VFX Portfolio (WIP) - Augustus Allen [2016]

Awesome Reel! If it’s WoW you’re after, make sure to chat with @Sai and @SarahCarmody.

Better to hear than too short! Haha Okay, I’ll start trimming the fat and refine the best.

I kept the camera at 1 angle because it demonstrated the effects the best (quick and snappy). As for a character casting it w/ an environment, I had originally done that here, but it was far more time consuming and I couldn’t get as much done. I decided to save the fanciness for the finishing blow haha.


I’m gonna just do a burn/dissolve for the shields like the skull. Add some fire sparks and smoke perhaps.

The bubbles was a reference to Vlad’s skill in League of Legends. I’ll drop that.

Ya, the UFO is a bit strange and I can adjust the timing better. I don’t get what you mean by “opposite direction” for the smoke. Perhaps I need to make the smoke spin while it’s pushing out radially? Can be dropped if it lacks energy.

I made the projectiles a certain speed so they can be seen better. I can totally make them fast as hell but it’d be hard for the eyes to register. I’ll create a separation between the speeds (slightly faster/slower) for better impact. I’ll cut out the “Lux sphere” thing since its slow.

For the “undertale” spear stuff, it’s super low-poly and I was going for a pix-elated effect. Perhaps I can resolve it by making the heart HD or something. That way there’s less disconnect.

For the pinata and skull, I was going for a “Wildstar” and “Stylized Pinata” look. I guess it’s like a King game? If it’s uninteresting or weak, I can always remove it. The idea here is to stand-out with variety/techniques.

Ya, the lightning is pretty noisy, especially the spinning lightning triangle. I wanted to display alot of electro-static energy and make it have impact. I’ll reduce down the noise so there’s more clarity.

What would you recommend I do for the static camera angle? It was intended for viewing ease as seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYl4MGI2geg&index=23&list=PLGL1ywscbgeTCvVLoNgS5ux6PTyXFwBYS

Based on what I’ve seen from WoW, alot of stuff is seen from a distance and typically from above when fighting. Wouldn’t different camera angles foreshorten the effect, especially if I only showed it once and quickly?

Alrighty, thanks for the input so far! I’ll get at it with those changes!

Thanks man! Love your tutorials, they helped alot! The radial guide is an awesome trick I use it on 90% of my effects haha.

Okay, I’ll be sure to give them a ping.

Here’s a small update. I cut out stuff that was recommended. A piece I’d consider weak (but that I like) is the pop-tart nuke thing. Mainly because the frame-rate dips whenever I record it I may have to remove it altogether. It’s got nice colors and its strange. I was thinking about doing a “nyan cat nuke” with the screen cracking or something. Now its just a flying poptart.

I’d also consider the “Rift jump” to be weak, since I’m unsure of it’s quality. It looks neat but is it good? Perhaps the “Googly-eye rock” as well? Or maybe the rock rift & healing (+) spell because their too simple? Would you cut out anymore or is it fine? After things have been refined/removed I’ll start working on the Reaper part.


I also worked on that arm. It was horrible before, I’m glad people pointed things out. I’ll be sculpting on that while working on the Reaper animation. The arm will be mostly inside the ground, bending to restrain the sphere.

I’d still say you could reduce your reel down at least 30-45 seconds more, down to 1:30/1:45. I have a short attention span and anything over 2 minutes is pushing it for me honestly. I know it’s hard to pick and choose but it really helps to have fewer really solid pieces IMO.

These are my favorite pieces:

heart/arrow 0:22 (one of most favorite)
bloody axe 0:37
vodoo 0:42 (one of most favorite)
butterflies 1:11
health 1:37
rainbow beams 1:46
trinity force 1:51 (although needs shine when trinity comes together)
first Ice hit 0:26
skull 0:14

least favorite:

rainbow box 1:19
heart arrow 0:35
wings 0:40
pinata 0:52
lightning 1:16

Are you looking for feedback on changing the pieces that exist or just taking them out/leaving them? I would recommend taking a few pieces and just push a bit more polish into them. Some like the alien one are so close but could use just a small amount of extra polish. For example I’m seeing a lot of trails that are very plain, and don’t have a mult or any design to them. Also it seems like the smoke in some places is all very much the same as the one at 0:26 emitting in a ring (green). A little more definition to some interesting shapes instead of basic clouds could help it.

