Monday, 23 December 2013

VFX Reel

So I've finally got a rough copy of my reel up. I'll put this up on some forums to get some feedback on this before I produce a finalised version to then start applying for jobs. Exciting stuff :)

0:04-0:36: Alleyway Scene; responsible for all assets and textures, as well as all effects
0:37-1:00: Gas Station Scene; responsible for assets and all effects
1:01-1:10: Fire and smoke
1:11-1:16: Bullet tracers and impacts
1:17-1:23: Electric energy shots and impacts
1:24-1:45: Energy beam
1:46-2:02: Portal spell

Wednesday, 11 December 2013


So I'm finally finished with this project, having added in a quick animation that I did for the staff in 3ds max. It was actually really fun working on even such a simple animation, it's definitely something that I'm looking forward to getting more into. 

Now I'm looking forward to starting some new projects. Maybe work on improving the way I render out my projects.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Just a quick update with some slight changes I've made to the effect. All that I've got left to do is try and make an animation for the staff and set up a proper render.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Bringing it together

After being out of the country for a quick break, it's time to get back to it. I've got the majority of the work done for this project now. The only parts that are left are to do with the final render, like building a small environment and putting together an animation for the staff etc.

Having just put this together I've noticed that the core light of the energy build up fades out a little slowly so I'll just have to quickly tweak the timing, but that's only a small issue. However, I'm still not sold on my approach to the portal itself. I came across an interesting approach to this type of effect by Epic for the UDK itself, in which they use a mesh and bend the UV's to get a really nice tendril effect in the material. I'm thinking of exploring this option because I experimented with having the portal by itself, supporting effects both infront and behind it but nothing worked in my opinion so I feel I will need to revise it before finishing this off completely.

In other news, this is the last project that I had planned for my portfolio so now I can start to think about rendering out my other projects and putting them together in a show reel.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Portal Update

Just a quick update on my portal effect. This is just a simple emitter at the moment with it spawning the portal shader in cascade. 

It's set up so that I can control the growth, edge colour intensity and the distortion on the portal interior all on the fly in cascade with a dynamic parameter. The colour of the edge is controlled by a vector parameter through a material instance. 

This is only the portal right now but I'm going to give it a lot of supporting sprites to help sell the effect of it bursting into life and also some to give a bit of extra visual fidelity to the portal itself, as I feel it's a bit dull by itself. I also want to go back and add a bit more visual interest to the portal interior, like some nebula clouds to just make it look more interesting.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Magic and Portal

So it's been a while since I last updated my blog, but at the start of this month my laptop decided to break unexpectedly and I've only just gotten my new one through and set up. It's nice to get back into work again and I thought I'd do a quick update on my current project.

This is the progression of my idea from the previous post. The idea is that this part below would be attached to the top of a staff, through a bone and socket.  

The staff would then cast the element below. The intention is that this will be a build up of energy that will then explode outwards leaving behind it a portal type of effect.

I'm thinking of doing the majority of the portal effect through a shader, like using techniques for material transitions to adjust the growth and expansion of the portal. I'll then support the portal with a particle system to tie the whole effect together.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Fire and Ribbons, what could go wrong

I've been trying to hone the basics recently, more particularly working on improving my fire effects. These are just some tests focusing on using different textures to obtain a different look and scale of fire.  

I feel like, even though there's still a lot of work to do and progress to be made, that it's definitely coming along. And I've also made some progress on the gas station scene. I think it's getting very close to being finished.

In other news, I decided to knuckle down and properly learn how to use ribbons. I thought that doing some bullet trails would be a good way to practice using ribbons. So here are some concepts I came up with so that I could do some more exciting ribbons than bullet tracers.

And here are the renders for the outcomes. I like the overall outcome, in that I think they have an alright aesthetic and that I learnt a lot about how to use ribbons. But I do think that perhaps the impact effects of the electric and energy shots are a little too visually noisy and complicated. I think that they could probably do with being simplified.

