Klaus' VFX Sketchbook

Ice Tests - Frost Spikes - by Foxician - RTVFX Thumbnail
(last updated April 18, 2022)

Thread of my VFX works. Comments, suggestions, questions, critiques are all very welcome! :sparkling_heart:

Hello fellow VFX artists, I’m Klaus!

(updated intro in Jan, 2022)

I’m a VFX Artist, Game Designer and Co-Founder of a small indie game company from Vienna, Austria, called Follow the Feathers (we switched to individual contract work for the near future though). I love visual effects, innovative game mechanics and unicorns. :sparkles: :unicorn:

If you want to see a condensed blast of my VFX works and projects I’ve worked on, feel free to check out my portfolio website: klausfehkuehrer.com. I have seven years of game development experience and successfully released two games: NIVA (2016) and Weaving Tides (2021).



The first “big” project (in the scope of a student) I was working on was the master’s degree project of my team and me - the exploration art game NIVA. Besides game design I took care of almost all visual effects within the game:

VFX of NIVA :fallen_leaf: :fallen_leaf: :fallen_leaf:

A little bit of context: NIVA is a pacifistic exploration game set in a mystical forest. The player slips into the role of a deer-like forest god and uses the power of nurturing and withering plants to solve environmental puzzles. It’s available for free on itch.io - why not give it a whirl to unwind from a hard day’s work? :wink:


Forest God (player character) - positive and negative aura (abilities to interact with certain plants in the forest)


energy pulse of a magical tree (game spoiler: jumping through this tree is the final step of completing a puzzle in the game)


another magical tree (game spoiler: it’s light fruits can drop, what makes them burst. if the player steps into the puddle, he will leave a trail of glowing footsteps)


atmosphere effects in the forest

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Recently I wanted to explore VFX for 2D illustrations a bit. My former projects have all been in 3D and I am thrilled by the VFX of the golden cards in Hearthstone, so I too wanted to be able to ‘upgrade’ illustrations like that and thus give them more liveliness.

So here is my first attempt at doing this kind of artwork upgrades:

Zill, the Wandering Merchant - VFX for a 2D Illustration


upgraded artwork - full size


original illustration


upgraded artwork - close up

The original illustration was done by Verena Demel (http://verenademelca.daportfolio.com/). It’s one of her personal characters, called Zill. For the effects I used Unity’s shuriken particle system as well as the plugins Shader Forge and DOTween. Verena gave me the original PSD file, which was well organized, so it was easy for me to create as many separate layers and masks as I needed, while creating the effects.

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Very cool man! I really like the soft feel of everything. I think the particles compliment the environment art very well.

With the “another magical tree” particles that pop out of the ground, it might be cool to add a bit of variation with their movement, perhaps some orbit to help it feel a bit less linear, as you have with many of your other particles.

Looking forward to more! :smiley:

@NateLane Thanks, I appreciate it! :blush:
About the particles of another magical tree: right, now that you mention it, their movement also seems way too linear to me. Especially for the natural setting of the game. Maybe the new noise module of Unity 5.5 would also be capable of adding a more natural vibe. However, NIVA is already released. But I will keep it in mind for upcoming effects. :slight_smile:

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You’ve made the game using Unity?

@tsunii Yes, it’s made with Unity.

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I just played the game, nice work, nice atmosphere, nice feeling and good effects, unfortunately i’m still too new on this VFX world, so i can’t say if there’s anything you could improve.

These are all pretty cool, very princess mononoke. For the Raven, it would be nice to see it breaking in different times and at different sizes. It feels really uniform at the moment. Keep it up!

@tsunii Thanks for playing, I’m happy you like it. :relaxed: I think when it comes to art, there’s always something you could improve. It’s important to learn to say that you’re finished with something even when you know that it still can be improved.

@Nathan_Huang Thank you! Though the kudos for the mononoke-like art style go to Verena Demel, the Creative Director of NIVA. :slight_smile:
Yes, I feel like many of my effects are still too uniform. I wonder how I could implement your idea, because the magic circles are just a few big sprites animated within a particle system. I will give it a try!

Lately I added these short videos to my portfolio website to give visitors an overview of how I created some of my VFX.


Forest God auras - technical details


Zill - technical details
(I shortened the parts where the text is shown just for this GIF. In the original video the text is visible long enough to read it.)

There are no new VFX in these two videos, but I still want to show it to you, because I think the way VFX are presented is also very important.
My idea was to give especially those people who aren’t very familiar with VFX, a small insight into my approaches.
In general when creating these kinds of very short clips I want to avoid hard cuts, also at the point where the video restarts. Without hard cuts the videos are way more pleasant to watch (at least to me) and they seem more like an ‘animated picture’ instead of a repeating video, because the start/end point vanishes. :slight_smile:

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I really like this effect, especially the first one, I have done with Unity works like your second visual effect, I find time to share it out to share, I am glad to know you, I hope you have more exchanges

@Silver Thank you! I hope soon I’ll have new work to show you. I’m also looking forward to see more of your work. :slight_smile:

Well, I’ll let you know when I share it.:smiley:

hey great job dude, I would suggest you regarding your technical approach for the “forest god auras” to make the mesh effect with a shader and then some small number of particles for the feel. because as I see it you remade your entire mesh with just particles which is not the best/efficient way. but keep it up, I like the art.

Good quality work. Where is that game supposed to be for a play? Is it released?

Hey guys, sorry for my late reply! I still need to catch up with my follow ups for a recent game dev event, but afterwards I’ll have time again for more VFX :heart:

@Ohadgfx thank you! It’s a good idea to create the main part with a shader. Lately I’ve been experimenting more with shader based effects (using Shader Forge), so for the next “aura” effect I’ll go for a shader basis. :relaxed:

@Ali Thanks! Yes, NIVA was released in November 2016 for Windows and Mac. It was a student project, so it still has bugs and would need some polishing, but it has already achieved quite a number of downloads and got very nice reviews. It’s available for free, you can get it via the official website: www.nivagame.com :slight_smile:

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Here’s a brush stroke effect I once did for a kanji learning mobile game (student project -> therefore not released).

http://imgur.com/rcPsbyq

I know it’s super simple - I just post it here as a reference for my suggestion for @ryanzeng’s amazing ink brush effect.

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I did some shader FX studies recently, while working on my upcoming artwork upgrade. They are all made with Unity/ShaderForge. I think I’m gonna start collecting these :grin: They will make a nice privat reference library in the future.

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Okay, I’ve changed from “tracking” to “watching”.
This thread is really good and I dont want to miss the updates!

These shaders… :heart::heart::heart:

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Thank you, I’m happy you like it! To be honest at first I wasn’t sure if they are good enough to share :sweat_smile: