[Riot Art Contest] - Chris Shepherd

Latest Update: Final Submission

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    Progress Report - Step 1

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    Added incentive for completing this contest would be to a shot at a wacom of my own that I could concept on like all of the amazing concept work I've seen here so far in this competition. I figure simple paper and graphite will do the job for now.
    As an artist still finding my style in VFX, I want to make sure I finish this competition, and meet the deadline with some completed work. Here are some of the concepts I've already begun working on, and hadn't laid out. I think I underestimated the value of concepting ideas out beforehand and it's importance to my progress. Valuable lesson learned.


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    Concept #1: For this idea I pulled a lot of inspiration from the x men character "Havok". An untamed plasmic energy orbiting the host during the build up. Splashing over the target on impact, similar to the way a fireball would but maybe a little more gooey. I like this for a start, but really want to add a little bit too it, like some smoke, or electric particles being emitted off the rings during build up, maybe even a total color change, just to really make it my own.

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    Concept #2: The host draws particles toward them during the build up, arching static, etc. Then on release casts out a blinding beam of light upward into the sky, falling on the target as a pillar of searing light (i.e. Leona's Solar Flare ability in League of Legends on Invokers Sun Strike in DOTA2.)

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  • C.K.Shepherd
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    Concept #3: The host uses telekinesis to summon shards of daggers, energy, glass, or chunks of earth orbiting them during the build up. They are then released on the 1 at a time and orbit around the target. Once triggered the shards will then slash through the target.

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    Concept #4: For this one I took some inspiration from the Calliope Rocket Launcher. The host is struck by bolts of lightning during build up, glowing and collecting energy. During release the host casts out violently winding and twisting bolts of energy at the target, with some dissipating atmospheric disruption, impacting with an EMP type shockwave and an electric explosion

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    About half way through my brainstorming process to put together some alternative ideas. I started to consider that I might be concepting some rather elaborate VFX for my first time out, and put together some more simple but equally as effective ideas so that I don't get in too much over my head.

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    Concept #5: With this I went with a mirror image sort of idea the same way cell division or mitosis works. Build up starts with the target vibrating, and the surface starts rippling, on release the target starts to split into two, stretching between the two split pieces. On impact the two will finally be separated snapping into shape.

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  • C.K.Shepherd
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    Concept #6: And finally for my most recent concept. I went for an idea of a "Moon Lance" falling from the sky and piercing it's target on impact. the build up would show a ray of moonlight falling on it's target, gradually the light will grow smaller until the "Moon Lance" falls on it's target. It would have an area of effect, but if it made direct contact with it's target, the one lance would be followed by a flurry of them. I took some inspiration from the "Lance of Longinus" in Evangelion as well as the theme of one of my favourite characters in League of Legends, Diana.


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  • Klemen
    Nice research! Looking forward to see how you pull it off!
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Thanks Klemen. I felt like I had to compensate for my slow execution and lack of "pretty". I appreciate the support!
  • Sirhaian
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    Sirhaian polycounter lvl 3
    Nice! Can't wait to see the result! The idea looks really cool. :)
    And you're not "slow"! The brainstorming process should be one of the most important one. ^_^
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Humble beginnings. I'm starting to find an actual workflow that's picking up the pace a little bit. I put together some REAL quick motion. I've come to the realization that texture perfection and polish will come in the last month or so and it's gonna be best just to lay out the behaviour as fast as I can.

    Concept #1 Progress:

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    Some simple mesh work in the material editor to achieve the appropriate effect with the hoops. The recorder didn't do me any justice with this one. ;)

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    Went through a short trial and error period finding the right noise texture. Pictured on the left is the first attempt. It came out a little too stretched and left unfavourable gaps when texture coordinate was changed. The simpler noise texture ended up being the ideal, pictured on the right.

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  • Rusty_Gvfx
    Should probably mask out the sides of the mesh a little. They look too meshy at the moment.
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Rusty_Gvfx wrote: »
    Should probably mask out the sides of the mesh a little. They look too meshy at the moment.

    I agree, very good point. Thanks for your feedback Rusty!

