Brand new to VFX, struggling to find my way

Hello Real Time VFX!

I recently decided I wanted to learn VFX! I have had a lot of recommendations from my fellow co-workers, one of which led me here, and the resources available are endless, but I think that might be the problem.

So far I have done two very basic sets of tutorials, Intro to Materials in UE4 and Intro to Cascade in UE4 posted by the Unreal Engine Youtube page, and now I am just trying to figure out where to go next. My knowledge of everything is still VERY new and I think I am getting overwhelmed and could use some direction.

Any tips, advice, and guidance is greatly appreciated!

Hello and welcome here.

Check this topic about mobile vfx:

Maybe you will find something useful there.

Also try to set a goal and create something. The goal should be some effect.
Pick engine (Unity, Unreal, CryEngine or anything else)
Pick tools for texture maps and mesh generation (Photoshop or Krita, Houdini or 3ds max, AE or Nuke…)
Pick fx (Magic Explosion, Realistic Explosion…)
And try to make it. You can set a deadline since it doesnt need to be perfect. You can improve it later.
You can also try to recreate your favorite vfx from games.

If you get stuck then google. You can also always ask here for help.
If you cant decide what to create then I can give you an assignment just for fun :slight_smile:
Create a rising smoke
Not large smoke just something like a tire from car burning
No spritesheets just a single smoke texture with no animation
Grey or white color
Add slight wind effect if you want
Post image or gif here.

Thanks for the response, Unique.

I’ll be sure to check out that topic.

I have the most knowledge, although it is very little, in UE4 so I’ll stick with that.

Funny enough, a friend did something similar, but tasked me with making a fire effect using a flipbook.

This is what I was able to come up with with the little knowledge I have.

All I did was create a translucent, unlit material and then adjusted a few things in Cascade like Color Over Life (light gray to white), initial size, spawn rate, etc…

A few things I didn’t like was the spawn point being all in one spot, the particles being perfect circles and not “blending” and looking more like a gas that smoke is, and overall not enough randomness.

Here is a gif:

Well this is good for learning material editor and cascade but I dont see any real application for this effect. It doesnt look like a smoke. Apply some smoke texture, decrease amount of particles, increase size, make it fade in instead of poping into the scene and maybe lower the speed a little.

Well yes…that was what I was getting at. I wasn’t sure of how to change the effect in a way to make it look more natural. I’ll take the recommendations you just gave me and see if I can come up with something better.

Hey RLemieux

About 6 months ago I was in the same boat, and pretty much was asking the same things as you, let me warn you now, the learning curve is steep, but if you keep at it every day you pick up something new and learn to combine it with with other knowledge you gather, so don’t be put off by not knowing what the hell you are doing at the beginning.

What I have learned since being a part of this community is that not only do you need to get to grips with how to control the behaviour of the particles in something like Unreal/Unity, but it is hugely helpful to learn photoshop as you go so you can create your own unique textures, as well as a 3D modelling tool like 3ds Max or Maya to create meshes for your particles. This isn’t essential as you can just grab images from google for textures early on, and you can just work with sprites at the beginning before you get into meshes, but my advice (and I am still very much a rookie) is pick up all 3 and then start looking into tutorials.

Another tip is to focus your learning based on what you want to make, do you want to make fire? smoke? energy fields? etc etc. Pick something and then start looking for videos that help you with that effect. More often than not you will find that knowledge gained from one video, can be applied to something else further down the line.

The first thing I did when I started using Cascade in Unreal was go through this bit of unreal documentation. I set up basic particle systems and used every single module so I had some idea of what it did. This was a huge help when watching tutorials later on, it also gets your brain thinking about how those modules might be being used by effects that are already out there in games you know and love.

Some guys that really helped me when I started out a short while back (and to be honest still do now) were…

Luos - his channel is here on youtube, and he is great, he even took the time to answer a few of my questions personally which helped me so much, not only that but I find his effects inspire me too!

The second video which really helped me get to grips with materials in UE4 was ImbueFX torch fire. It’s a long video, but trust me, go through it, it has some great knowledge, and lessons I learned from that have helped me with effects that are completely unrelated.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask people how to do something. People on here are very friendly and often take time out to help beginners like us, just make sure that your answer doesn’t come up on google straight away otherwise you might get the odd friendly reminder that google is your friend :wink:

If you need help with the basics I am glad to help, but like I said, I am only 6 months into my learning as well :slight_smile:


Hey Kris!

Thanks a ton for your response…It’s good to hear these kind of things from someone that was in the very same position I was. I’ll be sure to check out all of the links you posted and take all of your advice into account.

Hopefully I’ll be able to show some stuff off that I make on my own in the near future.

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