Some Niagara Questions please

Hi, I’m a Cascade user (<3) and making the transition to Niagara (gradually getting to the point of <3). I have some questions please and I don’t know who else to ask, I thought I’d start here.

  • The tutorials I watch all have a black background in their Niagara viewport, mine shows the Epic HQ. How can I set it to be black and empty?
  • What is the difference between the inputs Particle Age and Particle Lifetime? Is Age the percentage of the Particle’s lifetime and Lifetime is the actual value in seconds that the particle has been alive for?
  • How do you work in Niagara Emitters and Systems? If I add an emitter to the system and make changes to that emitter, those changes aren’t inherited by the emitter itself, those changes seem to be local to the System. So I end up having a bunch of emitter windows open. Is there a better workflow?
  • Is Sort Order in Sprite Render for the particles or for the emitters? For example in Cascade a higher sort order value would render the particles on top of any particle that had a lower number, is it the same case with Niagara?

(more questions to come if it’s OK)

Thank you everyone!

Welcome to the Niagara party, we’ve all been there :smiley:

  • Iff you have Niagara System open, go on ‘Window’ (at the top bar) → ‘Preview Scene Settings’. There you can disable the background and make it a single solid color etc.
  • Lifetime is how long the particle will live for, e.g. 5 seconds. Age is how long the particle has been living for so far, constantly progressing towards → Lifetime. Once Age = Lifetime, the particle dies. Normalized Age is Age/Lifetime, so a vaue of 0-1 representing the entire life of the particle.
  • That one is a bit tricky. Usually I work within the system itself and do all my changes there. If I have ‘parent’ emitters, I sometimes just propagade the changes to them, once i’m happy with the result from what I did in the system. I wish there was a button for ‘apply my local system changes to the parent emitter please’.
    Other times I do open up the parent emitter and directly change the values there. The problem with working with parent emitters is, that it’s a super slow process, as the changes always need to be applied (to all the systems using them) and that takes ages.
  • Sort Oder Hint is on an emitter level (higher number rendering on top). The particle level sorting is called ‘Sort Mode’, similar to what was available in Cascade for particles.
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You can right click the system emitter and Create Asset to save back out to a new Emitter.

The workflow is a little awkward – it’s an odd design.

Emitter assets are the “parents” of the emitters you instance in a system. So, if you change the base emitter, those changes will propagate to all systems using that emitter.

Architecturally, that seems like a logical way to organize Niagara assets; but practically, I’ve never found a use for it. I usually create very minimal emitter assets and override everything in a system.

I think it’s one of those “good on paper” ideas…

The solution is to only work with a parent when you need it. Otherwise you make your emitters local to you system as in cascade.

But emitters can only be created separately from a system, right? In a system, there’s no “create emitter” option – only “add emitter” (which has been created as another asset).

Or am I missing something…?

You can add an emitter from a template, this specific instance of the emitter is local to the system and has no external parents.

You can also manually remove the parent link from the right click menu on any emitter that is currently linked (you can see they are linked with the arrow pointing up right)

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Huh! Never noticed that option. I never use the templates, so I’ve never bothered to try that.


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This has been really helpful, thank you and everyone for your reply and help! Out thing I don’t understand, say you have a Niagara System than uses X, Y, Z emitters. You made changes to those three emitters inside that system. Then you want to create a new system and transfer, even duplicate, emitter X from the other Niagara System to the new one. How do these properties transfer to the other Niagara System?

We said that changes to the emitter inside a Niagara System, remain local to that system. If we edit the source emitter, outside any niagara systems, then it overrides all instances of that emitter in all NS (except if we click Remove from Parent Emitter). Would I need to do “Create Asset from This” and then duplicate the newly created emitter?

Sorry if my english doesn’t make sense

Thank you for your help!