Creating a dynamic effect on a model

Hey all, I’m working on something from this sketch I did:



I’ve already modeled the bow, and now I want to add the plasma effects.
I’m going to import this to a game - so it’s going to have some conditional animations. Essentially, when the bow has “ammo”, I want the plasma (the blue) to be glowing, but nonexistent when it’s empty.

I also would like to have lightning effects sparking along the bow itself while it’s charged, and gone when empty.
Currently I only have the structure of the bow modeled, because I don’t really know where to start. I’ve found a few tutorials on lightning effects:


I’m just not sure how to make game-portable effects like this.
Any advice would be appreciated!

two solutions, either make 2 models, or 2 texture maps.

if you make two models, then simply just make one with, and one without the blue thing.

if you do it via texture/material, then add one blue emissive material to one of them, and transparent to the other, and fade between the two.

if the plasma has any animation to it, then i suggest using an animated texture generated in whatever software, personally id use Aftereffects, but blender can also be used. just make sure to render it as RGBA and not RGB as you will need the alpha channel.

and a sidenote, those tutorials you linked wont help you at all, they show you how to do it internally in blender, but if you want to export it into a game engine, then you have to create maps that allows you to create these materials in the engine, not in blender.

  • side note, if you do want to create an animated plasma effect, look up “how to create fire with poly planes” in whatever engine ur using.

So, basically any coloring and such I do in blender is worthless?
Good to know the effect tuts are worthless though, thanks!

if you plan on exporting it into another program, then yes.

i think you can keep the color information, but you still have to set up the shader in engine, so at that point you might aswell just colour it in engine aswell.

Interesting. I was under the impression that I’d want to create a high poly mesh, then a low poly mesh, then bake the normals from the high to the low. Is that information not lost when exporting?

Also, what do you mean set up the shader in engine? Like, the UV maps? The color combination?

a shader is how the material behaves, so Glass, Metal, Subsurface Scattering, Vometrics such as smoke, emitter, glossy, specular, diffuse, these things go under “shader”. and blender has its own system for “shaders” which is why the shaders in blender wont work, but colour data is universal, so if you colour an object in blender, you can export it and keep the col data. however, it will give you a flat and boring result in the engine.

UV maps, and Normal maps is something entirely different, that is something you generate, that is a part of the object, and its all universal.

if you bake a Normal map, you can apply that normal map to the object in any engine, no matter where you generate it, its just a PNG afterall.

same with UV map, if you UV map it in blender, and import it to any other program, that UV map will still be there.

Ahhh interesting. So I should stop coloring my stuff in Blender is what you’re saying lmao! Okay so maybe I should create low polys and bake the hi poly normals, import my low poly models into the game and do animations, material texturing (shaders), and effects within UE4 itself. Sound about right?

  1. Create the High poly
  2. Create the low poly, and match it as close as you can to the hi poly
  3. UV map the low poly
  4. Bake out the maps, this can include, but not limited to: Specular, Metalic, Roughness, Albedo (or diffuse), Normal, emissive, AO, etc…
    * the more maps you have, the better. the Albedo/Diffuse map can be made in blender by applying solid colours, but you wont get ANY shading, which will make the model boring and flat. thats why you should paint it instead of applying flat colours.
  • Where you make these maps is up to you, blender is not well suited to do it, but you CAN do it in blender. I recomend Substance Panter
  • the high poly model does not need to be UV mapped.
  1. import the model, and the maps into your game engine, and apply all these maps, make sure BEFORE you create the maps, that they are all supported by the engine.

Good call on checking before making the maps lol!
Could painting it be considered selecting faces, applying a material, unwrapping the UV and scaling the material until it’s the size I want?

I’ve done a bit of that sort of thing with the first model I’ve been working on. Or is painting totally different? I’ve used multiple materials for my first model, though it’s high poly. So it’s not really importable. But each material has its own specular, metallic, roughness, etc maps.

Here’s the current model:


See what I’m talking about?

as ive said, you will keep the COL data, but it wont know if a surface is metalic, or how rough it is, or if its emissive, etc. for that you need maps, such as metalic map, roughness map, emissive map, etc.

Right, what I meant is, the various materials on there have those maps in PNG format. Will I need additional maps for the gun itself, to retain higher detail on the lower poly mesh? I don’t fully understand how baking works.