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Pre-visualization (also known as pre-vis, pre-viz, or animatics) is a technique in which low-cost digital technology aids the filmmaking process. It involves using computer graphics (usually 3D), to create rough versions of the shots in a movie sequence. Usually, this is only done for the more complex shots (visual effects or stunts), as the benefits are fewer for simple scenes such as dialogues. The end result may or may not be edited and may or may not have temporary music and dialgoue. Some can look like simple grey shapes representing the characters or elements in a scene, while other pre-vis can be sophisticated enough to look like a modern video game.

Before desktop computers were widely available, pre-visualization was rare and crude, yet still effective. For example, Dennis Muren of Industrial Light and Magic used toy action figures and a lipstick camera to film a miniature version of the Return of the Jedi speeder bike chase. This allowed the film's producers to see a rough version of the sequence before the costly full-scale production started. Very few people had heard of 3D computer graphics until the release of Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park in the early 90's. It included revolutionary visual effects work by Industrial Light and Magic (winning them another Oscar), one of the only companies in the world at the time to use digital technology to create imagery. As a result, computer graphics lent themselves to the design process, when visual effects supervisor (and Photoshop creator) John Knoll asked artist David Dozoretz to do the first ever pre-visualization for an entire sequence (rather than just the odd shot here and there) in Paramount Pictures' Mission: Impossible. Producer Rick McCallum showed this sequence to George Lucas, who hired Dozoretz in 1995 for work on the new Star Wars prequels. This represented an early but signifcant change as it was the first time that pre-visualization artists reported to the film's director rather than visual effects supervisor.

Since then, pre-visualization has become an essential tool for large scale film productions, and have been essential for movies such as The Star Wars prequels, the Matrix trilogy, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Mission: Impossible series, X-Men, etc.

While visual effects companies can offer pre-visualization services, today most studios hire separate companies. The most notable of these are Pixel Liberation Front, Persistence of Vision Digital Entertainment, and Proof.

See also

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Movies, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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