Hey, I'm Simon and I'm making a game!! :)
Support me: BUY & Demo on Steam

This is a talk I gave on the ADDON Conference about three stylized effects in RIME. Since it wasn’t based on an article, this time I can only offer a video and no text-version.

Tips for better listening

  • Play the video in 1.5x speed (saves time & reduces echo/reverb a little bit)
  • I placed the mic right next to the laptop fan like a pro. A little “loading bar” shows when the noise will be gone.
  • This is the Diablo/Blizzard-Talk I mention in the talk. Watch. It. Now!

I didn’t embed the video directly to avoid any tracking from Google and complications with the DSGVO.

I hope you’ll like it and I’m looking forward talking to you in the comments or via mail/twitter about similar effects or improving the ones I just presented. :)

Thanks to Alain from Alkemi and the organizers of the conference (Elsa, Amélie and Eddy) for inviting me, Tequila Works for letting me speak about the effects and all the nice people I had the opportunity to speak to at the event. It was awesome!

The panels where happening in this old fire-watch.

Talks where given in this conference center.

In the conference center I found the longest door-opener-thingie ever.

Hanging around with Corentin. He’s an awesome tech-artist!

Hanging around with Tom. He draws super-cool stuff!

Hanging around with Olivier. He’s an awesome artist from Quebec!

After the conference ON A BOAT! Photo Source.

Eating Crepes. Nom Nom Nom!

Update 1
Update 2
Benjamin Gregg‏ created this cool FX based on the RIME Smoke! <3
Update 3
Tequila Works allowed me to share the RIME Fire Material (created by David Miranda).

Download this uasset file (“Right click” and “Save as”) and copy the file into your Unreal project directory (note: you’ve to add your own noise/mask textures). This picture shows how the material network looks like:

Two guys asked me for help with their material- and particle-setup. I created two little videos for them using their assets as example. The videos weren’t meant to be public but it fits here well and maybe it helps other as well. :) Thanks to Brandon for allowing me to use and show his materials/particles he sent me!

The first video goes about the fire material and how to set it up correctly (on the example on Brandons material):

I didn’t embed the video directly to avoid any tracking from Google and complications with the DSGVO.

The second video is about how to setup the material and the particle system for the dust/smoke VFX (on the example on Brandons material/particles):

I didn’t embed the video directly to avoid any tracking from Google and complications with the DSGVO.

Update 4
Artur Bäcker did a fire inspired by the RIME fire as well :)

And LuBu uses the fire-approach for these really cool fire-trails!

Source: VFX by LuBu
Update 5

Edward del Villar‏ posted these awesome flames on twitter and even provided the textures he used :)

Nick Preston‏ was inspired by Edwards flames and posted this cool flame!

Update 6
Squize created another cool fire based on the RIME-Idea!

Source: VFX by Squize
Update 7
And another one! This time from Lucas Augusto‏!

Update 8
Really nice fire streak from Matthew Richards‏ ‏!

Update 9
We have just got the first recreated Waterfall! :) It was made by Alexandre Van Halteren‏ in Unity!

Oh and someone asked about how to avoid the linear vertex-color-transition. I made a little example for that:

Here you can see how the edge is modified by an Unreal material. At the top you see the original linear transition. This gets modified by some nodes. You can let it like it is or use one of the two examples below to “sharpen” the edge a little bit.

Charles Thomas mentioned another way to do this and here it’s even possible to scale the hardness of the border:

And here’s the Unreal-Nodes:

Update 10
Another super-cool fire! This time from Jay Broderick!

Update 11
Just found this great tutorial by Romain Durand and had to post it here! :)

Normal Source: Romain Durand

Update 12
김우현 created this beautiful torch :)

Update 13
JuanchoAbad just tweeted this awesome waterfall :)

Update 14

I just noticed this smoke in The Showdown Effect which does not only fade-out nicely (by Alpha-Erosion/Threshold) but the particles are actually lit which gives them a similar appeal to what we achieved in RiME.

