Casting a look at the top VFX trends of 2020

2020 has been an unforgettable year with all its pandemic-related challenges. Let’s take a look back at the top VFX trends that dominated the VFX industry.

USD Rush

The Academy Software Foundation’s (ASWF) has been instrumental in providing the open source tools needed to enhance the content. ASWF’s USD group is on the forefront of this sphere, with universal adoption. The group now provides a version compatibility matrix, plug-in examples and technical resources, so studios who are in the process of adopting USD can count on them as a safe point of contact. 


NVIDIA is also making progress in this area with NVIDIA’s Omniverse. It aims to be the first 3D simulation and “Google Docs” style collaboration platform using NVIDIA RTX. It melds the physical and virtual worlds to simulate reality in real-time and with photorealistic detail.

This marks a massive stride in the world of USD and aims to notch up the simultaneous collaboration of remote teams who are able to edit 3D projects as though they were editing an online document. Now it remains to be seen whether the goal of universal adoption of USD will be fully realised. 

Cloud Integration

Undoubtedly, the adoption of work from home pipelines made cloud the highlight of 2020 and now that the world has learnt its benefits, it is only going to continue.

Things like hybrid cloud and cloud service models which had begun to emerge in recent years were thrust into daily use, alongside an increasing use in cloud technologies like Teradici Cloud Access Software and Microsoft Azure.

Real-time Workflows

The industry has been pushing towards real-time workflows. Being able to work on a project anywhere at any time is an upside for both artists and studios. With the demand for increased collaboration and efficiency, the tech companies are working on more iterative workflows that enable real-time compositing.

Virtual Production

The traditional waterfall structure is now becoming circular with time, enabling easier communication channels and team work. With the onset of virtual production, it will be interesting to see how much real-time improves the quality of life and increases efficiency.

With content like The Mandalorian and Westworld illustrating how virtual production can be done optimally, many filmmakers have trained their eyes on it. As sleigh into next year, we’re only going to see an increase in the number of virtual productions taking place.

Machine Learning 

The potential of Machine learning (ML) is another top trend of 2020 that is revolutionising the effects industry as we know it. From motion capture to content creation, we’ve seen how it can enable quick and efficient pipelines, whilst allowing artists to be less technically and more creative.

With that said, we hope the new year brings more advancements and eased workflows as artists come to grips with the news normal.