Designing VFX for video games

Hello everyone, I wanted to discuss something I’m very much struggling with: Designing VFXs.

While I feel I’m making steady progress on the technical side of VFXs creation over my years working on it, I still struggle to design said VFX especially, when having to make something from scratch, or for training purposes.

How do you guys handle this problem ? What makes you come with decisions on the design process ?
Whether it’s the theme, the gameplay aspect or the way the VFX should render and “act”, I’d like to know your approach on these things.

Have a great day everyone !

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Yeah so I just tend to look for a huge amount of references before creating something, then taking some elements from one ref, some from another and mashing them together until I get something I can begin iterating upon :new_moon_with_face:

Sometimes I even get inspired from looking at color palettes!


Oh nice thanks for the link, some good color ref :raised_hands:


I suggest you reading this article, it is full of content and tips to make game VFX, like balance, colors, shapes etc


Elemental Magic, Volume I: The Art of Special Effects Animation by Joseph Gilland is a must read IMO. He’s an (ex?) Disney animator who discusses the principles of animating “the other stuff”. In other words, NOT characters. Fire, water, earth ect. He uses pencil drawings to explain the ideas but almost everything in his books has helped me when approaching digital work. It’s all about visualizing the energy of the effect!