In this video here there’s an effect where rings circle around the ray and dissipate.
Now I think that that is most likely a mesh particle with a dissolve shader and the particle system sends it down the ray via velocity over lifetime.
If that’s the case I then I don’t understand how the particle spawned material knows when to start or to stop.
But the biggest question for me is how can I reuse the dissolve material?
In the example there are 20ish circles spawning and each dissolve independent from another.
I highly doubt that the guy created 20 keyframed materials for this effect to work, so how did he do it?
A way you could do that is run the dissolve over the particle’s lifetime and make THAT random.
You can also use dynamic parameters to randomize a lot of values in the shaders, like the location, tiling or the alpha of your dissolve texture.
You might want to mention what engine you will be/are using, how many months/years of experience you have, and generally what you already tried to get this effect but failed.
As this effect is fairly simple, as Sifa said there are many features you can use inside materials that affect color, opacity, size, movement, and much more. (Even people who have been doing this for years tend to find new ways to do things rather often)
In this case the ring probably has either a dynamic node being controlled by the emitter over its lifetime, or a “particle relative time” node which outputs a 0-to-1 value over the lifetime of the particle that is decreasing the transparency/dissolve over time.
because each emitted mesh ring is already unique, you dont have to worry about multiple rings and their values interfering with each other. each mesh runs its own instance of the material already
This forum along with youtube, are filled with great (and not so great) tutorials for getting started with special effects and my suggestion would be to take some time, browse trough the forums, read up on interesting stuff, watch some videos, and just play around with the things you come across that you find interesting