This is something that I worked up for my next project. I want to work on something that has various stages to it and also something that forces me to use different skills. Plus, it'll be nice to work on something not based in reality.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Before and After

Been working some more on the gas station scene now that I've got the majority of the trial and error out of the way. Below is how it was looking before.

And now for how it's looking at the moment. It's still very much WIP but at least it's an improvement.

As I said, it's still a WIP but it's a vast improvement from my previous attempt. First of all, not sure why the initial explosion is rendering so poorly. But other than that, I still need to rework the RPG as I'm not very practised with using ribbons but I was planning on doing some work with ribbons after this project to get a better sense of them.

The fire needs some major work I feel. I think that the material and the particle system is good, but I think that the scale of the texture is wrong. Whilst this would be idea for a torch or a camp fire, it doesn't have enough textural detail to suggest that it's a large roaring fire. I need some more practice creating high detail fire sims anyway so I might do some more to generate the textures I need.

I also need to make the particle system for the fire on the pillar and once I've done that it'll tie in the fire licks that come up over the top, so that they look less out of place and actually have a cause to start. And I also think that I need to give the larger explosion a bit more punch. Though once I've got the ribbon done for the RPG I can reuse it for some debris trails.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Explosion Updates

So here's what I've been working on recently. Currently in the process of reworking this gas station scene and here's where I'm at with the explosion. It still needs a lot of work but thought I'd do a quick update. 

First issue is the trails of debris from the explosion. I don't like the use of sprites so I am thinking about using ribbon data instead. I just couldn't get the trails to not be so popcorny. I also need to re time the lighting and work some more on the shape of the explosion. It doesn't look right as it fades when you can see stray sprites. 

This is something that I've been reworking recently, just tweaking a bit to make it ready for when I redo my portfolio. Though this was also a test of render styles. I was looking back and I didn't like all the black emptiness so I was trying out how fog affects the feel of it. I like it, but I'll probably need to redo the whole scene to make it portfolio ready.

Friday, 9 August 2013


Just a quick update as I've been reworking one of my old projects and I thought it'd be interesting to compare the original and this new one I'm currently working on. 

The one on the left is the original and the one on the right is the new one. Admittedly the new one still isn't quite there yet but it's just nice to see the improvement for myself. Though I'm struggling to mesh the fire and the smoke together in a coherent manner. I like the fire, it's got a nice fluidity to it and it has a lot of variation. And I like the smoke, the flow maps give a a good sense of internal motion. But I don't like how they work together, they look too much like separate entities.  

Monday, 5 August 2013

Flame On

So I've been practising my work with fire in both simulations and realtime work. As I'm currently redoing the gas station scene from scratch I thought that I'd start it properly by going back to making some fluid sims for tests. This was a good opportunity to get some more practice using Maya Fluids. I feel like I'm getting more used to it now, I'm definitely more confident in my ability to use it to create flipbooks and textures. 

I made other sims to make into flipbooks as well as use them to generate the textures below.

Instead of creating flipbooks I decided to have a go at using UV distortion. Although it's more expensive than just using flipbooks, it provides more variation and thus looks more natural. I also implemented alpha erosion within the material as well as I thought it was a more realistic approach to fire, although it bumps up the cost of the material. 

Although I like this approach, as it gives a good natural result, I need to work on the alpha erosion as you can see there's some popping. I don't know whether I need to rework the setup or switch back to usual alpha fading. I'll try to stick to alpha erosion as I don't like how the normal alpha fades in and out so uniformly because it doesn't look realistic enough. And yes, I think I may have overdone the bloom :) 

Sunday, 28 July 2013

RnD and Sparks

So recently I've been doing a bit of RnD whilst finishing off the sparks project. I've been trying to get better acquainted with Maya Fluid Effects. I've used FumeFX before so I have experience with fluid simulations but I've been trying to get used to Maya as I've found it less taxing on my computer and quicker to iterate on. So this is just a quick simulation to get better with it, but I want to get better with it so that I can actually use it for RnD for FX for creating better and more realistic flipbooks. 

