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lighting spell game art visual effects VFX magic fantasy paul davies
lighting spell game art visual effects VFX magic fantasy paul davies

Lightning Bolt Spell

This effect was inspired by the "-aga" tier spells in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. These spells have a large area of effect and require a lot of energy to cast.

I used only some hand-painted lightning bolt sprites, a vertical stripe gradient, and a general cloudy noise greypack texture. I applied these three textures in various ways within a few custom shaders in UE4 to create the various lightning bolt shapes in the effect.

ice frost spell game art visual effects VFX magic fantasy paul davies
ice frost spell game art visual effects VFX magic fantasy paul davies

Ice Spell

This ice effect is the product experimenting with mesh particles, and seeing how far I could push them within UE4.

I sculpted the main chunks in ZBrush and baked out maps to use for texturing. I also created a small shard to mask the intersection with the ground, as well as for the chunks to break into.

The rest of the effect uses simply the hand-painted snowflake sprite and cloudy noise greypack texture.

visual effects parallax 2D painting illustration animation girl snail fairy fantasy forest paul davies unreal engine 4 vfx
visual effects parallax 2D painting illustration animation girl snail fairy fantasy forest paul davies vfx

Animated Painting: A Girl and Her Snail

I created this illustration initially purely as a 2D, still image, however I came across an awesome technique for bringing life to your paintings and decided it was a prime candidate for testing!
To create the effect, I exported all the elements of the painting which were at different depths, or would have different movement patterns, as separate PNGs.
I then applied to planes withing UE4, and placed them at appropriate depths to create the right amount of parallaxing.
I then set up a camera movement to show the parallaxing in action, and set up depth of field to heighten the effect.

I created simple particle systems to fill the background and also for the fairy. And finally I created a UV distortion shader to mimic the presence of wind and subtle movements within the scene on things like the grass, and the girl's skirt.

You can view it in high resolution on YouTube! >>>

Wind Sphere Effect

vfx visual effects game art dev development unity particle effect wind sphere paul davies art

For the next couple of elemental effects I decided to use Unity in order to keep myself up to date with the software.

This wind effect is designed for a top down point-of-view like in games such as League of Legends or Diablo.

I created a sphere in Maya, and faded out the alpha in the vertex colours at the poles of the sphere.

I then created an helix and conformed its shape to that of the sphere, and then deleted unnecessary backfaces, and tapered the ends. The UVs are slightly offset around the helix in order to create variation in the panning of the texture.

Fire Projectile Effect

vfx visual effects game art dev development unity particle effect projectile fire flame paul davies art

For this effect I based my work off the work of Jason Keyser from Riot Games. This effect is in the style of the effects for one of Tristana's skins from League of Legends.

I used four looping, hand-painted sprites for the main projectile, and attached a trail to that particle, which uses the tiling texture you can see in the breakdown image.

I also tried implementing a duplicate particle - set to render below the main particle - which is alpha blended, and a consistent darker colour, to give the particle more contrast against the background.

Ice Spell Textures and Sculpt