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A jam submission

The Souls MasterView project page

Game VFX sequence featuring an evil magician taking the soul of a knight and becoming it's master
Submitted by Stolfy — 3 days, 6 hours before the deadline
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The Souls Master's itch.io page

Results

CriteriaRankScore*Raw Score
Research + Development#14.4174.417
Presentation#14.5004.500
Documentation#14.5004.500
Creative#14.5834.583
Technical#14.5834.583
Overall#14.5174.517

Ranked from 12 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.

Judge feedback

Judge feedback is anonymous and shown in a random order.

  • Overall effect looks great, and to give any feedback I'd have to be very picky. Great job! The only thing I'd add/change would be: - Adding glowing orbs/flares to the caster hands - I'd spend more time on body dissolve effect, for example, the moment of soul leaving the body I'd dissolve the body using noise texture and to support it I'd add dust partciles as well. It's not like it's needed as this effect is really good, just few things how I'd try to improve it. Good job!
  • Hello, are you really a student? , well done! , i think you can optimice your VFX to be perfect and add something extra like GPU particles but, it´s a good VFX and ready for a game. Congratulations!
  • I love this effect! The timing is really spot on, along with the colour palette and movement. The documentation for the work is great and your development is really clear. It demonstrates several complex techniques and a clear understanding of the goal in mind.
  • With regards to your initial research for moodboards and possible colour schemes , I do feel like there could have could have been more detail, this would enable you to give a clearer idea of your thought process in the initial stages of the vfx’s production and a clearer picture for the audience. Referencing is essential in this process . However I can see from your brainstorming sketches that you have explored many different avenues to try and get the desired effect of a soul being sucked from the body and detailing how that may be achieved creatively and technically. In terms of technical knowledge, you have demonstrated quite an in-depth understanding of UE4’s material editor, and how to use it to your advantage when manipulating the vertices of your characters and other meshes. Through masking parts of your soul mesh with a gradient you have clearly shown a smooth transition of effects where the souls is forcefully being torn from the body. With regards to the smooth mix between the animations and vfx transitions, you have clearly demonstrated that it has been a well thought out process, showing not only your creativity in material manipulation but displaying good storytelling skills for the effect itself. A strong point to add, you kept the colour palette to similar tones which for this effect was the correct choice as this made all transitions in vfx and animations easier to mask/ blend in. For the overall presentation of the vfx, you have done great job with all the vfx being animated through the sequencer. They are very smooth transitions between the animations and the popping effects as the soul leaves the body. You have clearly demonstrated great depth in detail to make sure the timing and animations were matching up perfectly. In terms of your pre-production presentation, don’t forget they are also part of the final submission and can really help guide and influence you on the outlook of the entire vfx.
  • Great research and documentation! I really like your effects and how you achieved the feeling of what your references were giving. I think you can add a bit more to the spell sequence in the effect. You can have sparks flowing on the spell mesh and have some sparks going crazy like "soul sparks" trying to escape the grasp of your character. I would also advise you to take a look at the shock wave and the magic particles parts. Your shock wave can be so much more magical with a little help of distortion and color variety. For the magic particles you can have a more grandiose final to this effect. What you have is great I am just talking about having a more impact end to it. Great work overall. With a little push this can be amazing.
  • Hi Stolfy, Just an amazing work. You have good reference, and you see all crucial point for doing this effect. I really enjoy this effect, your breakdown is amazing, Honnestly i can see that inside some AAA cinematics. You lost 1 star in technique part for overdraw on the smoke effect. Again, amazing work. Lowys Clément, VFX artist ubisoft MONTREAL
  • You have done a fantastic job of choosing an amount of work that is feasible and enables you to create a well planned and researched effect. The documentation is well written and enables the reader to see how you are thinking. It also has clear and consistent branding throughout which is important. You have made some fantastic choices by not using blueprints and to focus on doing as little work as possible that makes a complete effect! I too have done this approach for art tests as it enables you to get more done without worrying about how to make things work in blueprints. The powering up effect is a little too subtle, its very easy to miss. Perhaps adding a horizontal aligned burst around the evil character or characters feet will help to highlight this powering up. I think the burst of particles can have more initial velocity outwards from the character with a higher drag to give them a little more punch. This would give a fast moving element that would attract the eye to the evil character. Perhaps the glow effect on the character can be a little brighter, you can tighten the fresnel edge to avoid over brightening the whole character. I think when the initial beam is cast a small shockwave at the hands and perhaps a small burst of sparks or the energy in the hands towards the victim will help sell the beams creation. I dont think you need an impact effect as the animation conveys this well, but perhaps something at the spell casters hands will help give you the feedback of the cast, similar to a muzzle effect on a gun. The techniques used to create the souls is really well done and the animation and timing of this whole section is really well executed. The shockwave and pulse work really well, a smaller slightly subtler version of these might be all that is needed in the above feedback. This is a really well thought out piece and really creative. Well done
  • Steinar H Here is some notes I made while browsing through your asset pack. Well executed The purpose is obvious Colour pallet is cohesive and fits the theme The chargeup into release feels well timed and is nicely anticipated The techniques behind these effects are well executed and mostly documented. The asset pack that is distributed is very messy. A lot of the assets don't have naming convention prefixes. There is also some inconsistency here and there. Objects in the scene that are called blueprint1, or sphere aren't very usefull, please describe (SM_DistortionSphere01) for example Textures should have prefixes. (T_, or TX_) for example Static meshes should have prefixes (SM_, SK_) for example Material instances typically also have a different marking (MI_, or _inst) for example Conventions and descriptions will help people find your work later on in developement. Adding secondary elements to the effect, might help motivate and spice up the effect. Using some more of your small particles to highlight the shape of the trumpet for example. The round particles you use, are all quite big and glowy. it might be interesting to use softer, less pronounced particles as well. Some more smaller faster moving particles can also add to your effect during the burst of the soul. Shapes are not that well defined righ now. The texture on the trumpet looks very soft both perlin and worley noises aren't super interesting on their own. Using soft brushes of different sizes you can sculpt more intersting textures and shapes into the noise. Adding an extra offset mask to your dissolve dither can help remove some of the weirdness that comes with dithering. sRGB shouldn't be enabled on pure date textures, like your packed noise texture. they will skew your data. One channel textures should be set to Greyscale ( or alpha, in the case of a mask texture ) In the documentation you mention a material trick to cull transparency overlap. it is important to also mention that the character needs to write into the custom deph for that to work since using the custom depth buffer will have a performance impact. Documentation has a lot of focus on the material aspect of things (Which I agree is really cool), but it would be nice to see your attitude towards particle simulation described as well. Overuse of lights will have performance implications for your effect. Overall the effect looks really great, and is technically quite well executed.
  • This is a very effective sequence of VFX work. The pull effect and timing of the soul exit is very good. I like the distortion around the character too, this adds good depth to the effect and the delay timing and random nature of it is excellent. The only slight negative is I don't like the pose of the death ghost, it looks odd and out of place with the other animations and the effect as a whole. A great sequence of work, well done.

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