The key part to any successful animation or integration of a special effect into a live action film is compositing - that is the adding of separate elements together such that they look like they are naturally in the same scene together.  Below is a simple demonstration of how this is achieved and the number of steps involved in even a simple shot.



A background image in this case a painted sky


Painted background

Tiger beauty shot

The tiger as rendered with lighting

Midground grass

A layer of grass in front of the tiger's feet

The Wascally Wabbit

The beauty shot of the rabbit is added with lighting

Ambient Occlusion

This layer adds shadows, not just prominent ones but also the darkening found between shapes such as between the fingers of your hand


Grass layer in the foreground

Smoke effects

Bringing the steampunk tiger to life

Atmospheric haze

A haze layer is applied based on the distance from the camera (called the z-buffer)


Colour alteration layer to create the mood required.

Tone and lens distortion

The haze effect is increased to provide a more claustrophobic tone and a lens distortion applied to subtly give the impression it was actually filmed as live action.  This is the final screenshot.