Getting Started in Real Time VFX? Start Here!

In ue4, you would work with bleuprint which is a node based scripting language. It is not as difficult to understand and quite visual, so I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it. The basics of any language are fine to understand it.

In unity you might require a bit of coding here and there for pretty much anything you want to do. Unity scripts are just such a powerful part of the engine, you really can’t get around it without seriously limiting yourself.

In UE4 VFX artists mainly use the following:

  • Particle simulation tool.
  • Material editor (A little bit of shader knowledge is really useful here)
  • Bleuprint (This is mostly for integration, but it stops you from being blocked every time you want to have your effect in game.)

You do not need to have actually coding knowing but the logics and the terminalogy would be recommended.

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Thanks a lot for the content posted here. I am new to VFX and in my way to becoming an FX artist in the gaming industry. But right now there are too many things I don’t know and that make it hard to enter the community.
With this it’s going to get easier and hope I can start getting ready FX for the gaming industry soon!


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Welcome! There’s a lot when looking at it as a whole, but don’t let that daunt you! When getting started, your first focus should be your engine of choice’s interface in general, and then the interface for its particle system. Just start out with simple materials and basic textures, don’t let yourself fall down the rabbit hole early on of big crazy shaders and other external programs. I’ll try and find time soon to go over this thread, and make sure the links and info are up to date, especially the links to the entry level videos.

We’ll be here if you have any questions!

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Okay, here’s another question: is there any way of telling if you have what it takes to be vfx artist? I mean I sucked at maths, physics, I started some free Maya Fluids course today and I don’t really understand what (and why) do you have to change to get the effect you’re trying to create. And at this point I’m very much a beginner, so it’s kind of understandable that I don’t know how to do things yet, but on the other hand, understanding things like density values, velocity values, fuels, etc etc seems like the very basic knowledge. And vfx seems like a “problem solving” art, so I am just wondering if I, without the “science-brain”, have any chance to become a good vfx artist and not just a person who’s knowledge is copying tutorials. :frowning:

Math is helpful for super complex shader stuff, but you don’t really need to have a brain for that kind of stuff. I barely passed my programming class in high school, failed another one in junior college, and barely passed my intro to visual scripting course in college. I legitimately just poke things when doing simulations, once I understand the basic concepts that drives those things. You can be a more art-focused/art brained vfx artist, so don’t let technical stuff like scripting and the intricacies of 3d simulations deter you.

Every vfx artist is a problem solver though. When your job interacts with everyone from programming and design to animation and environment art, you’re going to have a lot more problems and bugs come up. What you need to do is just take notes on everything that you learn, and try to understand the reason behind how things work. The more you poke and experiment with things, the more you’re learn why they work the way they work, little by little.

I think you’re overthinking things, and doing simulation stuff in 3d programs is way ahead of the basics. If you enjoy it, keep learning it, but you will still need to learn the basics of game fx pipelines, and the principles of animation. It won’t matter how awesome your simulations are if you can’t make your effects look good in the game engine. There are a lot of directions you can go in vfx for games, try not to get overwhelmed by thinking you need to learn everything that is under that umbrella.


I think most people are able, but not everyone is willing. Best way to find out is to start making fx!

For me I initially got into VFX because I became entranced in making magic spells, water splashes, fire, and other fun particle systems. I think that’s the first indicator you should look for. You’re here, so that atleast shows some interest in fx! :smiley:

Also, welcome! :smiley:


This is exactly what i need! thank you so much, you guys are the best!

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This is so very VERY helpful, thank you so much for taking the time to make this. :slight_smile:

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I’ve started collecting and curating a list of tutorials on the wiki. I’ve also tracked down all the rtvfx related presentations I can find online and stored them all on one page. The wiki is finally starting to grow beyond a wip glossary :slight_smile:


I eventually want to restructure this one and clean it up. I’ll be sure to add a link for the Tutorials wiki! Thanks for putting that together! :sparkling_heart:


Happy to see the Wiki getting some love again. I made some entries but this may boost awareness of it again and maybe more people join to add things. :slight_smile:

This has been very helpful, thank you very much! :smile:

I just completed the UE4 VFX for Games and this was great to see what to do next!

Unreal Engine 4 - VFX for Games - Beginner to Intermediate

It needs some updates, but I’m glad the post has been helpful!

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I look forward to seeing what you’ve got to add!

Great summary. Thank you

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I have some questions want to ask, currently i working in mobile game company, which is required drawing texture and particle system, sometimes even you need draw 2d frame by frame.
But when i start looking for the AAA title games company, i saw all the fx are using realistic smoke , explosion and destruction, it seem like AAA games using simulation quite a lot then drawing texture.

So, i’m confusing, so it mean even vfx also split into stylized and realistic , and the learning phase is very different. I have simulation background, but i just feel using game engine to create effect actually is more creative and fun. But if i dreaming for AAA title games, which mean i need to work hard on simulation?

hope they will some professional answer me. TQ

drawing realistic effect / simulation motion is a huge discipline investment for cost & time… But a team of people using 3d simulation delivers more efficient : cost vs output at AAA studios

in mobile, numerous flipbooks & achieving detailed realism costs memory budget, this will crash devices and causes the developers to require fallbacks; Fallbacks cutting fidelity as well as costs time invested to test means it just isn’t something they want to invest in.

Because of the constraints to deploy to multiple hardware devices Mobile studios organically skew art direction being hyper 2D… this is also due to their precedent. Mobile 3D games is barely 10 years old and art direction saw the game landscape of games from 2012-2015 as being the general appeal for Art direction.

AAA typically hire SR. VFX artists with Houdini, maya/max simulation experience for the purpose of a assembly line : it’s expected skillset. A hand illustrative / 2D traditional animator responsible for 1 animation that must conform with the context of all other work is not…

While mobile studios trended as web/tech start-ups with a small team and usually 1-2 VFX artists that needed to deploy something slim/light with just a few single textures used in Unity’s (at the time) much more constrained software.

Mobile will be adopting more AAA workflows as the industry progresses this decade, hardware / software advances, investment advances, and the companies grow a wealth of tech they re-leverage.


Sorry for reply lately, over the month i try to figure out for my own career and personal ability.

For the honest saying i not really enjoy drawing frame by frame, that need high knowledge of how different type of element movement.(This maybe i goes to far, most of mobile game doesn’t really need that high level)

But if i really love to work with aaa project, meaning invest in simlulation is a must right?
Ubisoft action game do alot of destruction and explosion.
Arpg games like diablo poe lost ark, it look like the use texture with 3dmesh + bloom effect look very shinning effect.

Any tips for career?
thank for teply :smile:

But if i really love to work with aaa project, meaning invest in simlulation is a must right?
Ubisoft action game do alot of destruction and explosion.
Arpg games like diablo poe lost ark, it look like the use texture with 3dmesh + bloom effect look very shinning effect.

you will want to invest in learning simulation, dynamics as well as technical skills that adapt within Houdini and comparable software. Checking career listing for companies like Ubisoft and Blizzard, etc… large studios have similar software needs, as well as general problem solving and adapting to internal tools and pipelines.

this does not discount artistic foundations; indirectly hand animation and illustration skills will always serve your career.

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