Your favorite VFX | What inspires you?

What are some examples of VFX you guys love, be it from games/movies/etc? Those effects that just feel perfect, and inspire you to create and improve?

My favorite, and pretty much the reason I got into VFX in the first place, HAS to be the work of Relic Entertainment, and more specifically, Company of Heroes. Not gonna lie, I partly made this thread just to gush about CoH’s fx design.

Company of Heroes has some of the most complex and beautifully crafted VFX I’ve ever seen in a game, even a decade after it’s release. There’s an incredible artistry to Relic’s work, from the texture art to the particle system design. They capture so many minute details, from puffs of dust kicking up as debris from an explosion rains down, to little licks of flame splashing against the ground as a flamethrower roars.

The way smoke and debris blast off in big directional jets is a sort of trademark to Relic’s fx design, and it’s something not many other games accomplish as successfully. All of their effects have a fantastic feeling of volume and presence. Explosions feel like they’re ripping the ground up into the sky.

I poured through their texture files and it’s crazy how many different variants there are of smoke and debris jets, for all kinds of different sizes of impacts. In general it’s incredible how many different textures they have for their effects, most of them hand painted as well, all for very specific use in different situations.

I’m still trying to capture the ‘juice’ Company of Heroes had in it’s effects, and it’s not easy. Their effects are so intricate with the textures they use and how to utilize them, I’m still noticing new things about how they designed their effects even to this day.

It doesn’t help that I haven’t had a chance to work with an engine that can do velocity aligned particles that only align to their INITIAL velocity. That’s what makes those jets of debris feel so good, since they can have them align to an initial velocity, then make them fall down as if gravity were affecting them, WITHOUT affecting their angle.

Though I definitely feel that with more practice and some studies, I can incorporate some of their tricks into my own effects. CoH is the bar I’ve set for myself, and I hope one day I’ll be able to achieve a similar level of artistry.

Of course, that’s just me! What are your guys’ picks for favorite VFX?


Good shout, CoH had some mind blowing visuals way back, and still hold their own today. For sure they really nailed the weightiness of their explosions; everything felt so gritty.

Favourite VFX? So many to choose from! :grinning:

I could probably list at least 100 games with awesome VFX - obvious contenders in more recent years would be Uncharted, Battlefield, CoD, Far Cry, Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy. All of those games set a really high benchmark! Here are some that might be a little less obvious in peoples’ minds:

Metal Slug - explosions! Possibly the first game that got me really paying attention to effects. I remember spending many lunch-breaks trying to make my own pixelated explosion (think I still have a gif of it somewhere!)

Super Mario Galaxy - just a perfect example of effects complimenting the overall game aesthetics. No one single VFX stands out but the overall result is beautiful.

Team Fortress 2 - similar reason as Mario, just loads going on, all sits brilliantly within the game’s overall aesthetic

Resident Evil 4 and 5 - can’t find a decent video link but these games had some incredible exploding barrels!

Street Fighter 4/Guilty Gear X - stunning beat-em-up VFX, totally OTT in a good way!

Like I said, I could go on and on! Looking foward to seeing some more obscure references from the rest of you guys :boom:


Company of Heroes is definitely one of my all times favorite in terms of VFX, and one of the biggest inspirations till today. Those effects just look like something straight out of the historical video chronicles or WW2 films, and brings immersion of the game to the next level. Same thing with the CoH2. And it’s not just Relic hit ther mark with the explosions, muzzle flashes, weather conditions, collapsing buildings, flamethrowers, everything in this game is absolutely amazing.

Here some additional info about how some effects are made in CoH and other Relic games.


As far as games go, this is the game series that really just made me WANT to make games, and want to make VFX for them.

(edit: apologies, best video quality I could find at the moment)

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I watch this gameplay trailer from Lost Ark sometimes. Timing, anticipation, animations, layering are nearly perfect. For me, this is epic and inspires me!


never heard of this game but defiantly looks good. quality hack n slash effects !

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Well, it’s very old but when I was a kid Diablo 2 had really Great VFX.
they are rusty but I still love them !

(sorry for the HUGE amount of Tp)


There is no doubt company of heroes have VFX pretty great form.

