EmberGen with Handpainted textures? VideoJames' Sketchbook!

'Sup everyone. I’ve been a technical artist/generalist in video games for the past 5 years! While I’ve enjoyed getting to dabble in various aspects of game development, my passion for VFX has driven me become a specialist in this field moving forward, and I wanted to share my my journey down the path from being a generalist to becoming a full-fledged VFX artist.

Thanks for viewing my work and I greatly appreciate any feedback given on it! :slightly_smiling_face:

My first two works are largely derivative, as I study experienced artists to learn more and do tutorials. This is a lightning flipbook I am working on inspired by Gonzilla’s work here on realtime vfx forums (2D Lightning practice). I plan to polish the flipbook texture and layer smoke and spark emitters on top to make the secondary and connective tissue elements live in the playspace.


This is a rough kitbash sketch of various tutorial elements from JangaFX and UnrealCG tutorials I’ve followed (namely, JangaFX fireball tutorial and UnrealCG’s portal tutorial) as well as a praxis wave effect a co-worker of mine Mark Kahill had created, and I studied the effect and re-created it.

The idea behind the explosion mimics an old favorite effect of mine from Star Wars EP2, when Jango Fett drops his explosive charges in the asteroid field against Obi-Wan. The implosion effect is so awe inspiring, and I wanted to try to create something similarly awesome. I plan to add many solid and plasma elements, as well as nether-y void sphere similar to that seen in the VFX Apprentice Booms and Blasts series (which I am enrolled in now as of today! :smiley:) . I’m going against one of Jason Keyser’s earliest teachings and trying to combine hand-painted elements with procedural elements from EmberGen… may or may not blow up in my face… ? :stuck_out_tongue:


Not sure if anyone else has ever had trouble getting GIFs under the max file size, but I found this application called FileOptimizer to be extremely helpful in getting my 10mb gifs down to 3mb. Recommend it to anyone trying to share GIFs of their work! https://nikkhokkho.sourceforge.io/static.php?page=FileOptimizer


Welcome @VideoJames!

I’ll be keeping an eye on your works! Hehehe

Glad you finally decided to specialize in VFX. Good job enrolling in the VFX Apprentice course! You’ll enjoy it.

By the way, thanks for the file optimizer tip! :new_moon_with_face:

1 Like

No problem @Lush ! Thanks for checking out my work! I checked out some of your top posts and I loved your sketch 22 works, that “attention grenade” is brilliant! Looking forward to checking out all your works.

Here’s an end-of-night update on my nether implosion effect sketch I’m working on, I’d love feedback on the timing and general idea. Next up, integrating more learnings from the VFX apprentice class to polish up the look and start to convey the nether-y/void feel.



Quick feedback:

The shockwave ring expanding at the end stops suddenly, I’d try easing that curve so it feels smoother. Making it expand even faster at the beginning and then exponentially decreasing its pace should give it a “snappy” feeling. And, it is rendering on top of those residual center particles, smoke and such. That breaks the illusion a bit.

Great job! :blush:

1 Like

Glad to see our software/tutorials being put to good use! Looks great so far. One thing I would do is add a few extra frames to the smoke puff in the middle for the fade out. It fading into a single streak looks a bit odd.


Update on the vfx I shared earlier, re-worked the smoke using the lightning cloud smoke preset as a base, modeled a mushroom cloud-y mesh to play the flipbook on and spin it about to make it feel more volumetric, and created the ground portal effect using EmberGen as well, not based off a preset this time… Also messed around with vectorraygen to create new vector fields to use in some kit-bashed elements I pulled from the vfx apprentice series.


I used tons of kit-bashed elements from the VFX apprentice series, which I’m sure is quite obvious - need to push it further and make it my own. Would love feedback on the timing and vector ray field shapes, and would love to toss ideas around for future revisions to push it further from the original vfx! Currently I’ve tweaked the color scheme and the timing, and a few textures from the original nether explosion created by the VFX apprentice instructors.



Update on the previously shared vfx, now made entirely from my own particles/mats/textures.

This time I’m showing a version without the embergen clouds at the end as they felt a bit out of place and made it drag on for a long time; but I’ll be using them in a later effect.

Hoping to call it “done” soon, any feedback on how to push it to completion appreciated!

1 Like

Anyone know how to make particles from other particle systems draw behind other particle systems?

I’m running into this issue where my ground cracks are drawing ontop of my smoke because they are in seperate particle systems.


I figured it out! :smiley: I ended up having to merge the particle systems, I realized I didn’t have a good reason for them to be separated.

Messing around with some realistic stuff in embergen, made this from scratch after studying the mid-air explosion preset.

1 Like


embergen posion cloud thingy

poisioncloudv2 tweaked the timing and added some more clouds