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Practical effect

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A location shot for The Black Dahlia with a rainmaking rig, a sprinkler system used to create the appearance of rain—a common practical effect
An actor behind-the-scenes with pre-scored "bullet holes" on his costume and squibs blowing open fake blood packets for a gunshot wound stunt.

A practical effect is a special effect produced physically, without computer-generated imagery or other post-production techniques. In some contexts, "special effect" is used as a synonym of "practical effect", in contrast to "visual effects" which are created in post-production through photographic manipulation or computer generation.[1]

Many of the staples of action movies are practical effects. Gunfire, bullet wounds, rain, wind, fire, and explosions can all be produced on a movie set by someone skilled in practical effects. Non-human characters and creatures produced with make-up, prosthetics, masks, and puppets—in contrast to computer-generated images—are also examples of practical effects.

Practical effect techniques[edit]

  • The use of prosthetic makeup, animatronics, puppetry, or creature suits to create the appearance of living creatures.
  • Miniature effects, which is the use of scale models which are photographed in a way that they appear full sized.
  • Mechanical effects, such as aerial rigging to simulate flight, stage mounted gimbals to make the ground move, or other mechanical devices to physically manipulate the environment.
  • Pyrotechnics for the appearance of fire and explosions.
  • Weather effects such as sprinkler systems to create rain and fog machines to create smoke.
  • Squibs to create the illusion of gunshot wounds.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What Are 'Practical Effects'?". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2023-04-21.