Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

The History and Technique of Visual Effects in Film

CGT 44400 / 3 Cr. (2 Class, 2 Lab)

This lecture-based course presents the history and technique of special or visual effects in film from the 19th Century (George Méliès ) to the current digital age of visual effects. Emphasis is placed on the use of effects in fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres. These effects can range from the recreation of historical venues, to fictional characters and to worlds not yet seen. This course serves not only to address this facet of the history of film and cinema, but also the techniques and technology of visual effects including practical effects, miniatures, stop-motion, makeup, mechanical effects, optical effects, motion control, and the digital realm.


Course Outcomes

  • Explain the basic concept of creating special effects for film (CGT b)
  • Apply appropriate technical parameters to achieve a pre-defined cinematic outcome (CGT a, c, i)
  • Be able to define and explain clearly the timeline and history of the special effects industry’s most notable projects (CGT e)
Student Outcomes

(a) An ability to apply knowledge of computing and mathematics appropriate to the program’s student outcomes and to the discipline

(b) An ability to analyze a problem, and identify and define the computing requirements appropriate to its solution

(c) An ability to design, implement, and evaluate a computer-based system, process, component, or program to meet desired needs

(e) An understanding of professional, ethical, legal, security and social issues and responsibilities

(i) An ability to use current techniques, skills, and tools necessary for computing practice

  • History of Film Special Effects
  • History of the Pioneers who developed these special effects
  • Technical process to recreate common use special effects in film
  • Special Effects and how it translates to present day software and tools