Lush: Sketch #32

Made some progress this weekend!

This is the workflow I’m using for this project:

Firstly I create a new Blender project. Then, I import the Unreal Engine Mannequin to use it as a scale reference.

Then, I model whatever it is I have to model, always keeping an eye on both the references and the Mannequin.

Export the models as .FBX files and import them into Unreal.

Create some awesome materials and apply them to your meshes.

I made a cool “hologram” shader which supports LUTs (color indexing) and Chromatic Aberration amongst other features like rotation and such.

This is how it ended up looking! Pretty happy with it. This will be used ingame to “reset” the lootbox.


Quick update!

Soon I’ll begin crafting the lootbox animation + effects and such, but this is what I’ve got so far.

Again, using the Unreal Engine’s Mannequin plus some references, I created the bracelet, which is the device that will allow the player to open the lootbox.

To create my references layout I used Kuadro, a super useful software!

Created some generic materials using Material Functions, so I have more flexibility to iterate and create variation. Blending those is super easy!

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Been playing with some LUTs to enhance the look of the scene!

If you want to know more about it, check out UE’s docs:

Essentially, you just take a screenshot of the scene you want to edit and then you import it to Photoshop along with a reference Color Neutral LUT.

Then, I like to use the Camera Raw Filter to adjust the colors and such.

Save the reference LUT texture and export it back into Unreal!

Also, had a fun time using Cine Cameras and their rigs. Making the initial cinematic cutscene using the Sequencer was really easy.

Take a loot at the current state of the project!

Super happy so far. It is all coming together pretty nicely and I feel like the effects will be noice.

Hope you don’t get too jealous about the fact that I got Norman Reedus himself to play a starring role in my sketch! hahahahaha


Damn dude, are you sure you’re still making a Loot Box? :laughing:


Insane stuff! What a madskillz :laughing:

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Hahahahaha yes! @Wyvery The Loot Box is already there, it’s just that I won’t show it until the end!

@Un1horn glad you like it hehehe

I’m working on some RnD right now. These are the Loot Box rewards. Skins for the main character.

These are not too complex but I’m having fun using some new techniques I’ve learned.

The first one is a “Scanner” skin, just like the ingame feature that allows you to scan the environment to find new loot and such.

The second one is an “Iridescent Rock” skin, inspired by the rainbows you see ingame.

And the third one… well, it’s just glass hahaha

Here’s a screenshot of the moodboard I’m using for this project!


Oh no :scream: what a tease.

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Had the pleasure to be mentored by a big friend of mine, Fran. He’s one of my biggest inspirations!

Check out @phrancisco’s ArtStation profile here:

I was working on some fluids when he told me about the techniques he used to create blood effects in the Assassins Creed 3 Remake. He has an article in 80lv explaining the process. Check it out:

So basically, I used Blender to create a fluid simulation. It was way faster than having to set up everything in Houdini, plus my laptop wasn’t suffering at all. It just took me a few iterations to get a shape I liked.

When I was cool with a splash shape, I added a displacement modifier to displace its faces inwards to reduce the blobs and sharpen it, almost to emulate surface tension or the sheeting of the surface. Then, I subdivided it to make it look smoother before rendering it.

Found an angle I liked to fit the shape in a 2048x2048 texture. Baked the normal and the diffuse map.

To bake an “opacity” map, I assigned a fully Emissive material to the mesh and baked an Emissive pass.

Took those textures into Substance Designer, and I used the Distance node to get a nice gradient to alpha-erode the shape.

I used smaller values to get the gradients right for the thinner bits of the shape, and then bigger values for the big shapes.

Merged those together in Photoshop, and reimported the texture back into Designer to get a normal from that. This normal will help blend in the borders of the shape while eroding, so it looks like a volume and not just a cutout shape.

This is the material I’m currently using for the liquids. I’m using a cool technique I learned back in the day from @imbueFX, using the Reflection Vector to fake some reflections using the HDRIs I created a few days ago.

This is how it looks!

I’m using Niagara to create every effect. This allows me to create 3 different versions of the fluid fountain using only 1 emitter. If I ever change anything to the base emitter, those changes will propagate to all the systems. So powerful!

Now you might be asking… what are those fluids for? What does this have to do with a lootbox?

Soon… hehehehehe


Nice walkthrough! I have seen a lot of liquid sims made in Blender’s built in FLIP lately that look quite good.

Just a few more days… I’m looking forward to see what you are hiding from us
(´ ω `♡)

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Seeking for references, I stumbled upon an Epic Live Training stream:

They mention this demo I saw a couple years ago. I was really impressed by it! The way the meteorites fuse together, the bubbles… Back then I had no clue on how it could be made, so I moved on. But now, I felt like recreating it.

Also, while watching the stream, I remembered a cool slime I saw a long time ago…

Turns out, this blob was made by Marien Elalaoui, an awesome Technical Artist, member of the Epic team!

He also made a super useful tutorial, I highly recommend watching it if you want to learn about the Custom Node and some HLSL coding. He doesn’t go too deep into the topic, and keeps the vid interesting and fun to watch. I have experience coding in HLSL so this was pretty easy for me to follow.

There are multiple approaches to it. I tried them all, and I went full screenspace mode since I didn’t want to enable Mesh Distance Fields.

First test! As you can see, it is not perfect since it has some artifacts on the edges. These are caused due to multiple factors, such as the sample resolution or the step length took into account by the mixing function.

Here you can see me messing around with the look of the metaball. Changing stuff like the radius, the sample resolution, the fake reflections intensity, the secondary blobby movement, the index of refraction, the iridescent fresnel, its opacity, the blend range and smoothness, its colors, etc.

