James Broderick: Embergen Challenge - Real Time VFX

Start planning and collecting references. Here a small YouTube playlist was started, in which I add a video reference. The main inspiration point is basically the pod racing sequence of Phantom Menace (especially the part where Sebulba's pod gets out of control and he gets sad)

>>> Youtube Playlist – SandDune FX Ref <<<

I also added some planning that I did in OneNote, nothing special, and this outline will definitely shift a bit to do a few storyboard doodles now.


• Learn the UE4 Embergen flipbook creation pipeline
• Familiarize yourself with the use of Niagara for production FX
• Create something that feels a bit cinematic – block the animations in the sequencer and then iterate over the effects.

Main FX to consider

• Engine fire and traces from the bike
○ Jet Engine Fire that changes color and intensity a little
○ Inside the jet engine is material with distortion and light streaks – correct sci-fi look
○ Add sparks and make the combustion appear inefficient and chaotic as if it were an old scrap engine.
• Shot of sand from the back of the Speeder bike
○ Lots of sand from the back of the Speeder – like a dirt bike on dunes
• explosion
○ Some traces of fire should appear during the explosion. Very bright and smoky.
○ Some really nice sparks / embers – make it super sparkling!
• dirt
○ A good selection of falling debris, meshes like bolts and metal shrapnel.
○ Could use UE4's Chaos Destruction System on the Speeder to get all the parts stripped properly, but we'll see. Could even simulate the destruction in Houdini, but that could be a lot of extra work.
○ Spin / roll pieces of dirt on the floor.
• Falling traces of smoke
○ Falling smoke / dust – combination of tapes and sprites to create smoke.
○ Some parts are still burning and have flames.
• Dirt affects sand.
○ Shocks of dirt should stir up a lot of sand and dirt.
○ Throw up a few smaller fragments

Used software:

• Unreal Engine 4 – presentation and FX creation
• Embergen – flipbook generation
• 3DSMax – Greybox and mesh creation
• Photoshop – texture editing and LUT creation
• Houdini – network separation simulation

To do list

• Plan cinematic design (rough storyboard) + mood board
• Embergen pipeline test + Lookdev – 6-point lighting test
• Greybox film with 3dsmax and UE4 sequencers
• Draw cinematically and draw FX
• Explosion generation
• Separation of the Speeder bikes in Houdini
• Dirt affects the creation
• Creation of flame paths
• Creation of jet engines
• Sand kickup creation
• Second run + additional effects
• Refine models and textures
• Polish passport

I'm pretty excited about it and look forward to seeing what everyone else does! : smiley:


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