Jake Mandel FX Pile

Hey everyone, I’ve been lurking here for a little while trying to absorb as much as I can. I’m a senior at Ringling College, started getting into vfx about 6 months ago and now I’m trying to get into the biz. Here’s the reel I put together in my free time while working on thesis.


Looking forward to any suggestions for how to improve!

I think if I put a picture here I will get a thumbnail?


Cool stuff here are my thoughts.

  • I don’t think you should show the same effect twice in a row without reason. The missile attack shown twice felt a bit redundant.
  • That said, I quite liked seeing the fire laser from the two angles, I think this is because the creation of the laser was quite interesting and the impact of the laser was interesting.
  • If you were to cut one of the laser shots I think it would be the first shot. The second one has a lot of grunt to it which is really nice.
  • Something is off with the animations for your slash FX. I understand you aren’t showing your animation skills but the effect does not seem to line up with the animation? Or the animation does not carry the weight of the effect it is emitting. I found the animation to be a little distracting.
  • The “dash” FX at about 51 seconds felt very weak. It didn’t seem to have any anticipation to build it up. Obviously in a game context that may need to be the case.
  • Did I mention I liked the fire laser? I really think you hit some of the principles of animation with it quite well.
  • It was nice to see some effects in an environment at the end and not all in a grey test scene.
  • The explosion at about 15 seconds had a lot of Oomph detonating. The smoke however seemed to fade out pretty uniformly, perhaps some more random life in the smoke particles there to offset their fading out
  • For some of the impact effects they felt a bit flat, perhaps adding some screenshake on detonation will help sell the weight of the effect. Nothing too strong though.
  • Likewise some follow through motion on the objects being hit, rocking back from the force of the FX. At the moment some of the projectiles feel like they are as heavy as a pin pong ball.

I hope that helps a bit, for 6 months work you’ve got some nice stuff here.
Keep up the good work :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the feedback! I agree with you on everything. Camera shake is next on my list of things to do. I can’t really do much with the animations since I’m limited to what I have, which is a pack from the marketplace and mixamo, neither of which are ideal, but it’s what I got.

Thanks again!

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Looking really nice! My only suggestion would be to blur your textures a bit more. A lot of your stuff has hard edges, which looks nice when freezing the frame, but in motion feels a bit strange since we’re use to motion blur. Try softening some edges on your textures, or give it “motion blur” in photoshop before using it. That will go a long way :). Keep up the good work. Keep posting your progress!

Projectile wise,

Not much of the animation you’ve got suggests it’s being propelled forward.
Try getting a convincing general motion on the idle.

And with the execution here:

There’s no trail left behind, it needs some persistence, and perhaps should be bigger due to the size of the impact.

I tried to give it some more backwards motion in the fire and made the spiralling front trails a little more visible. Thoughts?

I also worked on keeping the trail visible from the behind angle


The head of the projectile feels cool, perhaps just double the velocity of the smoke particles behind/try to make it feel faster?

The 2nd video, can you leave some more smoke behind? (Velocity might do this, or spawn them in world space, not local space).

Checking this abstract meteor out, I like the tapering nature of it…

The core is the biggest, everything else falls off from that (although smoke would grow).

I understand where you’re coming from but I’m a little hesitant to make the smoke linger too much, since my main goal for the fireball is to make it feel contained like the hadouken effect in Street Fighter V.

Skip to 3:23

I agree on the tapering shape though I’ll work on that

Thanks for the feedback I really appreciate it!

got a ton of fantastic crit at GDC. I’m trying to rework my fire to look more like my reference, here’s a little gif -

Trying to make the fire and smoke really bleed into each other. I don’t think I’m quite there yet. I’ve been trying to add wind swept look to it but I haven’t been able to get it looking good. so I’m planning on simming a new fire with more wind built in to it.


Whoops haven’t updated this in a hot minute. Got a bunch of new/updated stuff in my reel now -

and I just started a little vfx doodle of one of my favorite spells from the gba fire emblem games -

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