Another thing I was working on is using distortion for shockwaves in my effects. It's one of those things that I've found really lacking in my work, I didn't really know a good method for it. From left to right; using a black and white texture in the distortion, using a normal map in the distortion, using a panning texture with a sphere mesh, using a panning texture on a ring mesh. I feel that the one on the far left, using just a black and white texture in the distortion, is the strongest visual impact. A method I will employ in future work, especially with effects that have a strong impact or shockwave like explosions.

This is the final render for the downed wire project I was working on. I created the animation for the wire in Maya, though it's not a procedural animation so it might not be the most effective approach. I then attached the emitter and animated it in matinee. 

Monday, 15 July 2013

What's Keeping Me Busy

So it's been a while I guess, but now that uni's done I'm free to work for myself again. Obviously I've not been working all that hard, but having not seen my family in almost six months means I've had a lot to do since being back. 

But it's nice to have the freedom back again. I took a couple of hours the other day to just work on some idea generation. Admittedly, I still need to work on it but it's given some good starts for projects once I finish the projects for my demo reel. 

Speaking of, here's some of my progress on a couple of projects. First is the base for a downed wire. This is pretty much the particle system done, now I just need to make a wire and make an animation for it and then I can attach the emitter to it.

And second is a simple incense burner. This is practically finished I just need to render it out properly as this was done at a low res for speed and ease. But this was a nice project to work on to learn the basics of flow maps and how to create and implement them. Now this is something that I can take over into other projects as well.

As for what I'm working on now, I'm completely redoing the gas station explosion scene. I'd been working on it for too long and I was feeling like it was going nowhere. So I decided to completely redo it and took this as an opportunity to get myself more comfortable with using fluid sims.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Depth Bias Alpha and Plans

So now that I've effectively finished with uni I can finally take the time to get back into doing what I love. So I took some time to sit down and try and learn how to make my own depth bias alpha as it's something I end up using a lot in my FX and it's just so expensive. The base of this is from a section in Bill Kladis' recent tutorial. But I modified it to work directly in cascade as well as using some of the techniques from Uncharted 3's excellent FX presentation.

Above is just a simple test emitter with a simple circle sprite. As you can see where it intersects with the geometry it creates a hard edge.

Using a simple scene depth and pixel depth equation I was able to smooth out the edge. But I linked the control with a dynamic parameter so that I may control the softness of the intersection  directly in cascade.

Then using the idea behind the fire techniques in Uncharted 3 I was able to run a couple of gradients through the scene depth before it had the pixel depth subtracted from it. This breaks up the straight edge of the intersection to make it more natural and varied. This is great for effects such as fire, which is what I ended up trying it with. Again I can control the amount of noise with a power node connected to a dynamic parameter so I can control it on the fly in cascade.

Here you can see the material. It's still not exactly cheap so I have to be wary of how many particles I spawn but considering a normal depth bias alpha node generally pushes my materials above 50 instructions it's certainly much cheaper. And I could make it cheaper still, if it's just a smoke or any normal material that needs it I could remove the gradient stuff.  

And here is how it looks on a really basic fire emitter. But now I've learnt the basics of how it works I can start implementing this in my pipeline and decrease the instruction counts of my materials.

But now that this little experiment is over I should start thinking about what I'll be working on next. Now I've got the time to start working on my show reel properly, and not a rush job in a week for deadlines. I think that I've got a good starting point for one; I might render out my rain shader properly by itself as a break down of the street scene. I think I need to almost start from scratch with the gas station explosion and redo it. I can take this as an opportunity to really get to grips with Maya Fluids and improve on my skills using fluid sims. As for that spell effect, that just needs to go, it's just weak. But I think that if I worked just a bit more on the beam that I could get that to be a really nice effect.

