The Collection - VFX & Fluid Simulations

The Collection - VFX & Fluid Simulations

Kayla Cardona
by kaylac on 11 Mar 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

At the summit of a great mountain, on a plateau embraced by clouds and mist, lies a collection of remarkable phenomena... displayed against a mirror of water and stone. The Collection is a short film that narrates by educational journey in VFX. Featuring Niagara Fluid Simulations in Unreal Engine 5.

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The Collection - VFX & Fluid Simulations

The Collection is a short video that narrates my educational journey in VFX. My fascination with light and movement inspired me to design four unique phenomena that could be easily integrated into film for a variety of uses. Exploring and experimenting with Niagara Fluid Simulations in Unreal Engine 5 has led me on an artistic journey that blends realism with creativity.

Timelapse with dynamic day/night cycle

Spotlights on Individual Systems

Dry Ice Effect

This chilling effect plays with gravity and density in the Niagara simulation to imitate the characteristics of dry ice. The ice crystals were modeled in Blender 3D, and the shaders for the ice and display were made in UE5 to create crystalized, frosted textures.

Pillar of Fire

This advanced system combines fire and smoke into a slowly rotating simulation reminiscent of a tornado. Combined with a dynamic day/night cycle, the system's appearance greatly changes depending on the lighting.

Burning Bush

Using a mesh to determine the shape and distribution of the system was key to creating the burning bush. The simulation uses no smoke, as the bush is not actually burning.

Cloud and Hailstorm.

This effect is a combination of a GPU based fluid simulation for the cloud and a CPU based system for the hail. The hail detects other meshes, generates collisions, and emits an icy blue light. 


Experimenting with Niagara Fluids and pushing the boundaries of realism is a deeply rewarding experience. I look forward to perfecting my skills and exploring VFX as technology continues to advance.

Niagara Fluid Simulations created in Unreal Engine 5. Water shader and ice shaders made in UE5. Dynamic day/night cycle uses Lumen lighting system. Display models and ice made in Blender 3D. Rocks, foliage, and stone textures from Quixel Megascans. All audio from except for background music created in Apple Garage Band. Video edited in ShotCut. Photos compressed in GIMP.

Thank you to The Rookies for giving self-taught artists such as myself an opportunity to enter this contest. Please let me know what you think of my work! And feel free to drop me a high five if you have enjoyed The Collection!

Thank you!

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