    I've also been considering more "lightweight" alternatives to the hoops, like using Orbit modules with a wispy texture. I don't think I could get the desired orientation with it though? If only orbiting particles handle ribbons well, this would be quite a bit easier to do beautifully.
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Incremental update this morning. Busy week, busy weekend, but I'm still gonna get this roughed out so I can move on to the second effect, which I can't help but distract myself with whilst attempting to finish my 1st effect. Before Monday I should have the event generators in place and possibly a few detail effects thrown in like sparking impacts when the discs bounce on the ground and some plasmic (spark) impacts on the target. I'm having a ton of fun creating some good masks for the disc meshes, so I'll have that to contribute to my WIP thread this weekend as well.

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    So, this is the completely roughed out effect as it currently stands. Now I need to figure out some good texture ideas, and try to find the right style.

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    I've been messing with some more interesting ideas with the impact sparks. This one in particular is pretty cool. It has the effect of the discs dissolving into pixels a la TRON.

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    This is how this material/shader came to be. I started with a pretty straight forward template for sparks, experimented from there.

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    A quick update of where I am at with my current texture setup. More of a before shot I suppose. Currently working on a good mask for these disc meshes, thanks again Rusty.

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    Feedback is MORE than welcome. It's incredibly valuable to me through this process. Thank you guys!
  • Sirhaian
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    Sirhaian polycounter lvl 3
    I really love the effect right now! :D
    You could make a mask so that it does look like a Tron disc. :)
    You could go into the digital and cartoony style, I think it would look awesome! \o/
    Anyway, can't wait to see your future updates on this! :)
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Thanks Sirhaian. Your feedback and positive energy is appreciated! I've been really impressed with your WIP thread, let alone the results!
  • Sirhaian
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    Sirhaian polycounter lvl 3
    Hehe, thank you, and welcome! :)
    I'll keep giving my feedback as soon as I see you posted something new. Your project really interests me. ^^
    (Positivity is the one thing we need to stay motivated in a project! 8D)
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Sirhaian wrote: »
    (Positivity is the one thing we need to stay motivated in a project! 8D)

    I agree. A big reason I love this field is because of how supportive and collaborative everyone in it has been, at least in my own personal experience, even in competition.
  • Sirhaian
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    Sirhaian polycounter lvl 3
    I hope it'll stay this way. This is my first time ever entering this field, and I feel like I've found my place already. Everyone is so nice and willing to help. :)
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Progress comes at a premium lately. I added some collision to the pixel sparks, even some cool skimming and bounce while the discs travel to their target. I'm starting to fall out of love with the idea of having the discs explode in and I think I'd like to go back to my previous idea of having the ring erode in and grow during the build up, whilst the sphere vibrates. In the end I really need to start my second effect this week. Any and all feedback is both welcomed.

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    A little bit of masking the disc mesh. (Sorry, ScreenToGif made it a little pixelated.)

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  • Sirhaian
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    Sirhaian polycounter lvl 3
    I love the particles collision! Gives me one idea, though: you could make them go on/off/on/off really fast (dunno how to say) and then make them disappear. I don't know if you understand what I mean. xD

    By the way, how did you make that distortion/explosion effect ? :o

    EDIT: Oh, and I didn't see the one bouncing on the ground. Looks really nice! :D
  • C.K.Shepherd
    You mean make the pixel sparks flicker as they die out? I agree, I should at least make them dim as they burn out.

    The distortion/explosion is a simple flat torus mesh I made in 3DS Max and I applied a panning mixmap/noise texture to it for the shockwave. For the big distortion bubble, I used the same method on a spehere and added some cheap fresnel to it, with some Dynamic Parameter modules to control the intensity of both the distortion and the white blowout. that being said I still feel like the explosion is missing something, if I am going to use it, don't you agree?

    thanks alot for your feedback!
  • Sirhaian
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    Sirhaian polycounter lvl 3
    Yeah, that's what I meant. ^^
    And really nice process for the explosion! :)
  • Mr.Nuget
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    Mr.Nuget polycounter lvl 4
    what software is this it looks really cool
  • C.K.Shepherd
  • Mr.Nuget
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    Mr.Nuget polycounter lvl 4
    Ahh ok cool it seems that a lot of people use UDK i might try it one day
  • Sirhaian
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    Sirhaian polycounter lvl 3
    It is currently (one of) the best game engine out there. :)
  • Klemen
    Nice work Chris!