Friday, 14 June 2013


00:00-00:36 - Alleyway Environment. I worked on all the environmental FX in the scene including all particle emitters and rain shader in UDK. All assets made by me as well.
00:37-01:00 - Gas station explosion. I made all the emitters and textures. Flipbook textures made in Maya using Maya Fluids and After Effects. In UDK.
01:01-01:30 -  Energy beam. I made all textures and emitters. In UDK.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Updates and Stuff

Here's a brief update on my gas station scene. I've not done much to it since the last time I updated. The only major change I've made is redoing the smoke plume after the second explosion. The rest is mainly just tweaking.

In other news, I've also finished up the majority of the work for my final major project at uni. It's so nice to have this finally in it's finishing stages. Not only did I learn a lot from this project but it's nice to have to finished so that I can be free to move onto other projects. 

Fire Tests

So I've been playing around with the smoke plume recently trying to get it just to look a little nicer. I was trying to implement fake lit particles as I've not worked with them before and I thought it would be a good place to try and get to grips with it. I also experimented using macro UVs. 

I really like the aesthetic of the one on the right, I think it also has much more fidelity. Unfortunately it's also far more expensive. So dat next-gen, huh? No, I definitely think that if I do want to use it for my final renders I'll definitely have to go in and strip it down to make it game ready. 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Blue or Orange??

I finally managed to figure out why UDK kept spawning the emitters twice. Months of trying to figure out what was wrong then you watch one tutorial and find out that it was just one measly check box. This happens too much in UDK. But now I can finally render out videos properly so it's all good.

So here's the ground attack again but now rendered properly. And below is the same effect but with just a different colour palette. Looking through my blog again I realised that I veer too easily to the blue spectrum and that maybe I should try using a different colour scheme once in a while. 

So I should be done with this one, for good now. But I might just quickly build a nicer environment to render it out properly just to look nice. But other than that I can get on with other things now.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Ground Attack Updates

So I got round to finishing this off over the weekend, kind of. I saw kind of because I've not done a final render for it I'm still using the level I was using to test it. I really should get round to building a nice render scene that I can use for most of my effects. 

Anyway, it looks a little different to how it was before because I got so frustrated with it not going the way I wanted and ended up completely redoing it but it all worked out for the better. The reason there are two videos for this is because I was not really sold on the dust streaks in the middle so I tried a render without them in to which I feel is a little lacking so I think I'll keep them.

And again I apologise for UDK's stupid rendering system, I've no idea why it insists on rendering every emitter twice with a fraction of a second delay. Every render I have ever done has done this so I'm not sure whether it's something I'm doing but I'll definitely get it fixed for proper renders.

As for now, I have to figure out why UDK's rendering emitters twice. But other than that I'm going to start trying to teach myself Maya this week as I feel I need to get to grips with it as it's very useful for an FX artist for both it's fluid dynamics and it's cloth simulations among other things.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Explosions and Other Stuff

So I'm still working away on the explosion as well as a bunch of other stuff. Getting close to deadlines for uni projects so I'm trying to balance my time effectively between that and other projects. But I just thought I'd do an update of what I've done to the explosion.

So I started to block out the second explosion. I'm trying to go for something much larger in scale than the initial explosion to give it that more variety but more to show that it's building up to something. Like I said, I've only really blocked it out at the moment so there are still some issues with the timing. And the biggest issue I've found is how to naturally blend between the roaring fire and the explosion, but it's all still very much WIP.

I've also whipped up a quick concept for the next thing I want to work on.

So basically the idea is that it'll start off as a small ball of energy that then starts gathering the energy around it. And as it starts to increase in size and take in more energy it'll become volatile and vibrate violently before exploding in a beam of energy. I think for the beam I'll try working with some mesh particles to get the overall shape down and probably work with some beam particles for the centre. I've never actually tried working with beam data so it's a good excuse to learn it. I think I might add some dust particles that shout out backwards at the initial release of energy to try and give it some nice counter motion.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Lantern Animation Test

I recently made a quick looping animation for a project I'm working on at uni. It was really fun and a really good excuse to teach myself something new. I've been wanting to have a crack at some small animations for a while now so this was a great opportunity to learn it. It's by no means great, or finished for that matter, but I do feel like it's definitely something I can learn.

