Hello and welcome to my first post about Procedural Animation.
Not only is it the first post about the subject of animations that are procedurally generated, but also the first post regarding the module I am currently undertaking as a 3rd year bachelor’s student at Noroff University College.
We’re 2 weeks into the Procedural Animation course so far, there’s been an introduction into particles in Unity, and some background on the special effects we will be making later in the course.
Thus far I’ve been an utter rebel, and done all my animating in UnrealEngine. I’ve been using it more during the year, since making the TinCAN prototype in it. I’m comfortable within it’s user interface, I am versed in searching the documentation, I am learned in skimming videos for relevance, I have found THE CONTENT EXAMPLES.
Now, realistically, it would be beneficial too me to know how to use both Unreal and Unity to achieve the particle effects that we’ve been going through. It would however also be beneficial to me to know how to do it in Lumbermill, Blender, AfterEffects, Maya, the list goes on. With that in mind I have come to the conclusion that although it would be great to have time to learn everything, I seriously doubt I will put the effort into learning the things that I am less likely to be using in the near future. In other words, I’m not doing it unless I have to. It’s not because I’m lazy, I feel a lot like I am sometimes, it’s because I know that I need to prioritise what I am going to need. I have a finite amount of time to spare on this, and I’m not intending to waste it becoming mediocre at everything.
The actual work in engine has been both challenging and fun! I spent a substantial portion of the first week watching videos about various particle effects. Some about making fireworks, some about explosions. In the end the most useful one was the video that supplements the Particle Effects Level within the content examples of Unreal Engine. With the content examples, and corresponding videos, I was able to deconstruct several of the particle systems and rebuild them with my own ideas. I went through a few basic “sparks that go up and out”, made a “sparks that fly outward in all directions” added some “change colour over lifespan” and mixed it all up with a few variations in lifetime, spawn size and spawn velocity. I ended up with an effect that somewhat resembled a firework.
After making some shiny effects of that sort, I started playing around with custom sprites. I made an emitter that threw a bunch or hands out at various rates and sizes, and added in some interesting movement variations. This is what I ended up making.
I suspect I have some way to go to be able to make fancy realistic fire effects, but I do see that it’s not all that difficult to achieve. Next I’m intending to make some interesting sprites. I’m thinking some leaves and some flames. With these custom sprites I’m gonna make a falling leaf with collisions, and a stylised fire.