VFX Blog Post 4 – Methodology

Particle creation

I am going to create various particle effects from the knowledge gained from the lab session and external YouTube tutorials such as this tutorial from CGHOW (2020) who shows how to make lightning VFX. From the particle effect systems I create I will be able to reuse them if needed, for example from creating a lightning effect I can reuse it multiple times to overall create a larger effect. 

With the main fire particle effect I will most likely create a large ball of fire using a fountain emitter and adjusting the attributes to get the desired effect. The lightning VFX I have already experimented with using a beam emitter that allows you to change both the start and end point of an arc of electricity/lightning which I will place coming from the hands, arcing to the ground. Without placing the start and end points the lightning balls up which could end up being a nice effect for the attack (See Fig 1).

(Fig 1) Lightning Ball VFX

Looking at different types of particle systems from the official Epic Games Inc. (2020b) Unreal Engine documentation page, it’s most likely that I’ll mainly use the fountain and beam emitter.


While I don’t have any sound effects yet, I have been looking into the Unreal Engine system as it has multiple ways to affect how sound is used, produced, played and edited (Epic Games Inc., 2020a). As my piece is going to be a game cutscene the audio production shouldn’t be as complicated as if it were in an actual game where player interaction and position would have to be considered. This means I should just be able to use the sequencer to play sounds, while considering their location and timing in relation to the various particle effects and actions.


I will be using the sequencer built into the Unreal Engine for anything related to cinematography such as the various scene shots, lighting, playing animations, audio and playing VFX in sequence. With the storyboard I tried to employ the rule of thirds, dividing the image equal in three parts horizontally and vertically, placing main elements on the intersecting points for my shot composition and while the shots have the potential to change during production I plan to use the rule of thirds throughout (SLR Lounge, 2019).

Colour theory

When looking at colour theory in lectures we explored what the different colours can represent such as how blues invoke feelings of cold and corporate, greens can make you think of nature or envy and black, feelings of mystery and evil (Stewart, 2017). 

To try and create a dark fantasy feel for my game cutscene I am going to use dark blues, greens and greys with low saturation for the background elements such as clouds and environment to give a feeling that the world you are viewing feels magical and mysterious. Giving the magic slightly higher saturation will help create contrast and as Anjin Anhut (2014) says, you use colour and contrast to control how an audience perceives something, making the magic seem brighter and more dramatic, hopefully giving the scene an intense magical feel. As the scene goes on and fire magic is used, the red colours, which can be seen as an angry colour can help convey the intensity of the fight, shifting from cool colours to bright fiery reds (Stewart, 2017).

I may make use of different colours as signifiers to identify which of the figures is good/bad to try and enhance the feeling of support for the underdog by making it clearer which is which. To make the two characters contrast I would likely pick complementary colours such as blue and orange


For the majority of shots in my piece I will try to apply 3 point lighting to achieve an aesthetically pleasing and easy to read image/composition (Fig. 2). As Julve (2016) says in their exploration of 3 point lighting you need a key, fill and rim light in your scene for a 3 point lighting setup. Firstly you start with a key light as, “Every shot needs a key light, else it would end up with a dark image”, this light is the main source that gives definition to everything in your scene. With a key light in place you use a fill light to make the shadows softer and allows you to “control the amount of contrast” in your shots. Finally a rim light is implemented to create contrast between background and foreground elements.

Using low key lighting will help make the scenes feel a lot darker and moodier while making the VFX stand out more due to the contrast between a bright colour and dark shadows.

Figure 2: Overhead view of stone pillars and two characters in the middle showing 3 point lighting


Anhut A. (2014) Color Theory For Game Design 1 of 4 – Fundamentals. Available online: http://howtonotsuckatgamedesign.com/2014/11/color-theory-game-design-1-fundamentals/ [Accessed 30/11/2020].

CGHOW (2020) Intro to Niagara | Creating Beam Emitter | Unreal Engine Niagara Tutorial. Available online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWpm5_6wuhI [Accessed 17/11/2020].

Epic Games, Inc. (2020a) Audio System Overview. Available online: https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-US/WorkingWithMedia/Audio/Overview/index.html [Accessed 03/12/2020].

Epic Games, Inc. (2020b) How to create a beam effect in Niagara. Available online:

https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-US/Engine/Niagara/HowTo/BeamEffect/index.html [Accessed 17/11/2020].

Julve E.M. (2016) Tutorial: Does three point lighting suck?. Lighting Pixels. 19 December. Available online: https://lightingpixels.blogspot.com/2013/01/tutorials-does-three-point-lighting-suck.html [Accessed 03/12/2020].

SLR Lounge (2019) Rule of thirds. Available online: https://www.slrlounge.com/glossary/rule-of-thirds-definition/?fbclid=IwAR0yEU72-Q6E-z-d3OnAUTbaUky5GhVw3flXjqsV7Ni4qN1zC6tOc4nQ8Ks [Accessed 03/12/2020].

Stewart D. (2017) Color in Video Games: How to Choose a Palette. Gamasutra. 4 November. Available online: https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DougStewart/20170411/295806/Color_in_Video_Games_How_to_Choose_a_Palette.php  [Accessed 03/12/2020]

Leave a Reply