Featured image of post The Orbital Gateway - 09 - Red Portal, Refractions

The Orbital Gateway - 09 - Red Portal, Refractions

Tweaking the lights and refining the VFX



Here is a quick update.

Main angle screenshot from Unreal 4. The cylinder large structure of the portal device is in focal point of the image. The openings with the portals now shimmer in additional emissive sparks on their VFX tori.

I worked on a part of the cylinder in the back that from my previous angles was completely invisible. There was pretty much nothing going on there and I decided to try some storytelling by using some of my existing assets but in a slightly different way. I got the idea that maybe one of the portal gates in the back is malfunctioning. It could have gotten damaged during a spaceship passing. Now the portals’ event horizon is closed. Red lights indicate of something being wrong. You can see it below.

Camera screenshot from a bit further to the left from the one seen in the shot above. Here the circular portal opening is damaged. As such the portal is not powered and the VFX is not on. Instead the viewer can see an open cylinder. It’s eerie lit in red, as to indicate malfunction.

I think I might make some cables that are cut and damaged and just hang in there in the red cylindrical part. I could also add some sparks coming out of them. Or gas with visible vapor from some of the wider pipes?

Extra Angle

Screenshot with an angle similar to the one above. This time though, camera is slightly above. It’s also much further away from the cylinder and portals seen, and with a much lower FOV, zooming into it but eliminating a bit of the perspective distortion.

There are some visible artifacts in the light bakes seen through predominantly black faces on some of the cables. I’ll fix that next though. Now that I have this new angle I’ll have even more room for movement in the final video, which is always a good thing.

VFX Improvements

I scaled few things here and there but then went onto experimenting in the VFXs a bit more. I wanted to try to add some refraction. I though it might be a nice way to add even more depth and interest in the effects.

I started by adding just clear refraction on a sphere and then setting that sphere in a position similar to the gates. That produces the distortion that happens on the edge surfaces. A bit like what fire generates on its tip and hottest points. I then liked so much how the refraction turned out that I decided to also revisit my panning main material for the event horizons. In it I was panning just noises and fresnel but this time around I also added refraction.

All in all you can see video preview here:

I also made a Light Function that casts water-like caustics. The function is put on a point light that goes in front of the gates. Adds yet another layer to the VFX. I tried to keep color and opacity of it quite subtle.

Another preview:

Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading,


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