Joey Bullock - Sketch #59: Light

Doing something atypical, riding the nuclear wave - I’m going to try to visualize a stabilizing fusion reaction. Since we’ve technically never seen one with this model, I’m taking some creative license. :sweat_smile:

Latest Render Sample:

Reference Board:


  • Model basic structure for reactor internal surface.
  • Model core fxMeshes with packed vertex color masks.
  • Build fusion fx shader.

First Pass:

  • Build out more of the timeline & shaders to get a much more dynamic animation.
  • Clean up seams on fxMeshes to enable camera animation.
  • Model or kitbash some more interesting shapes for the reactor walls.

Second Pass:

  • Add secondary effects to plasma (chromatic aberration, screen space fx)
  • Add cold smoke
  • Address any feedback

Feel free to comment, question, or leave feedback!


Good luck! Such a unique idea for a VFX!


Great idea! Can’t wait to see what you have in store next, good luck!


Thanks for the support!
I had less time than I thought I would have, but here’s some screenshots of my geometry:

Everything (including the fxMesh) is constructed from a single curve. The models I’m using are kit-bashed from olegushenok’s Sci-Fi Panels Vol 3 (cgtrader).

Each primitive edge of the curve gives me the position, length, and angle I need to conform each geometry panel, and I can choose which panel I want to use for each primitive.

This cross section gets copied and rotated around the origin into a torus shape, but not before ramping the width of each panel across the diameter of the cross section to close the gaps.

For the fxMeshes, I started from the same base curve and made 4 shapes:

Hourglass-shaped core that wraps around the center column.

Donut-shaped outer wall.

Bulb-shaped core to add volume.

Sloped cylinder to add waving distortion.

Each mesh uses vertex color to pack masks for the shader.

The smoke sim was done in Houdini, and imported into Unreal as a VDB sequence. Unreal’s new VDB pipeline is finally able to render really nice looking volumes in lumen without losing a ton of performance.