    I've got a couple of personal observations if you're looking for critique. The elements of your effect seem a bit detached from one another in terms of style. You start off with really sharp shapes and long lines coming in and out of the sphere and then switch to these smooth round discs, I think there's too much contrast in the transition. You repeat this with the impact when you transition into a large number of square particles.

    I think if you address this through texture work and animation you'll instantly end up with a more unified style across the board.

    I really like one of the discs bouncing off the ground, nice attention to detail!
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Thanks alot Klemen! Your feedback really reinforces some thoughts I've been having about cleaning up the build up phase of the effect. I might even have to give up the pixel sparks at the end, it's just one of those ideas that I grew really attached to how neat it looked even though it didn't really flow. Super valuable critique.

    In the build up, I think I want to have the discs fade/erode in from within the sphere, instead of this wild distorted explosion and absorption.
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Spark -> Shrapnel change from last week.
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    More recent updates coming soon.
  • Sirhaian
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    Sirhaian polycounter lvl 3
    Woah! The impact looks awesome! :O
    I just don't know what to say. This is looking so great! Good job! ^_^
  • parag
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    parag polycounter lvl 4
    Amazing work..
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Roughed out my second concept in UDK.

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    Much needed update to my thread.

    Lots of changes, I'm feeling like I'm just about done with this one minus the lights and stylized textures.



    - Added dust/smoke trails behind rings at release.
    - Discs dissolve in at build up.
    - Discs dissolve out during release.
    - Emphasized some components of the impact.
    - Added backfiring shrapnel/sparks to the face of target sphere during impact.
    - Adding vortex and inward draw during buildup.
    - Added debris to build up vortex as well as during disc impact with ground.
    - Added emitter for release of disks from sphere.

    Thanks for checking out my WIP. As Always we all direly rely on each others feedback, now more than ever during this process. Please offer any and all feedback or opinions you have about the current state of my effect!

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  • kimnken
  • Lokii288
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    Lokii288 polycounter lvl 3
    I like this modifications to the first ability :D looks nice.
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Thanks guys, it's always good to get some positive affirmation after staring at this thing for hours.
  • C.K.Shepherd
    Working on the second effect. It will involve one sphere siphoning a damage shield from the other sphere. I'm having a hard time deciding between the 2 temp shield types I've put together. I really like the dissolve I have going on in one of them, but I feel the more transparent version might fit the style more? Any thoughts?

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  • Lokii288
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    Lokii288 polycounter lvl 3
    I'm partial to the second one. The first one seems too flickery and almost like its broken to me. Second one looks more deliberate.
  • THendersonVFX
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    THendersonVFX polycounter lvl 3
    I like the idea of the first one, how it slowly fills up from small pieces. Really gives the impression that it is growing around the sphere. I like the look of the second effect though, with the more swirly elements.

    If it is stealing the energy, might I suggest using opacity to grow the shield from the siphon point?

    Something sort of like what I attached?
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  • C.K.Shepherd
    Awesome. Thank you both for your feedback and the illustration was appreciated, good idea. I'll try that out!
  • C.K.Shepherd
    First competition as a budding FX artist and I feel like I'm actually going to finish. However, still gonna come down to the wire. Did a bit more work to the components of my second effect.

    - Added Impact.
    - Removed some distortion in favour of some more stylize shockwave layers.
    - WIP exploding shield. (Trying to keep the gooey translucent option and have it grow how THenderson suggested above. Thanks again for that observation)

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    Could use a bit more work, but it's on it's way to general completion. My goal is to provide myself 2 weeks of texture polish and color before the deadline.

    FX#1: Whirling Plasma

    FX#2: Mana Bomb

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  • C.K.Shepherd
    The second effect has undergone some changes to be a little more cohesive. Here are the 2 together. Trying to get the color animation just right on everything.


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  • Dantert
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    Dantert polycounter lvl 5
    the one with the spinning rings is really amazing!
  • C.K.Shepherd
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