VFX Demo Reel
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VFX Demo Reel

by jontuttle on 31 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Hi I recently graduated from the Houdini Diploma program at CG Spectrum. I want to pursue a career in real-time effects so I started learning Unreal Engine a few months ago to learn both how to create the effects as well as integrate them into a game. I wanted to share three projects o have been working on.

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City Battle

This was the last project I worked on out of the three and I really wanted to try and incorporate different types of effects and and build off of what I had learned from the previous two projects. I wanted to include sword swipes since that was something I had not worked on yet as well as weapon effects. This was also a good learning experience for using blueprints in Unreal to get these different elements to interact with each other. 

*Special thanks to Denys Rutkovskyi for the city model and Fajrul Falakh NF for the samurai character model. Both can be found on the Unreal marketplace. 

There were two main areas I wanted to improve on. The first were pyro and rigid body effects that were used in the explosion and building destruction, the missile trail and the smoke stacks in the background. I rendered the smoke stacks with RGB lighting and Motion Vectors to be able to adjust the lighting on the smoke and also the motion vectors to have better control over the speed. 

The second was creating the weapon effects for both the sword and the gun effects. For the sword I created an HDA so I could easily create a curve and mesh would be created from that. This also gave me some control over the shape of the mesh and the UVs were also generated so I would animate the texture position. 

Making and Exit

The second project was actually the first project I worked on in my journey to learning effects in Unreal. This one took the longest but I was able to learn a lot about VAT (which I used for the water) as well as combining different elements from smoke to using Houdini point caches to drive Niagara particles. 

*Special thanks for the modelers who provided the Gate, Sakura tree and lanterns.

Up and Up

The third and final project I wanted to test different ways to do the destruction in Unreal. I used both the FBX, Alembic and using VATs for the ground element. I found that FBX was the most accurate but it is more costly compared to using VATs but I found that using VATs did have some limitations with the first frame not matching up. I ultimately went with FBX but overall it was fun to experiment with. Also for the lava I learned about using flowmaps from Houdini to drive the texture distortion in Unreal. 

*Special thanks to mccarthy3d who provided the spaceship model. The lava texture was from Substance. 

Overall though these were a lot of fun to work on and hope you enjoyed these as well. Thanks for reading. 


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