This is a small magic effect I’ve been working on, based on my Fey warlock D&D character. D&D spells are a nice way to find inspiration for vfx.
Magic attacks like this are new to me so I learned quite a bit doing it!
Turns out Unity’s default particle trail rendering isn’t great as it tried to construct the trail on the fly – you can see the “kinks” at the start and end of the trail.
I used the minimum and maximum filters in photoshop to make the textures. This is great! Really nice way to make wispy ethereal shapes without much painting.
It was also interesting to experiment with how shapes change when applied to different particle types/stretched along a trail – I used Rafles breakdown to learn how to shape a trail texture and I’m happy with how it turned out.
A last minute addition to the effect was the diamonds on the ground. I was ready to call it even though I wasn’t 100% happy, and grabbed a gif. Seeing the effect as a thumbnail helped me see that it didn’t look connected to its environment, so added the floor particles to ground the effect a little.
I picked up on a few things I need to work on during this, particularly to do with my process.
Firstly, I need to use more reference! With environmental or realistic effects I always use reference, but with this qnd with the less realistic effects I’ve made, I was sort of winging it. Effects still need to be grounded in reality even when they’re completely fantastical. The effect improved when I looked at bullet impact references and realized the impact aura should shoot towards the caster, not away from them.
In addition to reference, with multi-part effects like this one, storyboarding could be very helpful – I’m not sure i ever had a clear idea of what the effect actually was!
In terms of the effect itself, the anticipation and impact could be stronger and the pink colour is a little too saturated. Better use of reference and defining a colour scheme as part of planning should help these along.
Looking forward to taking these lessons into the next effect!