Mudu's VFX Journey


Hey there,

I thought it would be fun to archive my journey here, so I can look back at all the work in a few years and see the progress.

The journey started in early october. I already knew a bit about game engines, programming, 3d modeling and illustration, so diving into the vfx apprenctice courses wasn’t too confusing. After going through most of the videos in about a week, I made this small effect to make sure I could use niagara, blender and substance designer by myself.

Even though it was early in my journey I wanted to focus immediatly on building effects for a portfolio that I could bring to a studio. I’ve always been more of a realistic game type of guy, so I decided to aim for effects that would feel at home in AAA realistic games.

Still learning the basics of how VFX are made, at this point I was watching every VFX related GDC videos I could find, just trying to absorb as much knowledge as possible even if I couldn’t understand some of it. Writing down what software the pros use, how different techiques are called… I realized fluid and fire simulations were a big part of realistic effects and decided to learn embergen first as that seemed like the more intuitive option.

Getting familiar with niagara at this point, I could create emitters and use the sequencer without needing too much outside help. I realized houdini could be a very good tool to learn for modeling meshes and doing fluid simulations and dove right in. After binging a few courses I knew how to put together simple meshes and managed to created a water simulation mesh. I think this effect has a nice block in, but trying to make it visually appealing ended up being a bit too much for my knowledge at the time. I decided to shelf it and come back to it later down the line.

Feeling pretty confident with niagara now (as long as I’m not trying to do anything too funky). This effect had me learning a whole bunch of blueprint, and was my first taste of having to come up with clever solution to create an effect (making the portals appear in a dome formation). That really cemented vfx as the perfect artistic format for me, a mix of painting, animation, 3d modeling, programming. As someone interested in all those things but who thought I had to choose one it makes me incredibly happy that being a generalist is actually a viable option in this industry.
I also made an alternative, single portal version of this effect. (51) Portal Shot VFX - YouTube

This is the first effect I’d confidently call “done”, and most likely the first one (chronologically) I’ll put on my portfolio. It took about a week and a half to complete. Learnt a bit about houdini rigid body simulation.

That was a big one. I really wanted to make an effect that could be interacted with. That meant learning more about unreal, blueprints, how to change material properties at runtime… No wonder it took almost a month to finish !

After spending so long on the last effect, I just wanted to have fun with a small effect. At this point I feel like I know enough things to really have fun with those effects, and I’m able to come up with a reasonable solution to most ideas I come up with. The thing to work on now is really polish. The first few months were spent on overcoming technical hurdles, and the next wall is the artistic one. Creating good textures, knowing how to blend elements together, nailing the timing, those are things you unfortunately can’t learn entirely from a tutorial, the only way is to make effect after effect and gradually become better and better.

I really want to thanks everyone on the VFXA discord for their great feedback. I learn so much from every interaction and I can’t wait to see what I’ll be able to achieve this year !


As someone just getting into VFX, it’s so valuable to hear about what you’re learning, where from, and how you’re overcoming each challenge. I’m also someone discovering their newfound love of real time VFX as the intersection of all things artistic and technical. Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to seeing more.

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Hey everyone, been a while!

I’ve been learning Unity and trying my hands at more stylized effects. This is the first effect I did in Unity, I kept it small to get familiar with Shuriken and ShaderGraph/Amplify.

I’m also trying my hand at hand drawing some 2d flipbooks


excellent you should share your approach either the flipbook and software you used
is it shader based or 2D straight-ahead vs pose-to-pose?

surprisingly a few 2d flipbooks thrown through particle systems + shader can create a surprisingly huge amount of VFX re-use


Hey, sure! I can talk a little bit about how I did it.

This system has just 3 emitters : the flames, the smoke and a glow.
The flames and smoke are one flipbook each


These were done in Animate, I start with 3 or 4 frames and inbetween gradually from there (a new frame halfway through the existing ones until it’s done).

In Unity the shader setup is relatively simple. I use a single ubershader that I made. They’re animating through the whole flipbook once through the particle lifetime and going through a color gradient. Both have a bit of randomization in their scale, rotation, etc…


Hey everybody!
Haven’t posted here in a minute haha. I’ve been doing a lot of effects since the beginning of the year and have recently been looking for work opportunities. Thought I would share some of the stuff I’ve done.





You can check them out in HD over on my Artstation page : ArtStation - Médi Camborde

I’ve learned a ton this year and am feeling more and more confident about my abilities!
I feel like I now have a sufficiently large toolbox to tackle most effects I can think of, and my current focus is to to continue improving my fundamentals (that’s a lifelong journey!.

Can’t wait to see what the future holds for me, and hopefully I can soon share even more cool effects with all of you !


Hello everyone !
These last few weeks have been mostly about learning stuff and toying around in Niagara and Houdini.

I’ve learned how to use render target to store informations in a texture, and sampled that to make this cool hologram effect. A camera is capturing the model on the right, storing the color and the depth information into a render target that is sampled by a niagara system to set particles position and color. It also opened my eyes to the power of custom niagara modules. I’ll definitely dig into this more in the future !


Another area I’ve been digging into is FLIP simulations and mesh processing in Houdini.
I gave myself an small exercise : make a good looking realistic blood squib.

WARNING : BLOOD PAST THIS POINT :drop_of_blood: :drop_of_blood: :drop_of_blood: :drop_of_blood: :drop_of_blood:

After doing research and trying different ways to cheaply render a nice volumetric blood splatter, I ended with the following method:

Simulate a small liquid splatter in SOP FLIPs (it’s very easy !). I’m launching a ball of liquid through this misshapen hole which gives me a nice splatter.


Take one of the frame, surface it, reduce the polycount, smooth normals, and bake the thickness into the vertex colors using the labs thickness node.

With that thickness information, I can easily erode out the mesh in the material. It doesn’t look that amazing when viewed up close, but when it is played quickly and with some added movement, it looks great !


Here is the final emitter. The mesh gets stretched out and falls down a little. Those movements along with the erosion really sell the liquid feel. The two puffs of blood are simple smoke flipbooks rendered in embergen.


And here is the final effect played on a character !