This was only a test to see how it looked in UDK, although I've not managed to actually get it into UDK yet so now my next couple of days will be looking up tutorials of how to import and export animations. But once I actually get it in I feel that I'll have to redo it anyway. I feel like it's moving a little too far or too fast that once it's in level it'll look odd. Plus it looks a little rigid at the moment so I'll probably try and give it a bit more bounce and random movement next time.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Uni Work

I realised that I've mentioned the work I'm doing for uni but not actually shown it before. So I thought it'd be nice just to quickly whack up what I've been working on. This is close to but still not the finished piece so there's stuff that needs changing about and tweaking. Like I'm still having a little trouble with the cube map and looking at it the splashes look to opaque and vibrant so I should go and tone those done really. But it's coming along I guess. So enjoy.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Explosion Update

Just a quick update on how the explosion is progressing. The major things I need to fix are basically to make some more flipbooks, even if it's just like two then I can get a better sense of variety to make it look more natural. Other than that are the things that I need to add, like some large embers falling from the roof, and I'll make some glass shattering particle systems that follow the shockwave. And then I need to make the second explosion, which will be a lot of my focus at the moment.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Ice Spell Thing

So I finally think I might be done with this, finally. Although it would be nice to add an explosion or something that would happen on impact, just to give it a bit more validity and purpose. 

Looking at it now the trail looks like it lives a little too long, but considering that this was supposed to just be a very quick project I think it's time I just call it otherwise I'll just keep tweaking forever.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Finished Maybe?

So I've done a bit more work on this. I've given the core a bit more intensity and added in some mesh data for some whispy bits off the core. I've also reworked the sparkles coming out of the trail to give it more energy. I couldn't decide whether it'd look better having the trail expand over time to make it look like it was dissipating or whether to have the trail shrink over time to fade away so I did both. The first video is having the trail expand over time and the second video is where it shrinks. 

I still feel like my work lacks energy and that visual 'punch' that FX should have. Also looking at it the smoke textures look popcorny.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Right, so I spent my morning trying to fix some rendering errors with my ground attack thing to only discover that I couldn't get it to go away so I'm sure it'll be something that I'll have to look into later for when I inevitably have to rerender this out. No idea why it spawns two emitters on top of each other a fraction of a second apart but oh well. 

So this is the AoE type ground attack that I've been working on that I was talking about yesterday. In the first video it's just the normal one but in the second video I was experimenting with staggering the timing for a greater sense of impact. It's supposed to be that there's an initial hit then a brief pause before the main impact explodes outward. I think the idea is sound and would give the effect greater presence but I think I'm off with the timing as it isn't gelling together properly. 

So improvements. Obviously I've mentioned the timing. But I think the overall effect lacks that energy and impact you'd expect from an effect like this. I'll have to readdress the textures and see if I can't get some fast panners in there to maybe try and give it that energy. The other major problem is that I don't like the rocks that shot out. It's supposed to be the displacement of earth from the force of the impact but I think I've over done it. I think it would work a lot better if I tried something more subtle like a large indented crack where just some of the chunks of earth round the outside are sticking out.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Just Some Stuff

So I've been working on a few things recently just between projects. One is like an AoE ground attack and the other is this kind of ice spell. The only thing is that the videos I rendered out for the AoE seem to be having some troubles with spawning emitters on top of each other so I'll have to retry rendering it out tonight and try and fix the problem.

But on with the show I guess. I've had this idea rolling around in my head for a while, and especially after playing DotA I admit. But it was a good opportunity to learn about how ribbons work and how to implement them. So I worked up a really quick concept to just kind of help me visualise it. Below is my concept and a quick render of where it's out.

