How to create stylized smoke (Spellbreak inspired)

Hello, I try to replicate specific style of smoke vfx from game Spellbreak, to be more precise the black smoke of the fire wall (video 3): https://www.artstation.com/artwork/OmqdKg
I have general idea how it works but me or my friend are unable to produce effect (texture) with at least similar quality, what I got right now is something like this:
GIF 14.11.2022 18-55-04
Can someone give some hints what we can do to make it look better?

To extend the question, this is how I understand this problem: I see there are flat quad particles with normal maps to make the light work, next important part is how particle fades with the ground - I think erosion edge is shifted by some height map or normal map (what I already do) and the last important part is how smoke erodes over time. I think it’s also based on some offset from texture (I try to use normal map Z component), but we are unable to produce good effect that match the main texture. My friend tried to bake the normal map in blender based on some mesh blobs, but it worked kind of meh.
obraz
I can share the whole shader graph if that gonna help in any way.

1 Like

I think this smoke 3d Mesh and toon shader

1 Like

Hello, thank you for the reply. At first sight it looks like 3d mesh, but I am 99% sure this is simple bilboard quad facing the camera. Some time ago I did in game videos and carefully analyzed them - there are very soft eges, always the same “shape”, plus rotates towards camera. You can see it well on dark green smoke (light green is mesh).
obraz
obraz

how is this

1 Like

99% sure this explains it all :smiley::