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CaymanS

Creating simple 2D / 3D special effects

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Hi,

 

I am working on a simple card game (like

">SolForge). That game has some pretty simple effects - look glows around cards, etc.

 

I've looked at the visual resources that SolForge uses and the effects are generally a long list of png images that are played in sequence.

 

Can anyone recommend software that is used to create these types of effects? For example, I'm assuming that that an artist didn't hand animate every single png in the "glowing smoke" effect that surrounds playable cards.

 

Thanks!

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I tend to use a lot of procedural stuff for my effects. You can grab a library such as ANL or libnoise and use various fractal functions along with patterns to generate the effects you need. If you want animations that repeat, procedural functions can be made to loop seamlessly (the creator of ANL, wrote an article about looping fractal noise in 1, 2 or 3 dimensions at http://www.gamedev.net/blog/33/entry-2138456-seamless-noise/ which he also includes in ANL). 

 

You could also write some one-off particle systems and bake the system to a series of textures. Spawn a few particles, and over some span of time, "render" the particle system to an image and save it. As the particle system is animated and baked, the effect will be saved as a series of PNGs.

 

Doing things procedurally does require you to tinker with things quite a lot, and think creatively about how you can use your available tools to create the effect that you want.

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I'm puzzled why a glow around a card would take more than 3 frames.  If it was something where the glow rotated around the card like a hand on a clock, that could plausibly take a lot of frames, I suppose.  Most 2D visual effects are pretty easy to animate using a program like Gimp, or if one favored a vector approach, Inkscape.

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Thanks for the replies!

 

The "seemless noise" article was very helpful. My game runs on iOS so hopefully I'll be able to link against ANL / libnoise.

@sunandshadow: I don't know. The "smoke" that emanates from the playing cards in SolForge are made up of 20 distinct pngs.

 

Thanks again,

CS

 

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Well, you don't really need to link those libraries into your game, unless you will be generating your effects on the fly. What you might want to do instead is just use those libraries from a separate program to construct the images for your effects, then use those images from your game.

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You gotta have a lot of eye for effects. You need to be experient with graphics and animation, and these two can make up a whole bachelor's degree course.

If you really look close you can notice that the glow around the cards has a noisy, smoky motion to it - something you can easily get with transparent, pre-rendered graphics.

 

It's always a combination of scripting and proper graphics, whatever effect you're talking about.

 

How you'll generate these "proper graphics" is the question, and ALL of the time it'll come down to your artistic skill and proficiency with the creative software you have (knowing what tools and tricks in your software you need to use to get what you want).

I agree with what FLeBlanc said: render the frames of the effect to texture atlases. What you use to generate these frames is not limited to libraries, but also 3D packages, AfterEffects, Photoshop etc.

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Photoshop has lots of filters that you can use, and the GIMP has plenty too.  Things like the cloud filter can do wonders when combined and mixed with other filters.

 

Also, if you have used Blender before and know a bit about it, you can animate the Blender generated textures just like you'd animate anything else.  So if you made a plane(with curved corners) and set a cloud texture to it, and then animated the values that define the cloud over time, you'd maybe be able to get the effect you want, or maybe something even better.

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