Should a beginner learn Niagara instead of Cascade?

Hello. I’m a newcomer to real-time vfx (I have some experience creating effects in Houdini). I’m currently trying to learn how to create effects in Unreal. I see Unreal is currently phasing in a new particle system, Niagara. Since I have no previous experience in either system, should I focus primarily on Niagara and not use Cascade very much if at all? I know there are some people who are saying Cascade will not be phased out completely anytime soon, but I haven’t yet seen anything that shows that Cascade can do anything better than Niagara can. Niagara also feels good to me as it has some similar properties to Houdini.

The only downside of Niagara is that there are very little resources about it, so the learning curve might be that much steeper. How much would tutorials in cascade give me a better idea of how to eventually use Niagara? Like is there enough crossover for it to be worth it?

Thanks for any and all help!

I’d say it depends on how soon you think you’ll be working on a shipping game. Niagara is still considered experimental and Epic recommends to not use it except for learning. Cascade has been stable for many years and once you’ve become comfortable with it, learning Naigara will probably be easier for you.


i’d definitely recommend starting with Cascade - if you’re planning on working in a studio then most will still be using Cascade for a while yet i’d imagine and only moving over some things to Niagara when required. Cascade is also a much simpler tool than Niagara so if you’re new to the engine then its an easier place to start, even with some houdini experience. Also Niagara inherits some of it’s workflow from Cascade anyway so once you know Cascade it shouldn’t be hard to update to Niagara.


Thanks for the tips guys! It seems it would at least be worthwhile to get the fundamentals down with Cascade, considering as of now there are many more resources for learning it.