Smoke VFX - Want to know how you would approach solving this

Hi everyone ^^ It’s my first post here. I want to do something similar to this;

I found this in Artstation from Antonio Cappiello profile.
Well, I want to try to recreate the smoke effect before we see the human figure. And I want to do it in Unity(but I’m open to any ideas from Unreal folk as well, any ideas are welcome)

Im thinking maybe I could do it with a voronoi noise on a texture that controls the alpha and the vertex positions at the same time(maybe on a cylinder mesh). I’m kinda stuck trying to make better smokes for a time now. I don’t know if there are any softwares that I can use to make smoke simulations and actually Import them to Unity. If there are any, I’d be happy to know those as well. (for example, I can do a smoke simulation in blender but I don’t know any ways to Import that into Unity, or I don’t know would it even be reasonable performance-wise.)

Finally, I know and understand Shader Graph but I don’t know about actually coding shaders. Do you guys think thats a must to know for making this effect in Unity? I’m waiting for your advices and your approaches to making this effect. Have a great day everyone ^^

I would start here for getting your trail effect painted and ready for export into Unity (this describes UE4, but there’s so many tutorials out there for trails in Unity):

Then for your character breaking, this would be your starting point (assuming you’re using Houdini):


Thanks a lot for the advice ^^
Again I’m a bit new to this so excuse me if I ask some dumb questions :smiley: Do you think this artist did it with a 2D texture on a trail ? And if so How would it look from other camera angles ? (What I mean is if the camera was behind the man who was creating the smoke, then that smoke wouldn’t have looked very good I think. What path could I take to fix that problem if I were to use a 2D texture made in Houdini ? (or a texture sheet made in photoshop in my case))

I’d say looking at it again that it looks like a combo of simmed 2D flipbook(s) and textures that are stretching/dissolving, along with the ember sprites. He mentions using Houdini and Substance so he prob. did a smoke sim flipbook for the first part, and painted some smoke textures for the second part.

If this is an in-game effect that can be seen from multiple angles then you’d want your particles/trails to be camera-facing. If you want something to look more volumetric I would investigate doing a Houdini or Embergen smoke flipbook sim, and play with spawning those in a box/sphere/cylinder area to give it some heft. Even so, as you can see in another one of his examples ( he’s using the same camera-facing flipbook for all those angles and it looks pretty good.

Since you’re new to it, I’d follow those tutorials I linked, and even look for some simpler smoke tutorials to give you a handle on how to start working with the tools. Having a goal in mind like you do is great, but you’ll find there’s several techniques employed that you should be familiar with to make your own stuff. Or, you buy an asset pack :wink:

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I’ll definitely try out the things you adviced and start with learning to use Houdini first I think. I’ll post it here when I achive this ^^ Thank you so much <3

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I had some time to work on it today. I figured I wanted to find a free solution instead of buying Houdini. So I tried to draw some sprite sheets in Photoshop. Managed to make 2 sprite sheets and each of them are 8 frames. And took the time to make an Animation Blending shader to counter-act the fact that I only have 8 frames in each particle. (It turned out that this way the animation doesn’t look very interesting, guess its better to draw all the frames instead.) Made it move a bit faster than my reference because I want it to become a projectile thrown(like a dark magic dagger projectile or something) when I’m finished. Tomorrow I will try to add few more sprite sheets some of which will be more blurred and bigger parts of the smoke to give the illusion of depth. Please share what you think could be improved and any advice on the things that can improve the workflow for this ! ^^ (without buying Houdini or Embergen xD )

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Yeah I’d agree, you don’t -need- Houdini/Embergen to create the effect you’re going for. Look up some smoke tutorials and you’ll see shader techniques for panning multiple static smoke textures across each other with something like a sphere mask to get some pretty nice flowing shapes. What you have there is a pretty good start!