VFX Journal - Marcus Bruzzese

Hey all, my name is Marcus and I’ve seen some others that have their own sort of VFX logs here so I figure, why not make my own?

A bit of history: This was from my first job in the industry on an officially licensed CCG for BlazBlue. We used Unity and it was the first game that I had ever actually worked with particles for. We used Unity and the game was developed for iPad.


And here are a few pieces that I have been working on lately.

Sketch #3 - Dragon’s Breath

Shield Effect WIP

Arcane Explosion WIP


Started to work on a new effect. Going for a chain lightning effect and just to practice with electric effects.

Plans: Going to add a nicer buildup with a different cone mesh and swirling energy along with some electric charges for the effect. Also going to rework/add more of the lightning bolts that are currently in there.

EDIT: I do know that the size of the bolts do not quite reach the second sphere.


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Hi Marcus,

Great work, the blazblue ones are my favourite, I’m using unity and learning too. I was wondering if on the BlazBlue FX did you use sprite textures in Unity’s Shuriken? Or handdrawn flipbooks or shaders with meshs. My untrained eye is really curious as to how you achieved the effects. :smiley:


Thank you! Looking back at those effects there is so much I would do different, but the goal was to match the most recent BlazBlue at the time (Chrono Phantasma), which I think we did pretty well on.

We used flipbooks with Shuriken for the animated pieces (like Noel’s muzzle flashes) and then mainly just basic particles for the rest. The only special extra piece that we used was on Hazama’s attack the chain was using a line renderer with the chain material attached and following the snake head.

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A bit more work tonight on the lightning effect. Will be making it chain next pass, but I wanted to work a bit more on the timing of the buildup and the actual buildup effect itself.

My notes: Clipping on the swirling material, need to fix. Need to replace the swirling material texture with something handmade that isn’t just photoshop clouds.


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Started a beam effect tonight as well

HD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T91zb0RVZA&feature=youtu.be


I really like the shapes in your lightning, it feels really nice! The beam is coming along nicely as well. I like the hue variation, it feels good. The beam itself feels very solid, and minus the secondary spark elements from the cast its hard to tell directionality within the beam itself. A very subtle mult or slight variation in that beam texture might help give it that readability :slight_smile:

Keep it up man!

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Thats some nice work!

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@NateLane Thank you! I need to put a bit more work into the lightning still, right now they are just billboarded planes and I want to skew and twist them a bit so they look better from all angles. I do actually have a panning material going in the direction of the beam, I will push it further though to make it more obvious and have the beam be less solid. Thank you for the comments, I’ll post updates to the beam after work today.

@Ali Thank you :slight_smile:

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Did some more finalization on this arcane explosion. Changed the timing up a little, made the effect a bit longer, and all sorts of fun.

HD: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MJFAn_PQLc


Looking cool, got potential!

The final lingering purple particles, can you add some more outwards velocity on a few of them?
Maybe continue the smoke sphere’s outwards rather than contracting back in.

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For the lingering particles, I did originally have them flying away a bit faster, but it just kind of looked like a firework so I kept them real slow to maybe look like remnants of the core orb; I guess that thought didn’t read as well as I figured it would. I’ll play around with the velocity a bit more, maybe I’ll try some weird orbit stuff too. Any thoughts?

For the smoke that also lingers after, I have that as a panning shader and the particles themselves are rotated randomly. I still want to keep the clouds randomly rotated so it doesn’t look all the same. Any ideas for making them only pan out or something? Maybe just a size by life making them a bit larger over time could give the illusion of it.

I wouldn’t go against “firework” really, it’s an explosion so stuff should radiate out (or it doesn’t feel as cool).
Like triple their max velocity and vary the lifetimes.

Not so much the purple smoke, but the 3 cloudlike spheres you’ve got here:

It’s got a cool feel, the way they contract, but I don’t think it helps with the release of energy.
Maybe it adds some character though!

I see what you’re saying, I’ll firework it up! :smiley: I’ll also add more of a range between the lifetimes on those particles, right now I think it’s something small like 0.5 - 1s. I’ll stretch that out too.

And oh durr! You were talking about that!
It’s supposed to be a dissolving effect on the shader (like this except to nothing instead of to another material: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1CezXRJu5E)

I guess the idea behind it is like the glowing core of the energy buildup is shattering in the explosion and the remnants are sort of fizzling out. Maybe it would read better if I used a different dissolve texture?




Trying for something out of my comfort zone. Worked on this spike attack effect tonight, Made a rough spiky model just to use for now to start actually getting in there and animating.

The white outline will be ground cracks that will come out with the effect as it comes out. I will be adding more than just the crappy smoke particles as well.

Any thoughts on a buildup? I definitely want something. Torn between doing something similar to Reinhardt’s ultimate or going more for just like a spell effect type thing.

Anyways, here’s the WIP:


Putting the Impale effect to the side for now, I’ve been really busy with some contract work and other VFX things. Was taking a break from some work today and decided to make a quick heal effect.

Going to be working on a small personal project where I basically will take some of the planeswalkers from Magic: the Gathering and make VFX for some of their abilities as if they were in maybe like a MOBA or something. So here is what would be one of Nissa’s abilities which is a +3 heal.

Comments and crits are always welcome! Going to try and work in a bit more color and also some more overall effects to this, but I would love to hear your input before I continue.


Really like the healing effect! Maybe something you could try would be to add a little swirl that quickly rotates around while ascending. I found that it generally adds a good “healing” feel to an effect. :slight_smile:

Maybe something like this, but a lot less visible, and green:

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Good idea Sirhaian! I’ll post up an update tonight.

Going to fiddle with some of the textures as well to make them a bit more hand painted. Right now I’m just using some caustics from a generator that I believe it was you who shared a while ago (awesome tool by the way :slight_smile: )

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I’d add an inverted fresnel material to the cylinder, just to soften those outer edges a bit. The lines are very crisp, and my eye reads “mesh” instead of upwards energy