How do you think this silky energy effect is made?

Hey guys, I’m trying to make a spritesheet that produces an “underwater silky”-like energy field thing:


It appears to be a deforming sphere rendered to a spritesheet, but the only way I can think of doing that is Houdini or extremely complex hand drawing and I think there should be a simpler solution


Not necessary complex handrawing if u are using particular in after effects ^^
Looks like its just a loop sprite sheet :confused:

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I’ve seen Trapcode Form in After Effects used for this look. My guess is that.

Edit: haha SrRubfish beat me to the punch


Yes definitely a simple spritesheet, just wasn’t sure about the generation of the sheet.

After Effects is completely foreign to me, but willing to learn! Any chance you can point me to the right direction or tutorial to use as starting point?

see u in hell baby e.e

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Pretty simple to do with Maya or Max too tbh - just create a couple of random shapes and then animate them rotating as they move up. Max’s deformers would be great for this but you could very easily set up some blend shapes in Maya to a very similar effect. Then just add a transparent fresnel shader and render.

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Thanks for the advice! I will try tomorrow and post results!

You can find a tutorial on the After Effects workflow with Particular here : :wink:

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Houdini or whatever is easiest but if you wanted to do this entirely in UE4, you can tesselate a sphere and run some octaves of curl noise through it, then use Ryan’s GDC pack to get a flipbook from a game camera pointed at it (subUV maker from this pack

Obviously you’d need to art direct it more than my 3 minutes :slight_smile:



I gave a little talk where we did something like the distorted sphere but for cigarette smoke. Here is a detailed explanation how it’s done. But I think in your case a flip book might be the better option.


I am pretty sure it’s one of the plugins for, after effects, trapcode “Mir” rendered out a sequence, make a flipbook and put them on your sprites.

Hey man! Loved your Rime VFX talk. I´ll check out this one as well :slight_smile:

Sadly, circumstances at work forced me to work on something else for the moment, but I’ll definitly try it out when I get the chance to revisit it. Thanks again for all the responses

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I love your talks man! I always learn tons, really cool technique :slight_smile:

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It seems I’m a bit late for this one but I’ll post what I have anyways…

The shader can be made by mixing(LERP) white with transparency using Fresnel as the mix factor. The Fresnel value I used for the following animation is 1.05

Even though I used Blender for this, there is nothing here that is specific to Blender so you can do this with any package.

First, here is the result… bubbly

Next is an image showing the material setup.(Sorry, I forgot to clean it) :slight_smile:

As for the rest, the object is an ordinary sphere with roughly 200 triangles that has noise applied to the vertex displacement, you could use animated noise. (For this proof of concept I just moved the object through stationary noise instead.)
There is a subdivision surface modifier being applied after the displacement. I did that so the Fresnel effect would come out cleaner.

The sprite sheet setup is more involved since I don’t think Blender has anything like that built in. (I would likely just export all the frames as standard still renders using an orthographic camera then load them all back in again using “Import Images as Planes” addon. Using grid-snapping, once they are all aligned like a flipbook the whole thing can be rendered again using an orthographic camera.
For someone who is doing that all the time, it would be better to make the necessary Python modifications to Addon so it’s default setup is more suitable for spritesheets.


Thanks for the great help! I’ll probably be able to work on this sometime in the coming three weeks.

I’ve thought about doing it that way but was afraid that I would need heavy geometry or rely on tesselation to make it look smooth, but I didn’t consider doing it in a different program and rendering it out as a sheet!

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