My first particle effect attempt in UE4 - feedback/criticism appreciated

Hey all,

So I am 4 weeks in to learning the cascade system in unreal. I have absolutely no VFX experience, and everything I am doing is self taught using youtube tutorials etc, so I apologise if I am slow at picking up official VFX lingo :slight_smile:

Here is my first attempt at a particle effect. The idea behind it is a linear rock smash type spell. I haven’t got round to an initial casting effect yet, this is just the travel and impact section of what I am trying to achieve.

Any advice/criticism is most welcome! thanks for taking the time to view.


This is pretty good for your first attempt! Try adding some more slight position/oitation variation to the meshes spawn, right now the all look very exactly identical. Changing the position can help give some diversity.

Also, right now the entire effect has a very linear flow(speed is the same throughout the entire effect), there needs to be some variation in the flow that emphasizes the final impact.

Keep up the great work!

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I’ll give it a go, I suppose I can try randomising the horizontal offsets so that they don’t appear in a dead straight line. I’ll play about with the spawn rotation as well.

As for the speed, I am unsure what to do about this, would it make sense to start off slow and ramp it up? or fast, and then slow it down to highlight the final impact?

I would start it fast and then decelerate as it travels forward. I would also scale down the debris rocks a bit (the big ones at the end) and add much more random size variation. Some smoke/dust clouds around the ground and the debris will help blend it all together.

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It’s Caleb! :stuck_out_tongue:

Cool, I’ll make those tweaks over the next couple of days when I have time and repost the effect on this thread… I was toying with the idea of a few embers floating up from the cracks as well… anyways I’ll keep ya posted!

This is awesome man, especially for you first effect! +1 to what has already been said; there just seems to be a lot of similar shapes crammed together that have the same height/timing/spacing. Other than that, this is a real solid block out. Looking forward to seeing what secondary elements you add to help it shine :slight_smile:

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I am everywhere, there is no escape! :stuck_out_tongue:

Hey Kris Im just starting my Game VFX journey and i like this effect. Could you advice what tutorials did you use to jump start Unreal engine VFX creation?

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Hi Andrej,

At first I went through the basic tutorials given by unreal

However, these are extremely basic, and don’t talk much about material creation. So I had a look around and couldn’t find much. One guy though who does some great tutorials ue4 mesh based particle effects is @Luos_83 who creates really coll effects and explains things in a very easy/clear way. Check out his youtube channel here as you will pick up some great tips and lessons

However, in parallel to that I also went through the particle module reference documentation. I don’t have any professional background in art or code, so some of the terms in the documentation were a bit alien to me. So what I did is a created an emitter for each module and literally just changed values to see what it could do. Once I had a solid understanding of all the modules after hours of playing about with them, I put them to use in this effect (which still needs a bunch of tweaking and things adding to it.) The documentation is here…

One thing I will say is the videos in the unreal documentation are awful and don’t explain a lot, so just play around with each module and see what you can achieve, and then think of ways to combine them to create the effect you want.

In this effect I am using event generators/listeners, initial location and emitter direct location modules. If you need any help with understanding stuff then you are in the right community to ask! :slight_smile:

Have fun learning man!

P.S if you want an explanation of anything I am doing in the effect I will be happy to explain, and someone will probably jump in to tell you if I am giviing you bad advice or if there is a better way of doing it :slight_smile:


I totally forgot to give imbueFX a mention, whos fire tutorial taught me alot about cool material creation as well as using cascade as well. I think he uses UE3 but I followed along in UE4 just fine. I would suggest getting to grips with the basics first though.


Thank you Kris,

I have spent whole weekend watching Digital Tutors on UE4 and Yoeri -Luos- Vleer walk through on how to use meshes and set up materials for VFX in UE4.
It all starting to makes sense.
I like the effect you made, but at this point I don’t fully understand how it is done. It looks like one emitter creates geometry a long one axis with some size variation. Plus couple a more emitters for dust and cracks. Let me know if my train of thoughts is on the right track.
I will check out imbueFX.

Glad to hear it man, hear is an explanation of the basis for the effect.

  1. The cracks are the main emitter, and I used an ‘Initial Location’ module to move that emitter 1200 units along an axis over the emitters lifetime. This means the cracks spawn along a line, and you can vary the spawn rate depending on how many cracks you want to spawn.

  2. On that emitter, I set up an Event Generator module, and set it’s type to ‘Spawn’. Every time a particle spawns from that emitter it generates an event that can then be received by other emitters.

  3. So for the emitter for the rocks in the trail, I selected an ‘Event Receiver’ module and set the name of the first emitter (the one generating the events) inside it. I then changed the spawn rate in the event receiver, so every time one of the cracks spawned, it now spawns a burst of rocks. Just repeat that process for any dust/rubble or sparks you want coming out of the effect.

  4. finally, the big end rocks use exactly the same process, only they are not part of the travelling trail, that is just a static emitter timed to initiate when the trail reaches its destination.

I hope that helps get you on your way!

(if you recreate it, remember to take on board the tips given by the other people in this thread to make it better :slight_smile: )


wow Kris, this is Gold.

I definitely am going to use this information to create my rock trail effect. I just love Thrall’s sundering ability from Heroes of the storm so will make something similar with my twist on it.

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