Official VFX Sketch #26: Vertex Offset

(Banner background VFX from Klemen Lozar)

The Vertex Offset Challenge:

Create an effect in which all the motion for the effect is done in the material. No particle/blueprint rotation, position, scale, velocity modules, or vertex animation exports from Houdini or other sources. All of the movement for the effect must be done in the Material. You are free to choose any kind of effect.

Submitting: Create a new topic in the “Events > 26 - Vertex Offset" category with your name, sketch number and Vertex Offset (Like this : “Nibe tsu: Sketch #26 Vertex Offset” ), and post your updates to this while the event is running.

When you are finished, edit your first post so it holds the final effect in the form of Youtube/Vimeo Video or High-Quality GIFs.


  • Always cite your sources! Is your work based on that of someone else, let us know. Show your references.
  • All entries must be made during this running period
  • Do feel free to use any tool, system or workflow that pre-existed. Although we encourage experimentation.

August 3rd → August 31st

Scoring and Winning:
We will have some of our very own vfx wizards to judge your work.
These judges will select a favorite and runner up.
Judging criteria includes:

  • You showed progress at regular intervals.
  • Work is technically and artistically well-executed.
  • Followed challenge rules.

Favorite : Will recieve a golden badge and avatar icon.
Runner up : Will recieve a silver badge and avatar icon.
All Participants : Will recieve a participations badge.


If you have any questions, Feel free to ask them down below!

Good luck, have fun! :fire:


Woohoo! Houdini + Unreal time! Is the Vertex Animation Tool allowed?

1 Like

Haha , No. The aim is to try and create the movement of your effect without using the vertex animation tools. All of the movement must be done in your material.

You can for example use Houdini to store pivot painter data, but the actual animation/movement must be done in the material.

This is what I meant by “Vertex Animation Tool”: Vertex Animation Tool in Unreal Engine | Unreal Engine 5.0 Documentation

Technically, it is all happening within the material, right?

Technically you are right but because you still do the animation in a dcc and store it to a texture, it doesn’t count. And houdini’s Vertex animation tools actually even gives you node setup to just copy and paste into unreal, so we want participants a to not use this, you can still use a texture to drive your motion if you’d like but ideally we don’t want people to use animation done in a DCC that’s processed into a texture.

Hope that clarifies.



Just wanted to be sure :alien:

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Are dynamic parameters ok to use as they’re controlled in a particle system or does the movement need to be self contained within the material?

Haha, that’s a clever work around but no, the Movement needs to be self contained within the material.

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Heh, ok thanks for the clarification! :sweat_smile:

Awesome theme!

Is it allowed to pass any data at all through blueprints like curves and such, as long as the blueprint itself doesn’t transform the mesh? Or to use material parameter collections with blueprint driven information? :slight_smile:

Vertex motion done in the material, I get - what about motion from panning or otherwise UV-manipulated textures, that don’t move any verts?

Also, is it ok to pass in e.g. player position to drive effects dynamically?

@Banton @Kashaar
The spirit of the challenge is to avoid using any curve editors to drive the motion, so you can, example, still use BP’s with MPC to pass player location, player orientation etc to your material.

What isn’t allowed is using a timeline curve in a blueprint and passing that curve data using MPC’s to your material to drive the movement.

You can also, for example still use a panning texture in your material and use that to affect WPO, that is totally fine.

Hope that clarifies some doubts, feel free to ask if there are any more questions.


Difficult Sketch to pull off, I have a couple of questions just so I know whether or not I can do it.

Animator to change Material Values?
Using Particle emitter to adjust custom data?
Using polish particles (sparkles, dust, smoke etc)

My plan is to make some guts fall out from a zombie (guts spring fall to the ground etc (motion from Rigidbodies maybe).

If I cannot use any of the above I will most likely be forced to do some kind of environmental effect.

Thanks for any feedback :slight_smile:

Polish particles : yes, but again you have to create their motion in the material not Cascade Modules for movement.

Particle Emitter to adjust dynamic parameters: yes, but you can’t just pipe in a motion curve from cascade to control your movement, that would defeat the purpose. You can send any other kind of data you want.

Animator to change material values: I’m not sure what you mean?

You can send in any data you want, as long you are not using an animation curve to control the motion.

You can use player location, player direction etc, but the end goal is to create all of your movement without the help of Animation curve Editors.

I gotcha, I’ll be using Unity, which doesn’t have “Dynamic Paramerters” rather Vertex streams which act the same.

I also use the in engine animtion system to chance material parameters over the course of an effect and flow them between states with event ques. these values are normally V1’s that control vertex displacement multipliers etc.

However I think I’ll be safe to assume I can use a curve in the animation editor to manipulate for example a parameter in the shader which offsets the y position of my vertices?

I’ll just do it and check later and if not find a work around :slight_smile:

“However I think I’ll be safe to assume I can use a curve in the animation editor to manipulate for example a parameter in the shader which offsets the y position of my vertices?”

So this is what we don’t want people to do, the idea of the challenge is to not use any curve editors to control motion, to come up with creative solutions for movement when you don’t have fine control over them using curves.

Hope that make sense :slight_smile:

All of the movement for the effect will be done in shader :+1:
What about the camera ? Is this authorized to use the animator to make camera movements ? Thanks by advance :smile:

1 Like

I think Camera movement is fine to do as you usually do, I assume you mean things like camera shake?

But all of the movement in your effect should be done with the material. :slight_smile: