How to Use Real-Time Particle Effects with PopcornFX | ActionVFX

How to Use Real-Time Particle Effects with PopcornFX

How to Use Real-Time Particle Effects with PopcornFX

Exploring the world of real-time visual effects is well worth your while, so why not start with one of the leading editors: PopcornFX.

Real-time VFX visualization is becoming more and more prevalent due to advances in software optimization. Better hardware is becoming available at a lower cost as well. VFX apps like Allegorithmic’s Substance even allow for real-time rendering of PBR materials as you work through your scene.
One of the great options available to VFX artists for real-time particle effects is PopcornFX by Persistant Studios, a node-based multi-platform particle effects editor.

Their studio has helped pioneer real-time 3D VFX in the film and gaming industries over the years. They currently oversee agencies that offer innovative virtual, augmented, and mixed reality solutions for large-scale corporations and entities.   

Who Should Learn PopcornFX?

PopcornFX has plugins that run in tandem with game engines like UE4 and Unity, so it’s ideal for helping game developers enhance their VFX pipeline. Of course, VFX artists in the film industry can benefit from it, too. 

If you’ve got experience in producing visual effects in UE4 and Unity, PopcornFX will be a great addition to your pipeline.
PopcornFX is recognized nowadays as a professional-grade tool used by an increasing number of studios & VFX artists. The UE4 [or Unity] + PopcornFX duo offers the most complete & most efficient 3D FX solution for apps and games development.” -
Their latest iteration of PopcornFX (PopcornFX v2) not only offers very reasonably-priced access for indie VFX studios, but they even offer a free version for non-commercial/educational use.

It allows you to learn the software and become proficient before you jump into using it for a commercial project. Not only does the free aspect of PopcornFX make investing time into learning it a no-brainer, but it’s also an additional VFX program you can add to your repertoire and résumé.

How PopcornFX Works

The VFX artist first creates their assets in the PopcornFX editor, which then connects to the game engine and transfers the assets.

By baking the pre-made assets into the engine’s runtime environment through the PopcornFX editor, the VFX artist can then navigate and play back their scene in real-time, making changes on-the-fly without having to worry about rendering the scene out separately for review.  

PopcornFX can be used in UE4 to produce VFX content for all major gaming platforms, including Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PS4, Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, and even Magic Leap.

How to Use PopcornFX

If you’d like to learn how to integrate PopcornFX into your VFX workflow, there’s no better place to start than the tutorials section of their website. It provides an array of tutorials to bring you up to speed on how you can wield the power of real-time particle effects with PopcornFX in your preferred engine.  

You can use either the standalone version of the PopcornFX editor, or integrate it into UE4 or Unity with separate plugins.

This is an awesome example of VFX that can be achieved in VR using PopcornFX:
While there is a bit of a learning curve to PopcornFX, they offer quite a bit of support to get you started, and PopcornFX provides a great solution for VFX artists who want to integrate real-time particle effects into their productions.

Again, the ability to train with their free version makes it an excellent choice for growing VFX artists who want to branch out into more specialized software that can be useful not only in the filmmaking industry, but in the game industry as well.

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