Thwix - VFX Sketchbook

Been diving into niagara scratchpad a little today, made a lil doodle inspired by kinetic wind sculptures. These are suuuper light and simple to make, but I’m interested in seeing how these shapes/movements can be incorporated into more traditional stylized effects.


Looks super cool! <3

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Lil mini breakdown…

First I made this simple S shaped mesh in Houdini

Nothing too fancy - 2 half circles offset and fused into a curve - polyframe to add normals to the curve. Hexes are low res tubes copied with pscale driven by U position of curve.

These are mesh particles in a simple niagara emitter with the meat of the setup in the following scratchpad

Breaking down the HLSL

// here we're positioning the particles evenly in a circle
// circularrot is a user parameter which adds additional rotation around the circle
// (id/numpoints) just gives us a 0-1 value for each existing particle
float angle =  3.14 * 2 * (id/numpoints) + circularrot;
pos = radius * float3(cos(angle), sin(angle), 0);

// now we need to made the particles face and rotate inwards

// as our particles are in a circle around the origin, a vector pointing to the center 
// can just be their normalized position 
N = normalize(pos); 
// normal up vector
up = float3(0,0,1);
// vector pointing around the circle is the cross product of these two vectors 
cp = cross(N, up);

this gives us something like this:


We’re just using time to offset the angle, and we can add twists around the circle by offsetting it further with our normalized particle id.

// twist is our output that gets added to our final value, 
// twists is a user parameter
twist = (id/numpoints) * twists * 3.14 * 2;

We just switch out our mesh from Houdini, use our angle to offset a color ramp in the material and that’s pretty much it ¯_(ツ)_/¯


nice, thanks for taking the time making a nice breakdown! <3

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inspired by (heavily ripping off) this:

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Dipping my toes into 2d fx animation waters. Made this in Adobe Fresco on my ipad


VDBs in Unreal are wild


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