Optical effects (also called photographic effects), are techniques in which images or film frames are created photographically, either "in-camera" using multiple exposure, mattes, or in post-production processes using an optical printer. An optical effect might be used to place actors or sets against a different background.

Since the 1990s, computer generated imagery (CGI) has come to the forefront of special effects technologies. CGI gives film-makers greater control, As a result, many optical and mechanical effects techniques have been superseded by CGI.

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