Here is a zoom-in on the lit particles which proudly present their nice volume:

So I had a look on the textures and it wasn’t surprising to find some normal-maps (only with RG channel stored, the B channel gets re-calculated in real-time).

More interesting are the diffuse textures. A little detail which I really like: The alpha of the diffuse texture is responsible for the alpha fading/erosion/threshold – that is a common technique.

But the structure of the alpha is not randomly painted. It fits perfectly well to the normal-map! My guess: They used a sculpting-program to create the normal-map and then rendered out a height-map of the same sculpted geometry. This serves as a perfect alpha-fade mask.

It’s a subtle thing but in the left version you see a alpha-mask which does not fit to the normal-map. On the right you can see the version where everything fits:

As you can see, when everything fits together, the impression of volume is preserved even during the fading-out. On the left the fading happens with a alpha channel which does not fit to the normal-map which destroys the illusion of volume:

In case you’re interested in the material, here I created something in Unreal:

Update 15
MathsGameArt just released a very detailed tutorial about making a stylized cascade with water-ripples in Unity.

Update 16
Alex Vinogradov gives the world this great break-down of the stylized water-foam. Thanks! :)

Update 17
The C.reator just tweeted this awesome waterfall :) He’s even making it interactive, you can see that on his twitter timeline.

Here are several other really cool creations of water, smoke and fire :) Thanks guys! You’re awesome!

Source: Fire by Rod

17 thoughts on “Stylized VFX in RIME

  1. Stein

    Hi Simon!
    Amazing talk! Thanks for sharing. Didn’t know this stuff was possible with shaders in UE4 :)

    I got a little lost in the presentation of the flame-effect. Would you be able to draw a quick node-graph-representation from UE4 so its easier to follow along? I really want to understand all this.

  2. Stein

    Wow! Thanks for sharing node-graph for the fire…and for all the extra examples! This page is SO bookmarked!

    1. Simon Post author

      All the credit goes to Felix Menendez and Tequila Works :) It’s awesome that I was allowed to share all this and that we get all these cool little flames now :)

  3. Cedric

    Omg this is awesome ! I’m actually working on a stylized scene in Unreal Engine for my demo reel. This is so gonna help me :D Thanks a mil !

  4. Sebastian Krause

    Hey Simon, great video ( except the noise :D )

    The homogenous sphere is using a noise texture for “alpha erosion” – did you bake the Noise texture in a different program or used UE to bake it using RenderToTexture baking?

    I have huge problems with noise & seams ( not using Absolute World Space ) on spheres. Do you might have any further advice on that topic?

  5. Jakub Wisniewski

    Hi I am having huge problems with the package from Update3. When using opace moge it looks good but it’s a little to transparent. When I change the material mode to the one using Opaciti Mask It’s no longer opace but there are black artifacts … could it be becouse of mine gradient texture or just I need to subtract something more?

    1. Simon Post author

      Hm…could you show some images as example? It’s a little bit hard to guess how the artefacts looks like.

      1. Jakub Wisniewski

        Sorry silly me … I was testing it on scene with Post Process that added outlines :( Anyway great stuff! I learned so much on the way!

  6. Woodorl

    Dear master Simon,

    I’m so so so so appreciate for your sharing. Your articles are inspired me a super lot.
    I made a small torch that refer your articles. (The Fire in RIME and The wing in Diablo III)

    Here is the link :

    Specially thanks for you!!!
    Je sens grand heureux sur la langue de shader parce que tu!!
    Merci beaucoup!!

    1. Simon Post author

      Oh, that torch is really cool! :) Have to add it later to the examples of the article! <3

  7. cAyou

    Hi Simon, your blog post inspired me a lot, thanks for sharing this very precious knowledge, specially on such a cool game ! I’ve tried to reproduce the waterfall (with ripples, splashes) and the water (not exactly the one in RiME, as I don’t have the same needs right now). You can check the result here:


    Any feedback will be appreciated !
    Thanks again, I’ve learned a lot :)

    1. Simon Post author

      Thanks man, that’s awesome! I’ve just made a tweet mentioning your waterfall. Also, feel free to share how you made it interactive :)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *