Featured image of post The Orbital Gateway - 11 - Smoke and More Stencils

The Orbital Gateway - 11 - Smoke and More Stencils

Adding smoke VFX

Main Screenshot

Hey everyone,

Here is how my scene is looking after some work from the past days.

Main camera angle from Unreal, showing the cylindrical mega-structure and its portals. When compared to the previous post, the blue glow from the gates and the VFX for the portals is much more powerful. The piping on the ceiling and the floor now also give off smoke and vapour VFX, showcasing radical changes in temperature.

I scaled around and made some of the pipes larger. I did that with the idea of filling up the lower and top empty space of the composition better. I also though it will improve the feel of the whole cylindrical portal and make it feel even more immense.

Vapour VFX

I then moved onto introducing some smoke and vapor particles. I wanted that in order to give the scene even more life and make it feel bit industrial as well. You can see preview of that below:

(Youtube embedded video above, showcasing the raising smoke and vapour as seen from the main camera angle of the project.)

The smokes are Cascade particle systems that are mostly my own creation. I did however borrow the use of a flipbook (animation sheet) from a 3rd party as it was a bit of a stretch for me to make one from scratch in the little time left. It also would have looked horrible because I have no experience making or baking animations or FX onto singular frames.

I then moved onto animating some sparks. I also damaged the hull of the inside of the shut off portal and made some aggressive fumes quickly leaving the pipes. See a preview here:

(Youtube embedded video above, showcasing another VFX effect. This time around its Niagara sparks that come off some torn sci-fi cables.)

Those sparks were made from scratch, not in Cascade, but in Niagara instead. If you fancy something similar there are plenty quick tuts out there and results are pretty good.

Portal VFX

I then tried to give more movement to the edges of the portal, especially as seen from profile. I did that again through a Niagara system. I spawn bunch of particles on a torus, have them on moderate lifetime and lower their opacity while apply directional velocity and killing them once they reach certain edge. The effect adds this to the portal:

(Youtube embedded video above, showcasing the portal VFX. Close up camera orbits the portal and shows dark, sci-fi smoke that adds more dimension to the edges where portal VFX meets metal props.)

Cylinder Surface

If you look closely on the overall surface of the whole portal, you might notice I also baked and added a lot more hard surface patterns and details. I’ve been trying to make some of the otherwise empty surfaces even more interesting.

Side angle of the cylindrical structure. Shows the malfunctioning, closed portal to the left and the open, working one to the right.

I think I might do another progress update in the next days, before wrapping up everything in order to submit after that. I’ll start a timeline and animate my fly-through cameras, so I might show you some previews of that next. I still need to put in some better poses for the mannequins on the platforms as well.

Thanks a lot for reading.

Until next time,


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