Learning VFX for games

Hi there,

I’m a game design student and the main engine I use is Unreal Engine. I’ve always looked for a branch of games which creates a nice mixture of artistic and technical skills soo… I started learning VFX. However my initial role and what I have been studying is technical design. In order for me to transition to VFX I have to learn as much as possible about it and defend a deliverable by the end of the year.

To get to the point, I am particularly interested in creating fantasy effects, anything from abilities, character VFX, collectables and so on. I really want to deep dive and learn how to create textures, materials, models and systems (mainly Niagara). I need advice on how to improve as much as possible in a short amount of time. I am currently creating basic textures in Photoshop, some really basic modeling in Blender and Materials directly in UE. Any advice related to specific workflows or tools is more than appreciated. I’m also interested in learning Houdini at some point since it seems that a lot of real time tutorials I’ve seen use it. One thing I struggle with is more general tutorials on how UV’s work and how to manipulate them using Shaders/Materials.

Thanks for taking the time to read through all that :slight_smile:

Heyo! Good luck with that!

One of the most important tip I can give is to take things slow.
Start with very easy effects → send them for feedback → iterate → repeat → move to next effect.
If you take too hard and complex effects on yourself (I see lots of beginners do that) it will make it much harder for you to improve and also extremely harder for people to give you good feedback.

Also I would forget about Houdini for now completely.
Focus on basics and foundamentals (timing, color, shape: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQD_sA-R5qVKVYw3EVuRT7fSJsVukLEhD&si=pKL9dtfx--Yv5GvT) and if you master those you will be able to make any effect pretty, no matter on amount of techniques you know.
For learning those you don’t even need to know shaders to well. Then when you learn them, move to learning shaders/materials and texture creation and improve your skills on those.

This way you shouldn’t get overwhelmed and you should have a strong foundation to make pretty effects.

I second forgetting about Houdini for now and everything that Manus said. I’d also add taking courses like vfx apprentice. Its well worth the money… imo cheap for the service provided (I’m not affiliated) But no school is going to have as good an instructor as that… I don’t think anyone here would even debate that. Check out their free classes, I have. Do the assignments. There’s always more to learn. If I was starting out now I would lean heavily into that course, along with Unreal youtubes.

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Thanks for the advice, I’ll definitely follow that approach :slight_smile:

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Unfortunately I am currently paying for my university degree in design as well so it would be impossible for me to afford the course as well, however I’ll definately check out the free ones they offer.

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