Vibranium Sand WIP

Something got me thinking about the Black Panther movie recently, and how incredibly cool the “vibranium sand” effects in it were, so I decided to try to recreate them in real time.

I figured meshes would be too expensive for the number of particles I’m using, so I used masked sprites with a normal map instead, SubUV-ing for variation:

Conveniently, masked sprites don’t need sorting, and they can cast shadows—the self-shadowing inside the particle volume helps the look a lot.

Next step from here is making it take on a shape, then transform between different ones; this is in Niagara, so that should be doable. Hope y’all like this—I’d welcome any feedback or suggestions. :slight_smile:

edit—forgot to mention, I found a bunch of info from the people who came up with the idea—turns out it’s based on a real-world experiment, which is wild!


Yoooo! what a cool way to go about this! I wouldnt have thought of it. Whats the first shape that you’re going to have it form into?

No idea! I could be cliché and use the Stanford Bunny / Utah Teapot models, but there’s gotta be something more appropriate. Thoughts?

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Sorry for the noob question: how do you setup masked sprite? It can be done through cascade also?

masked just refers to the material blend mode - same as translucent, opaque, additive etc.



this is gonna be lame, but I honestly was thinking, a panther when I saw this haha.

Pretty sick!

Whats the particle count in that gif?

Around 40k, and it’s still hitting 90+ fps on my machine so there seems to be plenty of room to expand if I need to.

Hi Mahalis,

very sexy result!!! …Very simple but impact full technic!!!
Thank you for sharing it!


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Very cool work. How’s your experience with Niagara been so far?

Mostly fantastic—I love the flexibility, and there’s a ton of great built-in stuff. There’s one weird bug I’ve hit recently while trying to extend it, and a QoL-y feature I’d like to see, but overall it’s been tremendous fun so far.

That’s great to hear. I’m the Niagara lead, so please feel free to DM me any feedback you have as you go along.

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