Anyhow, best of luck man!

Hey, thanks for the specifics! I’ll remove the suggested ones and tweak whats needed. Ya I have to remember that hiring is going through millions of reels and can lose interest pretty fast.

Ya, the trails need more work. I’m gonna go for something like this Shannon Berke - LoL FX + Knowledge Share for some trails. I really love that effect.

Cool idea on the trinity! I’ll add an emissive pulse (kinda like heart).

Yes, I agree with you on the UFO. It’s definitely lacking in the smoke area. I’m having a hard time figuring out how the smoke should look (whether its more full or empty), since it’ll be duplicated/rotated/etc multiple times.

I’ll apply the necessary changes to get it to that industry quality haha. Thanks for the input!

Okay, I dropped the weaker pieces and updated some. Added a trail effect to 3 of the VFX.The frame-rate dropped on the ones with trails (ShaderForge mixed with Trail Renderer).

Also, it seems that I can’t get the trail renderer to stay on top of the bone/mesh and it’s set a few steps back. It looks like its trailing from an empty space, but things are moving so fast it’s not as noticeable. Not sure why it works in some areas (ice spike & ufo) but not in others (horde shield’s axe).

Should I drop the snowball (0:27), wildstar skull (0:41), laser (0:43), rock rift (1:13), healing [ + ] (1:11), or golden healing (1:17) to reduce the video length further? Or is it fine as it is? I’m open to further reduction haha.


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hey man great visuals, but I have only one problem, I’m not an expert but I could easily find many times the textures being trimmed (I guess because they reach the quad boarders), or they go through the ground… I cant tell because the colors and angle makes it impossible to get the right perspective.

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Hey, thanks! Ya I agree with you, good eye.

There’s a feature called soft-particle in Unity but it doesn’t seem to work for me. I’ve cranked up the values (max 1-3) in hopes that it would blend the hard edges with the ground. The particles still cut into the ground pretty harshly.

For some particles I’ve used Shuriken’s 3D Rotation feature to tilt the texture towards the camera. That only works on certain pieces and looks funny on others such as smoke since it squashes it a little. It does resolve clipping though.

However, I just noticed that by slightly changing the pivot (Z-axis), the smoke is above the ground (no squash/no clip). Looks like this is the solution!

Thanks for the input man! I’ll correct that right away! Haha.

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That’s the solution if you are making the effect for a fixed camera. That’s what I meant by it looking like it was mobilespecific. In that world, the Zoffset hack is acceptable. In a game where you can move the camera, it is not.

Gotcha. I’ll keep that in mind for future projects.

For demo purposes would it be okay? The soft-particle doesn’t work for me so I’m unclear on a solution. For now, I’ll keep it as it is.

Alright, here’s the latest iteration. I removed the ground clipping. Tweaked some VFX.

Is there anything else you’d reccomend me fixing/changing/removing? If not, I’ll continue working on my Reaper VFX. Thanks!


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Ah man I’ve had non stop issues with soft particles as well. It’s a real pain at times. As you can see in this POST about the weapon glows/rendering order issues. Your best bet is to use shaders to perform that task instead of Shuriken although I’m a noob at them and probably Ohad or Sirhaian can guide you better there .

Here’s something I’m working on at the moment with soft particles turned off and on respectively, you can see the difference:

Now I’m not an expert in any way so here’s some my best advice regarding your demo reel TEST-04:

  1. The skull at 0:14 when it fades out the sparks at the end I would probably make them less sharper so they look more mystic and smoky instead of electric-y.
  2. 0:28 to 0:31 the impact need to be a bit more snappy. Like yours, stay for a bit and then fade out slowly. As per my knowledge, normally impacts last for 0.1 to 0.2 of a second. In some instances 0.05 even. But you may just be going for a different style.
  3. The lasery beams at 0:44 I would suggest adding a bit more power to them. Refer to THIS POST for some excellent feedback on @Agilethief’s art test. You can see a bunch of things happening when the beams hit the ground and move etc. I agree that Unity’s shuriken is limited but try what you will mate.

I absolutely LOVE the UFO, Axe with blood and the voodoo mask sack. I would recommend re-arranging them up ahead to catch the viewer’s eye so they can get hooked and then continue watching the rest of the video with interest.

All the best with your reel mate. :upside_down:

Okay, I see what you’re saying about the sorting. It looks like it’s one of those programmer things that’s over my head haha. Looks like Unity’s soft-particle DOESN’T work.

Cool aura by the way, I really like that. I really need to step it up on the next one!

  1. Okay, the skull sparks are easily fixed.
  2. Ye, I assumed snow lingers for a bit, but it looks like it overstayed.
  3. As for the laser, I’ll try to match it with something similar. That cyclops laser looks pretty dope. Looks like a tiling texture to me haha.

Thanks! Also, good point. Can’t unload too early, gotta sprinkle it in haha.

Alright, I made the changes and shuffled the VFX more. Hopefully the order is more interesting now.

If you’ve got a better arrangment, I’d be glad to hear it. Any more advice?


You’ve improved some pieces quite a bit, nice work! For me there’s one thing that really pops out, and it’s the hit effects on a couple pieces:

It feels very static because the shape is on the screen so long and there’s no real motion to it. I’d play with it a bit more to break it up.

Ok. I’m going to drop the impact one since its pretty bland. I’ll add more motion to the bottle w/ a nice dissolve.

The chest and champagne bottle need to be re-textured as suggested by a friend. They’re currently unusable (aka old ass clip-art). I’ve gotten some cool suggestions so far so I’ll be changing that.

The overall colors/shapes/sizes of all VFX’s need some minor tweaking as well, too similar.

Looks like I need to readjust my entire composition as well. Too much black space (originally intended to give more room for larger/farther effects.) I’ll need to zoom in more so it fits better.

I also need to cut out some VFX for a Blizzard Specific reel. I’ll end up having two different reels.

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0:33 to 0:36 you can see some good subtle impact mate. You can see if you wanna apply that to yours instead of totally dropping them out. :upside_down:

Aye, I meant one specifically (0:39), not all of them XD. But ya, that was my main reference point for the projectiles. I’ve recently added some color variation to all the effects (hints of red/green/blue) for color depth.

I was looking at different color palletes. Colder tones seem to head towards purple/red. I do realize that the icicle projectile is starting to look too similar to the arcane shot. Both are fast projectiles and have the same impact lotus. I’ll need to fix that up.

Here’s a basic rendition of where I’m headed for the bottle rework. Some kind of Night-elf Invisibility potion. Textures still need alot of work. Perhaps the bottle pours smoke onto the sphere or something.

Chest still being built. Some wierd optical illusion going on with the reference lol (Warcraft “Sturdy Chest”; bottom brackets don’t make sense from different angles?). I worked around that though so that should be out in a bit.

[Updated 11:48pm]


Okay here’s a more refined version of the idea. I readjusted the bottle’s color scheme (wasn’t paying attention before).

For some reason I hear strange VFX noises in my head lol. Typically to the beat of 1-2-1-2 or 1-2-3 in this case.

Does the VFX feel connected or it still lacking? What additional features/changes would you make to enhance its quality? Perhaps a faint moon logo beneath the sphere to connect it to the portal?

The caustics mesh and vertex offset is really cool. Thanks Sirhaian and ShannonBerke for the awesome breakdowns!