How do you approach gathering reference material?

Hi guys,

I’m currently finding myself in a spot, which I have been in for the hundredth time. My client requests me to do a certain type of VFX (in this case simply a level up vfx) and while I have a lot of experience as a player and experienced a dozen level up vfx myself, my memories are very blury and I would like to collect some nice references.

Also, the game I’m working on has a typical vectorized cartoon style, so I have to mostly stay away from soft alpha masks/blending. Now, my main problem is that whenever I have to gather references, I’m not sure where to look. I’ve used google, pinterest and now recently started to look through artstation, as well. However, if I just look for “level up vfx” or something similar, I get around a handful of results and that’s it.

My next idea would be to go through the Steam-Shop and look for games with a similar style and then watch gameplay videos hoping to find a similar effect. But, this is going to take a lot of time and I was wondering, whether there is a better source or way for this.

How do you collect your reference material? Any cool tipps to find more?