Personally to me, Its very hard to pick one as there are tonnes of amazing games out there having wonderful VFX. I really liked the VFX in the good old Prince Of Persia game which arrived in 2008. To me, That game was made for VFX. The illustrative art-style and the game design demanded it massively and as a player i thoroughly enjoyed the game in a fantasy world packed with quality effects during battles particularly. That is one style of effects.

Uncharted 3 had also great quality VFX in many sequences. In recent times, Civ VI has employed awesome VFX and there are tonnes of them there. Perfect Nukes explosions


I am very biased when it comes to the final fantasy games. I usually remember their effects being better, I think maybe the sfx is what made them so good, something I really should learn aswell.

I usually look at how Final fantasy has done their effects if I feel that I am stuck.

I really love the Company of Heroes effects also. They just come in really well, it really feels like it lives in the COH world. I would definitely want to make similar type of effects.


It’s neat seeing your inspiration because of how distinct your style is.

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off-late, I have been hugely inspired by Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the wild and Overwatch effects. Both are diverse in their nature yet stylized. And most recently, The effects in Horizon Zero Dawn are breathtaking as well


While I’ve definitely been enjoying the Fx of Battlefield I and Titan Fall 2…I have to say some of the most inspiring fx are from Torchlight II. Beautifully hand crafted textures.

Hell yeah to Company of Heroes. All their shaders were hot too.
Guilty Gear X for instant “pow”
American McGee’s Alice had the scariest goop ever.
Darksiders and God of War had some awesome fire.

But my hands down, all time, top to bottom mega show is BAYONETTA.
Seriously, I could play that game a million times for the Fx. Great animation and shaders. Hardly a flaw EVER.

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Hey all,

Sega Alien soldier – all weapons, This game is just epic
Diablo 2 – necromancer Corpse explosion
StarCraft – Nuclear launch detected, Lurker attack 
World of Warcraft– Frost bolt, Fireball, Frostfire bolt, Deep freeze, Comet Storm,
Blizzard, arcane missiles and many more.
League of legends ,Lux – That laser ulty is so epic and satisfying, could not stop playing her.
Heroes of the storm, Nova – “snipe shot” and “precision strike” Played her for days just because of those abilities.


Hi Vman,

One of my favorit effects are from giantic!!! They looks beautiful and it is one of my best refs to do cartoon FX in 3d space!!!


This one scene, film but whatever. It inspired my work during my Masters. Because of that it got me my job. I still watch it from time to time. The scale, the music, the intensity, the colour palette. Its absolutely perfect. Better yet, entirely Houdini based and the supervisor went to the same university.


My favorite games for effects would have to be:

World of Warcraft: Paladin effects! Specifically Blade of Justice.
League of Legends: Thresh’s effects are really cool and have great color
Hearthstone: All of the portals! I love them
Overwatch: Every effect? Seriously the team kills it with the VFX for Overwatch but I’d have to say my absolute favorite would be Zarya’s effects. Although I’m not a mega fan of her ult’s effect.
Dragon Age: Inquisition: The mage effects are really great. I love the runes that are put down and they have a nice look while also staying within the realm of realism.

Aaaand because people are also sharing videos…
Mass Effect: Andromeda Biotics are so pretty

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Some new stuff that’s inspiring:

Battlefield 1: the quality on PS4 is awe-inspiring, and I firmly believe that it will be one of those games that still looks as good, if not better, than whatever launches with PS5

Quantum Break: I’m not sure I can think of any other game, where I look at the vfx and just think to myself “I have no idea how they did that…”

Tales of Berseria: A big shout out to any FX artist who works on intense anime-style vfx like that. I can’t wrap my head around how those artists are even able to visualize those effects, let alone make the textures and particle systems to make them look that good


I have been bench-marking Heroes Of Storm from Blizzard off-late. The game has some top-notch VFX. In Love with the Sandy Stormy Ring like Effect starting 0:53 specially. Some really really cool VFX out here.


Yeah, the psx Final Fantasies are great, I love how they approach effects with good design + simple solutions.
Other big influence for me is real life actually. Since childhood I always liked firecrackers and water baloons :wink: