JaviLQ VFX Sketchbook

Hey all, I am new around here and to VFX as well. Recently was let go of a job, so while working on my environment portfolio and applying to new positions, I wanted to take this chance and try to learn how to do some VFX inside of unreal engine as its something I’ve always been interested in.
So I’ve been scouring youtube for tutorials and while I can follow and plug in the same numbers, I still feel lost when trying to make something myself from scratch. So I am putting in a goal, to do one vfx a day. I will still be searching for tutorials but if I follow one, I will try to remake it from scratch the next day without the tutorial to try to internalize it.
So, with that end, here is my first go at it. I want to focus on creating fire since that seems to be something very common. I found a tutorial by Sir Fansi where he recreates the cascade fire in UE but using niagara. I tried to take it a little further, tweaking some values to get it to be a little closer and then adding some extra things (like the sparks flying off) that are not part of the tutorial:

There are two things that are missing from the cascade fire in UE:

  1. My fire does not move/follow the ground like the cascade one does. I tweaked speed and location values but was not able to get any closer.
  2. The embers that fly into the air do not revolve around the fire enough. I also tried playing with the speed and a vortex speed to try to get them closer, but this was as far as I was able to take them.

Other than that, I am happy with this first attempt at it. I will probably try to find other fire tutorials that create it in different ways (like with a shader) and then attempt to create a torch fire on my own.

Any advice and feedback you have, whether about the vfx itself or on techniques to learn vfx as a whole is greatly appreciated.


Welcome Javil! How’s your progress so far?

Hello MKhize!
It is going slow, as I imagine most experience when starting on this path. I am actually trying to get a handle on Unity’s Particle system (shuriken) right now.
I went through a couple of online courses by Gabriel Aguiar, and am now attempting my own effect:

I’ve been focusing on the timing, so most of the textures are still placeholders. I also wanted to add a smoke puff/explosion at the climax, but I was not able to get it look proper, so may be scratching that part for now.

I’m back with a new vfx. I recently received some advice for going forward and was recomended I try to recreate already existing vfx from (ideally) games I love. This will serve as both a way to practice the system as well as get used to what “parts” make up a game vfx.
So my first stab at this was the attack Puryifing Flame from Path of Exile. I went in-game and recorded/took screenshots of the vfx and tried my best to recreate it. Since I was remaking it, the textures are not the same as I used various online sources to make something similar on my end:

There are a couple of major issues I ran into when working on this, going to jot them down here for future reference:

  1. My textures need tightening up. I think my big problem is that they tend to be too soft/not as well defined for things like patterns.
  2. I have no idea how to set up Unity to allow me to set this up as an aim-able projectile as it would require scripting/programming that I do not posses. To remedy this for now, I simple made the projectile to move in one direction and lined up the rest of the particles where it would end.
  3. The distortion/shockwave dome at the explosion/impact point needs some work. I was able to create a shader for it that distorts the view through it, however it doesn’t seem to affect other particles (likely due to other particles being unlit materials?).
  4. The dissolve effect on the floating runes at the end were also a bit of a problem. I set up a shader with an alpha clip texture and got the dissolve animation by AgePercent custom vertex stream. I am not sure if this is the proper way, as it still doesn’t give me much control over it. I wasn’t able to figure out how to do control it with the custom data rollout so that would be a next step.