I apologise for the poor quality of the video but I can't seem to get ribbons to render in UDK, I had the same trouble with the previous gas station project. I'm only really just started with it so it's got a long way to go. A real big problem I see is that it lacks luster, it's not got that great sense of energy that something like this should have. But some things that I've seen that need changing is the centre point. It needs more too it to convey that sense of energy but also I think it's a little too long. The sparkles last too long around the centre, I want them to live longer as they leave a trail but they need to die really quickly at the centre. And the other thing is that I need to change the whispy ribbons that come from the centre, I think it's too expensive to have so many ribbons so I'm thinking I'll make some kind of whispy mesh for those parts.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Long Time No See :)

So I've not updated my blog in a long time so I think it's about time I get back into it. For a while I've had to put other stuff a little to the back whilst I work on my uni projects. But I'm starting to wrap up my uni projects so now I can get back into my personal projects. 

So I thought I'd give a bit of an update on my uni projects as well. For it I've been making a rain shader that uses up vectors to switch between a panning rain fall for walls and ripples for up facing normals. The scene needs a lot of work to it, like fixing the rain emitter and adding water running off of edges. And fixing up the steam coming from vents and adding steam coming from air conditioner units to make it feel a little atmospheric.

But for now I'm working on another portfolio piece. The idea is to have an RPG hit a gas station where there's an initial explosion and then it burns for a bit before it tiggers another larger explosion. It's only in its initial stages right now and some of the textures are old and in dire need of redoing. 

I'm thinking that the initial explosion doesn't have enough impact and I had to render another video from screen capture as the ribbon trail did't render in my initial render from UDK.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Back To Basics

So it's been a while since posted on here. I'll start with something I whacked out like a week or two ago that I never got round to putting up. It was supposed to be like some form of waypoint or objective mark like one might see in one of these modern day shooters. But I had a fair bit of trouble with it. I wanted it to be simple and clear to read but then I couldn't help feel that it was too simple. The original is the one of the left. As you can see I couldn't decide whether or not I'd gone too far so I tried one without the second set of rings. Put I thought it was far too simple. And the one in the middle is a toned done colour variant as I know I have a tendency to over use bloom. 

So I basically chalked this up to not having had a clear concept in my head. I'd done a bit of research but as I'd not concepted I'd not worked out the kinks, like how I can't get the balance between simple enough and overly complicated. But this got me thinking; maybe I'm jumping the gun too much? You can see it in my previous attempts, I'm thinking too much about utilising all these different techniques when I should take it back to basics and develop my fundamentals like timing, scale, aesthetic etc. 

That's why I've gone back to making smoke and steam. I would rather have a portfolio that demonstrated the everyday effects, like weather, fire, smoke, water and so on. Then I can take what I've learned from those and starting making the really awesome effects that are underpinned by core fundamentals. With that in mind I jumped into FumeFX to make some smoke sims and renders for flipbook textures.  

Now I really struggled with making smoke billow in fume, it always ends up looking really thin and never has the density of a thick pyroclastic cloud. I guess it'll just take me time and experience. 

However I ended up working too long on these and I got frustrated so I started making the particle systems in cascade using a single texture and distorting the UVs. I thoroughly enjoy working in this way. It speeds up my workflow immeasurably, the week and a half that I took to do the sims and get the renders (and their still not made into looping flipbook textures yet) compared to just quickly grabbing a frame from one of my renders and then that's it done. And I think the results are far better. Being able to distort the UVs gives a far more realistic interpretation of smoke and how it moves and diffuses. Unfortunately it is far more expensive and you really have to watch the spawn rate as not to kill the frame rate.

A few things that I'm not quite happy with in hindsight; I think the texture I used was wrong, I don't think it should have been so whispy at the base. I think if I used maybe a panning texture and stretched it it would have had a stronger silhouette and looked like it had more pressure.

I think that this one ended up being far too thick at the top and much too transparent at the base. I think that I need to go back and redo the alpha over life maybe and tweak so of the values.

