As Star Trek: The Next Generation ended, Paramount Pictures wanted to continue to have a second Star Trek TV series to accompany Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The studio also planned to start a new television network, and wanted the new series to help it succeed. This was reminiscent of Paramount's earlier plans to launch its own network by showcasing Star Trek: Phase II in 1977.
Initial work on Star Trek: Voyager began in 1993, when the seventh and final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the second season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were in production. Seeds for Voyager's backstory, including the development of the Maquis, were placed in several The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine episodes. Voyager was shot on the stages The Next Generation had used, and where the Voyager pilot "Caretaker" was shot in September 1994. Costume designer Robert Blackman decided that the uniforms of Voyager's crew would be the same as those on Deep Space Nine.
Star Trek: Voyager was the first Star Trek series to use computer-generated imagery (CGI), rather than models, for exterior space shots. Babylon 5 and seaQuest DSV had previously used CGI to avoid the expense of models, but the Star Trek television department continued using models because they felt they were more realistic. Amblin Imaging won an Emmy for Voyager's opening CGI title visuals, but the weekly episode exteriors were captured with hand-built miniatures of Voyager, its shuttlecraft, and other ships. This changed when Voyager went fully CGI for certain types of shots midway through season three (late 1996). Foundation Imaging was the studio responsible for special effects during Babylon 5's first three seasons. Season three's "The Swarm" was the first episode to use Foundation's effects exclusively. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine began using Foundation Imaging in conjunction with Digital Muse in season six. In its later seasons, Voyager featured visual effects from Foundation Imaging and Digital Muse. The digital effects were produced at television resolution and some have speculated that it cannot be re-released in HD format without re-creating the special effects. However, Enterprise has been released in HD, but the special effects were rendered in 480p and upscaled.