Visual effects (commonly shortened to Visual FX or VFX) are the various processes by which imagery is created and/or manipulated outside the context of a live action shot. Visual effects involve the integration of live-action footage and generated imagery to create environments which look realistic, but would be dangerous, expensive, impractical, or simply impossible to capture on film. Visual effects using computer generated imagery has recently become accessible to the independent filmmaker with the introduction of affordable and user friendly animation and compositing software.
Visual effects are often integral to a movie's story and appeal. Although most visual effects work is completed during post-production, it usually must be carefully planned and choreographed in pre-production and production. Visual effects primarily executed in Post-Production, with the use of multiple tools and technologies such as graphic design, modeling, animation and similar software, while special effects are made on set, such as explosions, car chases and so on. A visual effects supervisor is usually involved with the production from an early stage to work closely with production and the film's director design, guide and lead the teams required to achieve the desired effects.
Digital effects (commonly shortened to digital FX or FX) are the various processes by which imagery is created and/or manipulated with or from photographic assets. Digital effects often involve the integration of still photography and computer generated imagery (CGI) in order to create environments which look realistic, but would be dangerous, costly, or simply impossible to capture in camera. FX is usually associated with the still photography world in contrast to visual effects which is associated with motion film production.