I think that the biggest issue throughout my tests is that the textures aren't right. Looking at all these tests now it's got almost a stylised aesthetic when I was aiming for realism. I think I'll need to resim smoke billowing smoke and try and get quite a crisp edge, that way I should hopefully avoid the softer fall off that I've gotten.
So I guess it'll just be a case of more work and more experiments and build on the foundations before I jump into the crazy stuff.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Material Fail Times

I think I mentioned in a previous post that I was working on an acid type material, well here it is in all it's glory.... yeah, not so much huh. Several things wrong with this but I've been working on it for like two weeks now and I really need to get on to something else otherwise I'll be stuck tweaking this for the next couple of years probably. 

So the things that I think are most wrong are the material not really looking how I had wanted (I'll elaborate on that in a minute) and the steam coming off of it. So everything then :( 

With the material I started out approaching it much like you would a water shader as I thought that would be an appropriate approach. The main problem with that is that with a water shader you much more rely on the reflection map and the normals and the diffuse is quite often a block colour. Which with the material I created just doesn't work, it looks more like some yellow coloured milk. It wasn't until I hit a mental block and played through DmC and saw how they did a similar style of shader. They had used not only a panning material in the diffuse but had a coloured reflection map so that the colour altered depending on the angle you viewed it from. They also had a panning material round the rim to give it a bit more of a visual impact. 

Then on to the steam. My main issue with it is that there's just too much of it. I think it's a little too overpowering and distracting. It makes it difficult to really see the material or even the bubbles on top. Which I would probably just leave to the bubbling normals in the material and maybe imply a quite violent liquid through the use of a splash flipbook or something. I also had trouble with the colour over life. I tried to make it yellowy at the base, as the smoke would have inherited a lot of the colour from the material, then fade it out; as I tried making it all yellow but it was far too strong as there were some many sprites. If I had far less sprites I think it would have worked much better. 

But onward and upward. No such thing as a complete failure, I know what not to do and how to improve it for the future but for now I'll get on a work some more in cascade for a change.

Sunday, 3 February 2013


So now that I've finished up with some of my uni work I've got more time to come back to this blog. This is something that I was working recently. I thought that this would be a good way to learn about how to learn to use event generators and spawning. It was a good learning exercise to just familiarise myself with these tools.  

But I just don't think that it was all that successful really. I mean, it conveys the general idea of fireworks but I think that there is a lot of improvement to be made. I'm currently working on making an acid pool effect. But this is definitely one that I will come back to and redo because I know that I can do it better. I'll need to work more on the materials to try and sell it better and maybe start looking into ribbons for the smoke.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

So it's been a while, but uni work came up so it took longer to finish than I'd hoped. So I've actually made something, huzzah. It's obviously not the best thing in the world but I learnt a lot to take forward which is the main thing. Who knows, it might be fun to redo this later on to test how much I've learnt and the improvements I've made.

It was actually tremendously fun to work on even if it is a bit basic. Well I mean it looks a bit basic, but it was more important for me to try and get If expressions and material transitions into my head. So it ended up being more about the transition than it did the overall effect.

So here's my material network, as you can see everythings all labelled correctly so no need for me to go through and explain. I also wanted to try out UV distortions with this as well. I'm not so sure it really gave me the effect I was after, it's actually barely noticeable in the final result and this was after it was to over the top at the start. I think I'll experiment again with it when I get round to having a go at a water shader or trying it with particles effects like some smoke or fire. 

As for the material transition, there were a few errors that needed fixing, but I thought it better to cut my losses and move on to something else or I'd be stuck on it forever. The two main problems were the texture for the transition and the gradient for the If expression. The texture itself has a weird circle on the top left corner that affects the transition but doesn't appear on the texture itself so I'd probably have to go back and redo it. And the transition gradient gave me problems as I was trying to get it to come from the sides to make it look as if it's loading in but I couldn't get this to work without having a thick border that was constantly on. But like I've said earlier, it's all a learning experience, so onwards and upwards.

And here's how it looks in action.