Does Source Engine have a category?

Hey there

I’m new to VFX and have exclusively been working with Source Filmmaker on a personal animation. I’ve reached a point where I need to create a custom particle effect (coffee steam) and been hopelessly trying to make it in Blender, to no success.

Should I create a new topic asking for assistance? If so, which category?

Hi @Da_Ch33ze and welcome to our community!

As far as I know, Source is not really an engine that gets any attention from the vfx community (which is probably why it doesn’t have its own category). I think you’re safe to post about it in the General Discussion section, or just keep this as the general thread for that engine.

I would also love to hear from anyone that used it and would like to share their experiences! Maybe we’ll see some interesting tool development with the release of Source 2…

Welcome fellow source user. There are a few of us lurking in here I’m sure :slight_smile:

Might wanna’ check this out:

Hey @Da_Ch33ze! Welcome!

There defenitely haven’t been many posts about source, popcornfx, embergen, cryengine, photoshop etc. to really have a need to create seperate categories, but I honestly don’t see harm in having them. I imagine them being largely empty so it just adds another click for people who could just post in general, but if it would be beneficial to the community we can add them! Any thoughts?

Hey, thank you so much for the warm reception :blush:

I totally understand how niche the Source Engine is, so for what I’m going to ask, using either Unity or Unreal to explain is more than fine.

This is reference for the effect I’m trying to create:

How would I go about creating this? Does anyone have a tutorial or workflow? It doesn’t have to be realistic, the style is in TF2. Here’s a Work in Progress for the look:

@kuba_kuleszewicz My plan is to recreate the effect in Source 2 Dota 2 and create a tutorial

@JangaFX I will possibly be needing your guidance with the particle editor

@kimber Thanks for that, I’ll be using that as reference going forward with this. I can link some other things I’ve discovered for Source?

@NateLane Having a category isn’t necessary, although that might change with HL:A Source 2 SDK, I’m not sure

does the smoke stick in world space as the cup is moved around or can it be static? I don’t know what source has, but generally with particle editors you can emit a trail/ribbon particle in a upward velocity with some noise and just add a soft smoky texture to it.

Source uses a ‘rope particle’, this video does a great job of explaining it:

The coffee cup will be moving

As another long-time SFM user myself (I’ve even managed to convince my boss to let me use it for some projects on the job) I personally love it. It gives me per-bone animation ON the timeline like I really really wish that Sequencer in UE4 did (and trust me, I’ve asked their lead animators about it every time I’ve managed to corner then :slight_smile: ).

Regarding your effect, just follow the tutorials and I and @Da_Ch33ze linked, you should be able to easily manage it. And will learn some stuff along the way that’ll give you ideas for other stuff in your project or other projects!


@NateLane Was that video helpful in explaining?

@kimber Source Filmmaker has a huge amount of potential and I’m surprised other game engine makers don’t use it as inspiration. With regards those tutorials, they only get me part way where I need to be, the rest is what I’m asking for help with.

From studying other particle effects in TF2, I’ve broken down the key components that will go into how this effect with work

  1. The steam shape volume, I imagine it would be cylindrically shaped, here’s a rough sketch:

  2. The texture that pans along Y, debating whether two noise textures animating offset from each other will be better?

  3. A flowmap that pans concurrently with the texture to create swirls

  4. Rope particle that acts as the parent for the steam volume

These are just my preliminary ideas, all components that come together.

@JangaFX Is this yours? Can you remember how you created this?

Just a quick update on progress

Rebuild an effect from Team Fortress 2 in Alien Swarm, then Source Filmmaker

Alien Swarm

Source Filmmaker

Hi there, have another belated update and MANY questions.

First the update, I created first iteration of the coffee steam effect. As quite a few have pointed out, it’s rough around the edges

(if the Streamable link dies, here’s a link to google drive:

This has gone through many variations but now I’m a bit stuck

How do I achieve a look like this:

Hey, another update

So in order to achieve the wispy look I experimented with two methods, asking people which one looked best. These are them:



From the feedback I got, B was the clear winner, but sadly was the one I had to drop

You’re probably wondering why considering it was the clear winner? Functionality. I used a ribbon to create the effect and while in larger objects it works well, small ones, it struggled. Could not get convincing look, comic-y stylised 2D, yes, but not 3D

Here’s the final look I’m going to stick with (until I can discover a better method):