Cartoon Explosions & Fire Effects w.ref Legend of Zelda

Cartoon Vfx has always got me excited because of the diversity in textures and particles you can play with. As everything in cartoon gives us a colorful, rich and exotic sight. The beautiful landscapes, explosions, mysteries, magical stuff offers you a lot to create fascinating stuff. The sur-realism in cartoon offers some extra advantage to create the exciting stuff.

I came across with Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the wild fire and explosions compilation video and the effects I saw there were simply mind blowing. In this theme of video games, I can safely say that Zelda ones are my personal favorite. The different explosions during, cooking smoke, fire all combine perfectly well with overall environment of the game and character movements and it feels top immersion.

I really liked this cool effect, fire below and something is cooking out of cartoony smoke with stars. Adds a lot of value to the entire environment and graphics of the game. So keeping to just this reference, I have made two effects the Cartoon Blast and Cartoon Fire. I won’t call them an exact recreation of these similar effects which I didn’t try but just as a reference.

Cartoon Blast

I have used four emitters to create the Cartoon Blast and named them as Smoke, Stars, Fire and outline fire. Then created four textures for the asset library. As it is an explosion so used somewhat darker texture for it. The stars creation was fun as I wanted to give it the classical old school cartoon look and out of nowhere somewhere related to Indiana Jones old games. Once I made sure that I have all the assets in place with classical looks which I wanted, the next step was to change the emitter properties and particle behavior to achieve the blast.

Cartoon Fire

For the cartoon fire, Three emitters have been used and timed with different behaviors and for that I had to put an attract force that allows to generate the flames above through the editor to make it a fire

This blast is amazing, Its such huge with debris and trails along after the explosion. Kudos to the art team of Legend Of Zelda. They have really an amazing job.

With this reference, I saw some of my work in the my library as below:

Explosion With Debris

This was quite challenging and fun to make. It contains multiple Super emitters with ref emitters. For the Debris, 3D model has been used. Glow textures have been attached with respective emitters. The puff smoke is backed with texture and shader.

Would love to see some similar work here by you guys.

Sharing the Zelda’s complete fire and explosion compilation as well which is treat to watch


Very cool, thanks for sharing your experiments! For me the most successful of your pieces is the explosion. The quick burst followed by the slow falling debri feels nice. Also the faked lighting in the clouds is very nice.

There’s another topic where @Luos_83 showed a cool “speedcreate” of a Zelda inspired effect too. You can find it here:

Zelda - Breath of the Wild VFX

Also in our resources we have a few good posts that have FANTASTIC REFERENCE if you’re looking for some more inspiration:

Also I don’t know if you’ve come across Jason Keyser’s tutorials yet, but they’re some of the best stuff out there for stylized shape language:

One of my favorites is his “Shape Style Guide”:

Anyhow, looking forward to seeing more from you! xD


Hey guys!

If anyone would want to recreate the Zelda effects they really should read this article series:

I bet that the people at Nintendo used this technique or something really simillar :slight_smile:

@Ali good effort but there is more complexity to those particles than only painted textures. I’m sure you’ll be able to figure this one out with this help!


@NateLane Thanks for some cool links and appreciation, I will certainly look at those :slight_smile: Saber & Archer reminds me of some good MMORPG and that is separately a different line of amazing effects and liberty for an artist to play around, thanks for the share. Yeah that the fake stars in Cartoon blast, I gave to try having the classical old school look to that cartoon explosion, somewhat we used to saw or still see in some of the famous cartoons and on the other hand out of nowhere it reminds me some of the early versions of Indiana Jones games explosions which is one of my favorite old time game series as a player and gamer. The explosion with debris took the most effort and thought to create.

I saw the digital fire effect you did in unreal, It was really nice, I hope to replicate my version of digital fire soon and would love to share with you guys.

1 Like

Here is another one, tried to give it the same classic cartoon look with no Fake stars this time, Three different textures, the yellow cloud, red cloud and firestar, little flair of debris added to this look.


Like the soft feel of this, very nice! The soft shapes behind all the sharper shapes gives it a nice feel. I think i’m seeing a black outline around your spiky texture, or something that looks like it’s outlining it. Perhaps it would be worth taking another pass and cleaning that texture up :slight_smile:

Keep these exercises coming!

1 Like

Thanks Man :slight_smile: Sure, Will give it another pass

Here is the quick pass with no black shading this time


Yeah surely mate, There seems a lot complexity involve there but its an amazing work on Zelda. Such stylized hi-quality effects. Would love if some artist from the makers of Zelda bump in here and shed some light on the formation of effects of this beautiful looking game

Your blast sprite (spiky star thing) should grow outwards and dissipate (either fade or erosion) rather than shrink inwards since that is the opposite direction of an explosion. You’re illustrating an expanding force, having elements go inwards contradicts the rest of the effects.

There are times when you want elements to go inwards but I don’t think this is one of those cases :slight_smile:

1 Like

Yeah its just one of those cases, Just tried to show a burst in 2d cartoon style with sparks going inwards :slight_smile:

Fair enough, if that’s what you want then go for it. Have you got any reference/concepts that you’re working from?

Yea just tried one of the styles here, Took some references from Random Cartoon blast searches from Google, I shall try the outer going pass as well sometime soon, Working on some other burst effects, Will share to have a feedback.

Tried to give it another shot at burst explosion, Somewhat a combo of realistic and stylized, Turned out to be good I guess :slight_smile:

And This just a burst cracker with one emitter quickly:

1 Like

These are the two last ones addressing for now, a Muzzle flash cartoon and magic slam ground. I should heads up for Dragon Breath quickly now. Would love your feedback and suggestions.

Hey, i m new to vfx, can you show me how the node work?