
  • Avengers
  • Jurassic Park
  • Avatar
  • Titanic

You must have watched atleast one of the above movies and if you did’nt.

Today we are not going to review 50 year old movies, but we are going to re view the 50 year old movies. You get it ?

So, today we are going to see what is SFX, VFX and CGI. What are their differences and in which movies where they used. So let’s dive right in !


Louis Le Prince’s Roundhay Garden Scene, this film(2sec long) is considered as the first film ever. It released in 1888. This means movies are here before 200 years 🤯. From then onwards they have been evolving and changing a lot. At first movies were just all about shooting the film, combining them and releasing them. Imagine a world with no visual effects !

Well, that did not last very long

SFX ( special effects )

The execution of Mary, queen of scots. This film was the first to feature an SFX shot. This released in 1895. That was long back 😶. Well what are these special effects ? These effects are basically camera illusions. Like if put your finger close to the camera and someone far way in the right place. He will appear small sitting on finger. And then you snap him away. Well this was easy to do.


Another side of special effects is movable figures. Using stop motion we could basically create some creature appear to be moving. Such things are supposed to be special effects. I know this is difficult to understand but this is the first era of films using effects. Actually, this is not the end. Their is another type of special effects called miniatures. This means to use tiny things of what they want in the film and placing it in the perfect spot in front of the camera. This will make it look bigger.


Some famous examples of special effects in movies are the first Godzilla and king kong movies. Those which came in 1900s. In those movies Godzilla was actually a person with a costume ! The city below is miniature. Those were far less convincing. The space odyssey is another notable film that features use of special effects. Christopher Nolan is known to use special effects in his movies. Like in, INTERSTELLAR a certain explosion scene was made in real life but with miniature buildings. That looked spectacular and real. But things have changed with evolution of VFX

VFX ( visual effects )

In 1902, A trip to the Moon became the first ever movie to use visual effects. But what is this visual effects ? Visual effects are scenes that are half real. Like maybe the people you see are all real but the background and setting is digitally made. This took movies really far. This made famous movies like Jurassic park possible. In that movie the humans, the destruction and a lot was really made. But the dinosaurs and a few other features were made using VFX. That movie had over 2000 visual effect shots and that is not the limit. I found out that Indian movies have a lot of VFX shots. For comparison, avengers endgame has 2500+ VFX shots. But these movies are a cut above:

  • Syee raa narasimha reddy – 3700+ vfx shots
  • Adhipursh – 4000+ vfx shots
  • Ayalaan – 4500+ vfx shots

But, sometimes the VFX of INDIAN movies could go really wrong. Like look at this really unrealistic shot from ADHIPURSH (2023)


Adhipursh VFX ☝ 😭😭😭

Not so fun FACT: I watched adhipursh movie for this post 😭 & it is horrible

Making VFX real-looking is a really complicated job for both the VFX artists and the director. There are lot of movies that were badly criticized for having bad VFX in their movies. Like catwoman, the scorpion king, the incredible hulk, Black widow and a lot more !

The scorpion king

But there were certain things like mystical creatures in mystical world with no humans involved. Would you use costumes ? That would be really bad and money consuming. Like, the standard human costumes cost is $20000. If you want more personalized costumes for everyone, that would cost millions. So, people invented CGI which stands for computer generated imagery.


Westworld is a movie released in 1973. Warner bros produced this masterpiece. This was the first movie to have convincing CGI. But, what the heck is CGI ? Well, CGI is completely artificial animation that looks real ( most of the times 😅). Westworld is a futuristic theme park where paying guests can pretend to be gunslingers in an artificial Wild West populated by androids. Instead of pouring money into Special effects and VFX. They introduced CGI. The CGI of westworld lasted only for 2 minutes. The CGI was nothing but different images animated. Modern days CGI is different. The westworld movie made 2880 images for just 2 minutes of CGI. If still don’t get it. CGI is simply frame by frame drawing which are enhanced with shadows and lighting to make it look real.


Rememeber I said CGI changed now ? Yeah, now we use 3d software to do the job. So, CGI is just simple. But some movies have managed to make the most worst CGI moments like The lawn mover man. The lawn definitely deserves an image in this post. The last battle scene from hulk is also pretty crappy.

The lawnmover man

However some movies have done a really good job in use CGI like DUNE which has absolutely insane visuals. Even though iron man looked a little cartoonish, I liked the CGI of Avengers: Endgame. I would be doomed if I didn’t mention AVATAR in this post, They have done a great job !


Guys hope you liked this post, this is actually the first post about movies. I decided to write a lot more about movies in Medium. So be sure to be following my Medium Profile ( or 50 reactions I will continue to post inside DEV.TO) This was also my longest post so far. This post also took most time to research so far. Every comment, reaction or anything else would be very encouraging. Finally I wanna Shout out to:


Thanks to @dino2328 for helping out in making this post possible. If you want to talk to me or anything. Here is my discord username: mince_60864

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