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A practical effect is a special effect produced physically, without computer-generated imagery or other post production techniques. In some contexts, "special effect" is used as a synonym of "practical effect", in contrast to "visual effects" which are created in post-production through photographic manipulation or computer generation.
Many of the staples of action movies are practical effects. Gunfire, bullet wounds, rain, wind, fire, and explosions can all be produced on a movie set by someone skilled in practical effects. Non-human characters and creatures produced with make-up, prosthetics, masks, and puppets - in contrast to computer-generated images - are also examples of practical effects.
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