Starting real-time VFX artist

Hello, Im trying to learn more about rtvfx but I need an advice. There are a lot of tutorials for many particle systems. I learned how it works and Im able to create some basic effects in unreal and unity. The problem are textures and other resources for these systems. I have no background in photo editing or video compositing. So I would like to learn some art basics and how to create elements like fire, smoke and water without fluid sims(like it was done mostly in older games with alpha channel and looping footage), then 3D modeling for vfx, shaders and materials and finally fluid sims. Im interested in realism and magic fx. Eventually I want to learn 3D modeling, texturing and everything I need to create 3D scenes but now I want to learn it for VFX.

Software I would like to use:
After Effects or Nuke
Maya and Houdini
Unity and Unreal 4

I want to learn online from sites like Pluralsight but there are either no tutorials for this or I dont know what Im searching for. My english is not very good. Can you recommend some tutorials? Even from other sites.


@Keyserito has some excellent breakdowns and tutorials on his youtube page:

Bill Kladis has ImbueFX on youtube which has some great Unreal tutorials:

@Sirhaian has a couple of Unity VFX tutorials as well.
Basic Unity VFX Intro:
Basic Projectile:
Basic Sparks:
Basic Hit:

Lastly, for more Unreal tutorials, the Unreal Engine channel on Youtube has some great tutorials on the basics of Cascade and other useful Unreal features like Blueprint.

I learned 3DS Max in school so I don’t know of where to find good resources for Maya, but if you are patient, @Partikel is currently working on a Pluralsight course for Houdini :slight_smile:

Hope that was helpful!


I did some texture/flipbook tutorials on youtube a few years ago that go over making usable flipbooks out of AfterEffects noise and 2d animation, as well as painting spritesheets in photoshop.

On fire:
On smoke:
On wispy smoke:


Thank you very much! Very helpful.

@Hyrun I learned a lot from Unreal tutorials but they are more about manipulating particles than texture creation. Also Im really excited for that Pluralsight Houdini course. @Partikel effects for Battlefield 1 are very good. I hope it will be more than just explaining how to control the smoke and fire but also how to source it from different objects and particles to create interesting shapes (like shrapnel explosion).

I also want to know if I should focus on creating art with tools Im comfortable with (example: maya for fire and realflow for fluids) or learn more tools and try to create more effects in one 3D package(example: use maya bifrost instead of realflow)? Hope you know what I mean.