Join Craig Barr for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating glow bugs, part of Unreal Essential Training (2016).
- Creating effects in Unreal Engine 4 is a very powerful and quite a simple process to get some really nice results very quickly. Now we've taken a look at how we can create an exhaust effect using the particle system in Unreal Engine 4, or Cascade, as it's called. We also want to take a look at how we can create a couple other different particle systems. In this case, something that's a little bit different. We looked at how we can create this smoke and that is an emitter that we're driving the acceleration, some of the scale and the color over lifetime, as well as this kind of direction so it's floating up into space as it dies off.
But let's take a look at creating some different effects. So if you have access to the content for this course, you'll see, underneath the Content folder here that we have, this Effects folder. And this is where we have a bunch of different pre-built effects for this awesome scene here, and you can certainly go in and play with them, and experiment with what they do, and also learn from how they're built to be able to replicate or build more particle systems. So this is an excellent reference here, these effects. Now I want to take a look at some of these things, here's an example of one of them here. This Fireflies, if we drag this into the environment, this is going to produce, essentially, an ambient firefly effect.
And you can see some of these little, yellow guys coming in and out of the view. I'm going to scale that up a bit. We'll just scale everything up a little bit and make them a little bigger, and you can see that we get this really nice, ambient kind of firefly effect througout the environment. This just really provides a little bit more of an ambient overall particle effect. You can do a similar thing like this with dust throughout a scene, but I think something like this with the fog and the wind blowing through, dust isn't gonna work. These fireflies work really well, just to kind of bring some life to the overall scene.
Now something to add to this as well, we've added the fireflies in, let's add something that brings some life around some of the lights here. Because I think what we want to do is make this maybe a little bit later in the day, something like a dusk scene. If we go to our lantern, I'm going to click on that in the scene and hit f to frame in. We've got some fireflies in the scene, but let's add some little lightbugs. Little bugs that are kind of hovering around this guy. The way we want to do that, is we'll create a whole new particle emitter. I'm going to rightmost button click in my content browser and hit Particle Systems, so I'll just left click that.
And we're going to give this one here a name, LightBugsNEW, because we do have one that exists. So let's start building this one from scratch to see how we can build that. In this case here, I'm going to drag this into my scene, and I know that I want this to interact with this light. So let's bring it somewhere, maybe around this light. That's fine for now because I think what we'll do is we'll change it or affect it once we get it in place there, or once we dial in the overall particle effect for it.
Now let's double click on that. So we're going to come into our Cascade Editor. I'm going to get rid of our ExhaustNEW folder or tab up there, and here we have a brand new default particle emitter. Now if you followed along with the exhaust setup, we know that these are our default settings here, default material, and a default group of modules that exist in order to create a base particle system. First thing we're going to want to do is come underneath our Required, and change the default particle material. So if we go underneath this and bring up this browse menu here, let's start typing in, we can type in lightbugs and we have this lightbug material.
And all that is, is this glowy, simple material that has the emission map so that we get this glowy effect. Now we can see that our particle emitters are working with that material, and that's fine but let's dial in how we want these little guys to work. Instead of something that worked like that exhaust smoke where it comes out and it dies over time, we're going to want little, tiny dots of light that represent these little lightbugs orbiting or rotating around the point of interest, which in this case is that lantern. So let's take a look at how we can dial that in. So if we click on the Spawn setup here, this simple, little Spawn module, we're going to need to change some of these settings in here.
So we want to change our Screen Alignment here into something like PSA Velocity. And what that's going to give us here is, it's going to orient the particle towards both the camera and the directions that the particle is moving. So you can see all of these different descriptions by hovering over top. We're definitely going to want to do that for this, and I'm going to come to our Spawn setup, we'll leave it as Distribution Float Constant in here. But we don't want this to be as high value as that, we're going to want something like a 5, we don't need as many there, 20 is much too high for what we want.
And we'll leave this Scale at DFC here as well, and a simple 1. That should be fine, now let's go to our lifetime, and we definitely want to adjust this a little bit here to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 5. So we're effectively defining that lifetime to be a little bit longer, and we can see that by dialing out here that they're living a lot longer now. We have these particle lasting for a bit longer in space. And now let's add something effects the overall size of this and this is with this default, Initial Size module.
This is where we could get in here and maybe define how big we need these to be, they're a little bit too big, I think for now. So we're going to work with a Distribution Vector Uniform is fine, but we do want to adjust these overall sizes here. Let's maybe put in something like a 3, 3, and 8, actually, provides a nice thing there for our maximum size, but our minimum, we're definitely going to have to bring down, so a bit smaller. We'll leave that as the same, and they are quite small now, so let's zoom in a little bit with middle mouse just so we can see them. That has a nice effect to it.
And then we want to lock these guys in the X and Y axis here. So that we're able to view them, essentially in that X and Y axis here is where they're going to work. Let's zoom in just so we can see what's happening. There we go, now we need to define our Initial Velocity of this, and this is where we start to get into, overall the behavior of these, how they're going to behave in space. So we'll leave it as a Distribution Vector Uniform, and we'll start to dial in the overall maximum setting to fives, and then let's try on minimum here. We'll put in a negative value here, minimum -5 for our space, and there's our particle system down, below here.
Let's find that, just put on the points so that you can always find it in space here. And let's make sure that we're tumbling or viewing that in here, so now what we're able to get, if we put this into this view, there we go, we can see our little glow. We're now getting something that's a little more central, something that's emitting outwards, in a smaller space. But now we have, they just kind of come out and they kind of die off. We're going to want to control, overall, how that works here. Let's get rid of the Color Over Life. So I'll just right click and delete that module, and we should put in something that defines the location of this, so we'll use something like an Initial Location.
And if we click on that, we're going to want to define, almost like a bounding box for that. Everything's at zero, so I'm going to just put in some values here of 60 and then type in some values, a negative value of that same. We have -60 dialed in there as well. There we go, and now what I'm going to do is bring in an orbital. So we have these guys floating around in space, let's make them orbit. So I'm just going to go down to Orbit, and left click on Orbit, and bring that in. And you can see we start to get some really nice effects happening here.
We have this nice feel, they almost look like flies right away, in what we're getting on there. So on this Orbit, we may not want to change too much in here. Let's take a look at what's happening on the rotation and the offset here. So the Distribution, we might want to actually change the Distribution of this a little bit. Let's just see what happens here if we dial in a bit of a different number of how that's distributed there, that's fine. This is going to give us an interesting view on there. Let's work with the initial color.
So looking under Color, and we'll hit Initial Color. And let's make sure that what we have here is we're going to need to turn this into Uniform, Distribution Vector Uniform. And we definitely want this to be a white and black value in here, so we'll put these RGB all to 1 across the way there. And Initial Color here, so we do get kind of this flickery effect happening in here so that we have this full brightness of the value of the color we've defined right down to zero. So we've got this nice effect happening overall in our space in there.
And that should be it for what we want for these fireflies here. You can see that's a really nice effect that we're getting in there. I'm going to click save on that, and we'll come out to our scene. And there's our little fireflies moving around. Now we want to place these around this lantern, and we can see that we're getting that, kind of, nice, simple, little firefly effect going around the light. So we'll hit escape so that we're not selecting anything. You can see now our scene is really starting to come to life and certainly taking advantage of the power of effects within Unreal Engine 4 will help you really bring your overall level and your scene to life.
- Customizing the Unreal UI
- Creating a new project
- Creating landscapes
- Blocking out levels
- Assembling a scene
- Working with materials and lights
- Adding post-processing effects
- Defining bodies of water
- Adding atmospherics, foliage, and wind
- Working with the Blueprint editor
- Creating cinematics
- Monitoring performance
- Packaging a game for distribution