Stylized Frag Launcher Explosion - Overwatch Inspiration - Breakdown Posted

Hi everyone,

Hope you all had a great GDC this year :slight_smile: First of all I would say a big thanks to all the wonderful vfx community here who gave some sound feedback on the first explosion I posted last week. It can be seen here. I have still got some work to do on it based on the feedback but In the meantime, I had already started working on another explosion effect which is inspired by the funny and ever dangerous Junkrat’s Frag Launcher weapon explosion from Overwatch.

I collected some key points highlighted by some of the members as well as by some other artists particularly @Sirhaian @NateLane and @AndreB in the first explosion I did. Considering the feedback, I have employed a different technique this time, more closer to feedback

There were 18 components in creating this effect. Timing is critical for each component because most emitter layers are short lived. Here is the effect I created.

Stylized Explosion (Frag Launcher Inspired)


Feedback and suggestions are highly welcome guys. Meanwhile, I shall try to create a complete breakdown as well of it. Thanks

@Sam @iNoob @Limeslushie


Hmmm :smiley: Very nice.
I’d say the smoke should probably live longer then the sparks.
Might be fun to play around with it lingering on somewhat longer.

Theres also some feeling of the effect contracting in on itself right after the outer ring is gone.
I can’t really identify what it is, but it feels like its going back in on itself.

Anyway, maybe I’m seeing things :smiley:

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Man the gif butchered that effect so much banding :stuck_out_tongue:

Their effect feels more staggered like a traditional cartoon explosion where yours kinda fades out. Perhaps try to emulate a stepped alpha gradient instead of the smooth falloff.

All of your sparks seem to die roughly the same time, perhaps some more variation in their lifespan to break up their shape a bit more. Touch too uniform atm imo.

Hope it helps :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the feedback mate. Yea it got banded a bit in the gif, I am not sure as it wasn’t before posting and in the actual work. I have uploaded a video as well for anyone wants to see it without banding and bit high quality.

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Yup, You are right about the uniformity, I can relate to it. Probably the sprite animation or Flipbook could take it more closer than this. I just utilized the particle technique to see how close the effect can go to this reference as well as serve the purpose of stylized explosion. I am looking to improve the particles behavior as well in the second pass. I felt like the outer ring worked really well there for the effect, I had to improve the shader script to achieve the better result there because in the first attempt it was giving hard edges.

Would love to gather more feedback and knowledge sharing from the community :slight_smile:

This post might help, even had a response from one of the OW FX team.

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Yup I did study that before, They used flipbook for that. It was an awesome read. One thing for sure that while creating this effect, I was realizing that Once you start creating effects done by a studio like Blizzard, one starts to really appreciate the talent they possess. :+1: So its always huge fun and challenge doing it :slight_smile:

Just did another pass. Fixed the implosion feeling in the effect as well as improved the timing of the sparks

Sorry for the banding in Gif

Would love feedback

@NateLane @Mark, @Star_Weaver @AndreB @Sirhaian @Sam


The circular waves that increase in size, it looks like you mask them out somehow. With a circle with soft edges. Or how did you make them fade away? Looks neat. :slight_smile:

Also, I feel like the very first frame is offset for some reason. Like everything jumps down 10-20 pixels after the first frame. It’s very fast but it gives a quite “hacky” feeling to it, and I would try to smooth that up.


Not sure if it is the gray background or the GIF, but I am not seeing a shockwave coming out of the effect. Are you not planning on adding one?

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Lookin’ great dude! I think you did a great job recreating your reference.

The two things I could say at this point are a bit minor, one is that the fade on the edge ring feels a bit soft, and I think you could get more by making that transition a bit sharper. The second is that your explosion feels like it’s going in slow motion (though I’m not sure if that was your intention xD?). I do say, I really do like the linger you have on the smoke. I’d look into seeing what other elements could linger too :slight_smile:


Looking great!

Can’t really say more than what’s just been said: it does look like it’s going a bit in slow-mo. Maybe try to make it faster at the beginning, and slower at the end. :slight_smile:

I’d also really like to see a distortion shockwave in this!


@Star_Weaver Thanks a lot mate, I am glad you liked it with some valuable feedback :slight_smile: Yeah I intentionally did the slow motion version, tried to match the reference speed a bit. Here is the faster version now. I am going to make its breakdown video soon and i will see how i can make things more sharper and linger on other elements.

Here is the faster version, Just captured it in more speed.

@Sirhaian Thanks :slight_smile: Yup Would trying add it

@Hyrun Thanks mate, Yea didn’t put the shockwave in it so far. Will see in the breakdown


Thanks man :slight_smile: Yes it is a pixel shader that masks the texture as transparency grows and its keeps soft edges.

Looks like it’s come along quite well.
What is the expected life of the explosion? As it currently is?

I feel if it was faster it would feel snappier and more energetic, the rings emanating out feel a touch lethargic atm.

Also (and probs just cause I’ve been staring at it) the thin trails seem to get really squiggley as they shrink away, is this intentional? Makes the effect feel a bit more organic and fleshy imo. Very possibly wouldn’t notice at a faster speed though.

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Thanks mate, The expected life is 0.5 second here. The trails thing isn’t intentional, I just noticed that as well. I will fix it in some spare time :slight_smile: Thanks for the suggestions, I will see what I can do more here.

Looking awesome. I looked like the edge around the shock wave had a slightly tighter fall-off in OW. How are you controlling it, smoothstep?

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Thanks @Feanix :slight_smile: Yeah, Controlled it through the pixel shader.

I mean, are you using the smoothstep function in your pixel shader! :stuck_out_tongue:

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Oh hehe… I had to ask the engineer who worked on the pixel shader. No the smoothstep function isn’t used. It’s a straight up linear interpolation on the alpha value from the texture alpha :slight_smile: