I want to make a quick action animation scene for my VFX work. This animation could be incorporated into a game trailer or used as promotional material to showcase a video game.

Since I have experience with this programme and access to free models that I can use to build my environment, I will be doing all of my VFX work inside of Unreal Engine. The Niagara particle system, which I will use to create my particle effects and vfx shots, is also implemented inside of Unreal Engine.

I had several different initial concepts for my animation: the first one involved a fight scene in the Star Wars universe with a character resembling Darth Vader walking down a hallway. But as I was developing this concept, I became aware of how constrained it was because the animation would only contain a small number of VFX shots.


Another concept I had was a battle between two magically equipped characters who attack each other with energy blasts. My animation will draw heavily from the video game Mortal Kombat, in which you play as a character competing against another character in a combat arena using various moves and abilities. I was inspired by this because it gave me the freedom to be inventive with the effects I could use for my animation.


I have chosen a fantasy-based genre for my work in order to use magic as VFX. I chose this because I think it’s the simplest and best way to demonstrate my creativity at work. For my sequence, I was inspired by the video game Mortal Kombat and the Harry Potter series because they both have colourful magic that I could use to give the animation a more vibrant appearance.


This animation takes place in a dark cave where two brothers with magical abilities come face to face and battle to see who is stronger. They have always fought to see who is the more powerful brother, and now they have a chance to prove it because they are both filled with rage. I wanted both my characters to be related as it will give my story a more stronger connection between the two characters.


I decided to start working on the storyboards after coming up with the idea for my animation and creating a background for it. 


I created animatics using my story boards to further illustrate how I wanted my story to flow. I saved the Photoshop files and separated all of the different elements that I knew I would move during the animation process to create the animatics. I then imported all of the shots and elements into a video editing software and animated them.


The first thing I did in this animation was build the environment because it allowed me to get a sense of where the characters would be in relation to each other. I started with a simple blockout using the blocks provided by unreal engine and then went to quixel bridge where I found cliff and cave assets that I could then import into unreal engine and use for my animation. I wanted to set my animation in a dark cave. I researched images of dark caves to get a sense of what I wanted to do for the environment. My initial idea I wanted the cave to be dark and only lit by a single light source but i decided against this as the environment would be to dark and impossible to see.

I then added lights to the environment to allow the scene to be lit correctly from various angles, allowing soft light to be cast onto the environment and the characters to add more realism to the scene. Building the environment in a cave allows me to focus on the important things, such as the particle systems and character animations, without having to worry about exterior environments like the sky.


To stay true to my original plan of creating a fighting scene similar to Mortal Kombat, I downloaded a scorpian model from Sketchfab to use in my animation. I then imported the model into Mixamo to rig the character, allowing me to use the various Mixamo animations to animate it in the final scene. I then imported the rigged character into Unreal and created new textures for the character as well as changing the colour of the clothing and eyes. I duplicated the finished character and changed the colour of the second one to green as that is what i wanted my other character to look like.



I was able to easily animate the character in Unreal because my character was rigged using Mixamo, and both characters shared the same skeleton, so the animations that I would import would easily be applied to the characters. I knew I wanted simple animations, which I knew Mixamo could produce. I began by looking for animations that I could use and began with some idle animations to ensure that my characters were posed correctly. These are the basic animations I have right now. I hope to include more animations such as floating animation, jumping out of the way animation, and turning animation.


Making particle systems in Unreal is a simple process because the majority of the work is done for you. Although Unreal provides some pre-made particle systems, creating your own is not difficult. to make the torches that will light the environment. I began by creating a flame particle system that I could use to simulate a burning torch. I then created an actor blueprint using a stick model from Quixel Bridge so that I could combine these various elements. I added a point light after combining the model and the particle system to give the torch a slight orange glow that could cast light on the environment and the characters. I could then add this to any location as a collective once it was created.


I made a master sequencer to combine all of my animations into one long shot to create the shots for my animation. After that, I created the various shots and placed them where I wanted them. I could use the cinematic camera to add an overlay that would allow me to keep my subject in the center of the shot.
To make smooth camera movements, I used various rigs from Unreal. These were easy to set up because you just added them to the scene, parented the camera to the rig, and moved the rig itself. I didn’t use the crane rig as much because I didn’t have a lot of shots that required the camera to be high up, but I did use the rail rig a lot because I had a lot of shots that pushed towards the characters.
Increasing the focus distance in the shot allows me to direct the viewer’s attention to a specific area that is in focus. For example, in the shot below, I made the character on the right in focus so that the viewer’s attention is drawn to that character rather than the character in the background. I did this to not only make the production of my video look better, but also to keep the viewer’s attention on specific areas, allowing for a smoother transition between shots.


I’ll be using royalty-free sites for the majority of my sound effects, but I’ll be recording some of my own sounds, such as talking and potential wind sound effects, to add more depth to the scene.


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