The metaball setup is pretty simple. A big sphere with no collisions renders the metaball. A smaller sphere with collisions and physics enabled handles the movement. And then, a Niagara System to spawn some bubbles inside the metaball.

Here’s the metaball material + the bubbles material!

I’m planning on using a main metaball as an envelope for the loot, so the player has to reach for it. Then, I’m going to use smaller metaballs with lower resolution to add extra detail.


The bracelet finally has a use!

Made this energy field that blocks you from reaching the lootbox.

When you get close enough, you can disable it by activating the bracelet.

As you can see, I improved the bracelet animation too and I added a flare to the light source.

Love the moire pattern that appears in the borders while the spherical mask changes size!

To create the borders of the energy field, I used booleans in Blender to rapidly design a shape I liked.

Here are some tutorials made by Gleb Alexandrov, one of the most influent Blender gurus out there:

After retopologizing the mesh, I imported it to Unreal and created a material resembling the bracelet look, so the player knows these two objects are connected somehow.

This is the Energy Field material. It derives from the holographic material I created a while ago:

I made a Blueprint that handled the gameplay logic. After initializing itself by getting some references to other stuff, it keeps track of the player’s position and changes the Material Parameter Collection accordingly, so the Sphere Mask follows the player and drives other parameters such as color, emissive intensity, pixelation or UV tiling.


New feature: The Odradek!

The Odradek Terrain Scanner allows the player to scan the environment to find the best possible loot out there. It doesn’t seem to be able to find any loot boxes… yet.

I’m using a Material Parameter Collection to reference the player’s position, so the Odradek knows where to begin scanning from. The scanner is done using a Post Process Material assigned to a Post Process Volume. It uses a sphere mask, so a “fake” radius can be defined from the player to X surface.

It is then lerping between an emissive color and the PostProcessInput0, since it is a Post Process Material and Scene Color is only available when the material domain is a surface.


The Odradek model and rig themselves are pretty simple.

As for the material, I’m using Material Layer Blending.

I animated 2 variants, the Odradek Idle and the Odradek Idle Rare. Then, I made them switch randomly from time to time in the Animation Blueprint.

I also made a fast paced flickering “Danger” animation, which is activated only on some specific bones, so the base movement is kept while those emissive surfaces are moving on their own.


Oh! Seems like the Odradek found something dangerous… Wait… is that a…?


What a mad skillz man?! :DDDDDD

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A loot box! Finally!

This organic loot box holds a valuable capsule inside its guts. You have to be brave and stand close enough for it to reveal what’s inside.

So, you decide to take a look. What was that?

Blue colors? A common capsule. 60% chance.



Purple colors? That’s an Epic capsule. 30% chance.

Golden colors? It’s a Legendary capsule! 10% chance!

After witnessing a gruesome explosion, the capsule is still trapped inside a ball of goo! Roll and shake the ball until it explodes!

And bam! That’s how you get a brand new skin for your character.

So, let’s break this down!

The guts were made using a mesh following a curve in Blender.

It has a fleshy looking material that uses displacement to convey a sense of organic movement.

Using the Sequencer, a camera is animated following a spline through the guts. A shallow depth of field, chromatic aberration and a light attached to the front of the camera sells the “Esophagogastroduodenoscopy” look.

The strange dark goo fluid pool is just a mesh with an animated material instance that deforms the geometry to make it look like it’s reacting to the loot box. I wanted to keep it opaque as it conveys a denser look. Then, when the loot box appears, some Niagara Systems containing splash effects are being activated.

The loot box was modeled, rigged and animated using Blender.

Having a complex rig was key to animate each and every part of it.

I really liked the idea of making it twitch, it looked super creepy.

I took my time to animate some extra details and I gave it personality by animating some nervous tics.
Also, breaking the symettry made it feel way more “natural”.

Fun fact! When the loot box explodes, you can see its fingers and its teeth flying away!

Had lots of fun creating this sketch! I learnt so much.

You see liquid splashes. A cube made out of flesh stands before you once again.

You hear a silent whisper… “I’ll keep coming”


Here’s the build!

:computer_mouse: Download it by clicking here :computer_mouse:

By the way, I’ll be more than happy to receive any kind of feedback! :sparkles:


This is overwhelmingly good. It’s kinda’ hard to critique this much given that you went SO FAR afield into the extra (100??) mile(s) to make such a fully featured representation of the challenge! The bar has been set higher and higher every time with these things! There’s like, 6 different techniques here that each by itself would have made for an awesome presentation. I’ve looked at the metaballs technique myself and said the same thing… ‘Eh, maybe another time…’ and slunk away intimidated. Maybe it’s time to give it a whirl with inspiration from you now!

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Woah!! This submission is pretty mind-blowing for a Loot Box “sketch”! Such an amazing investment of time and effort to see your vision fulfilled and an impressive result, nice work!! :clap:


Thanks @kimber! I can’t stress enough how grateful I am to receive those kind of comments! Hearing that you got inspired made my day :sparkles: Don’t forget to share whatever you end up creating!

Thanks for the kind words @ryvanc!

Luckily I had enough time to explore new techniques and iterate on some of the initial ideas until I found something I liked hehehehehe

Another fun fact:

This is the actual loot box concept. It was planned to have Norman Reedus’s beard. But then while creating it I felt like a hairless cube would feel even creepier. If you pay attention you’ll notice it doesn’t have a tongue neither!

Plus, the energy field was intented to be surrounding the dark fluid pool, but then I felt like it was too close to the loot box and I gave it more presence by making it into a completely separate element.