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Feedback Wanted: Visual Effect Graph

Discussion in 'Graphics Experimental Previews' started by ThomasVFX, Oct 21, 2018.

  1. ThomasVFX

    ThomasVFX

    Unity Technologies

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    Feedback Wanted: Visual Effect Graph

    The Visual Effect graph is the next-generation entry point for visual effects in Unity. It is targeting modern platforms and relies on Compute Shaders and the High Definition Render Pipeline for maximum performance and visual quality.



    Visual Effect Graphs are a new kind of assets that contains one or many components (Mesh, Particle Systems, ...) of a fully customizable, standalone effect. Every graph embeds the behavior, shaders, parameter interface and events of the effect template.



    You can use these templates in the scene by referencing them in a Visual Effect component, then adjusting the parameters you have exposed to customize any instance.



    Preview

    This piece of tech comes up as a preview for 2018.3. So it is not best suited to be used in production at the moment. You will probably encounter bugs and crashes, so feel free to report them to us.

    Also, some parts are subject to refactors and changes in the near future : you can expect breaking changes, although we will try to keep them as a minimum :)

    Compatibility

    Visual Effect Graph can be used starting 2018.3, by using the Visual Effect Graph package and can be used on build for the following platforms:
    • PC Standalone Windows (DX11, DX12, Vulkan)
    • PC Standalone Linux (Vulkan)
    • MacOS (Metal)
    • PS4 and XBoxOne
    Currently, Visual Effect Graph is not compatible with the following platforms:
    • Android Vulkan
    • Any platform that does not support compute shaders
    How to get the Visual Effect Graph?

    You can access the Visual Effect Graph preview for now as a local package, by cloning the Scriptable Render Pipeline repository under the release/2018.3 branch.

    Code (CSharp):
    1. git clone https://github.com/Unity-Technologies/ScriptableRenderPipeline.git --branch release/2018.3
    If you do not want to use github to recieve updates you can download a zip containing everything here.


    Feedback
    • Any Feedback is appreciated! Feel free to participate to the discussions on this forum thread.
    • You can also report bugs using the Unity Bug Reporter by mentioning the Visual Effect Graph as package.
    • If you do something cool, record it then post it on social media using the hashtag #VisualEffectGraph
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
    jashan, Alverik and JakubSmaga like this.
  2. Tiny-Tree

    Tiny-Tree

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    is this usable at runtime and can be extended to different purpose? lets say controlling a dialogue
     
  3. Grimreaper358

    Grimreaper358

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    Not sure if this is planned but it would be nice if shader graph can create shaders that work with the VFX editor. This might be more of a shader graph topic but since the VFX shaders are directly linked to the graphs, this seems like the place to mention it and see if there are any plans for that.

    Question: Is there support for frame blending with motion vectors to create effects like this?
     
    Elecman, Alverik, tap_unity and 2 others like this.
  4. JulienF_Unity

    JulienF_Unity

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    Yes they are plans for tight integration of shader graph within vfx graph. We're aware this is a major feature missing.

    For motion vectors generation of flipbooks, we are looking at it too. Probably within the VFX toolbox
     
    Alverik, Soaryn, Zeitcatcher and 2 others like this.
  5. Korindian

    Korindian

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    Is there a way to have the effect be local to a specific designated transform that is NOT the Transform the effect is on? For example, in Shuriken, we can choose Local, World, and Custom Local (which is a reference to any other designated Transform). I'm only seeing Local or World options in the VFX Graph, and am not sure how to achieve this.
     
  6. Gooren

    Gooren

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    I would love to look into it. Is there a way to grab the "Unity Wrecked VFX Demo" project as well? It looks stunning! You really did an amazing job with it.
     
  7. Desoxi

    Desoxi

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    Are there any other templates than the 4 inside the Visual Effects Graph/Editor/Templates folder called "Empty Particles System", "Simple Particle System", "Simple Static Mesh" and "Simple Swarm Particle System"?

    Would be cool if we could get hands on that pintable vfx :O
     
  8. DuvE

    DuvE

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    Will Visual Effect Graph be available for the standard rendering?
     
  9. elbows

    elbows

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    This system generates compute shaders that are run on the GPU. As such it is rather suited to specific tasks, largely particle related at the moment. The use of graphs & nodes for other sorts of programming in Unity is clearly a thing that will probably evolve further over time, but this is the wrong place to look!

    I love this system! I'm sure I will have plenty of feedback and questions soon but for now I just wanted to say how wonderful it is.
     
    LeonhardP likes this.
  10. ThomasVFX

    ThomasVFX

    Unity Technologies

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    @
    Right now, we do only support local and world, but you can still simulate in local space, then apply transforms in your output context on whatever attributes you need by using set <attribute> nodes, then feeding in an expression using transform operator, taking as input your custom local transform and the get <attribute> operator. So far it's doable even though it could be straightened up. We'll look into that matter

    Sadly, not at the moment.

    These template are actually used in the spacebar menu to spawn already configured systems in your graph :) The visual effect graph package contains the mimimum and does not ship with broad samples, but we shall provide an actual samples project in the future.

    It is supposed to be compatible but only for non-lit outputs. We only support HD Render Pipeline for now.
     
    Korindian likes this.
  11. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    I hope this will be the ground work for more general visual scripting and visual finite state machines.

    It looks good and with very fast iteration times
     
  12. sybere

    sybere

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    Hello!

    Is there any downloadable sample? maybe the asset in the first picture?
     
  13. elbows

    elbows

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    I note that there are some vector field importer utilities. May I enquire as to what 3rd party tool(s) were used to make the .vf files that the utility can convert to textures for use with the Visual Effect Graph?

    edited to add - these seem to have been used in the test project to bring in a couple of SDFs (of a teapot and unity logo) but I am curious about the .vf format used.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
  14. vx4

    vx4

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    Please don't forget to add future related to SDF. like generating SDF from mesh or particles system to be use in Visual Effect Graph
     
    elbows likes this.
  15. elbows

    elbows

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    Or if they dont plan to offer that, maybe see if Keijiro is prepared to do some more work on the following project so that it can generate SDFs from meshes that are compatible with the Visual Effects Graph:

    https://github.com/keijiro/DFVolume

    I did have some partial success hacking that project myself to make it work, but my results were not good enough to share just yet.
     
    gasanoff and vx4 like this.
  16. elbows

    elbows

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    Since there are no official fancy sample projects for this yet, I took the liberty of taking some of the more visually interesting scenes from the github test project (that exists in branches such as vfx/2018.3 but not release/2018.3 at the time of writing) and putting it in a .unitypackage file so it is a little easier for people to get. I will share it shortly.
     
  17. elbows

    elbows

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    The tests I mentioned:

    EDIT - I have removed this package now because I have a feeling the samples have been updated since I made the package and with multiple different VFX versions around it is best for people to get the right versions themselves from GitHub or wherever.

    It does include the Unity logo one that you've probably seen in presentations.

    These were all taken from the following repository. That test project includes a bunch more tests but I didnt include the more basic ones in the above package: https://github.com/Unity-Technologi...ree/vfx/2018.3/TestProjects/VisualEffectGraph

    EDIT - the above branch isn't the right one any longer either, treat this post as out of date!
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    313b, Alverik, TerraUnity and 7 others like this.
  18. racarate

    racarate

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    Hi! Is it possible to bring in a flipbook of vector fields? I have a 30 frame fluid simulation from Houdini I would like to use to drive particle motion...
     
    Zeitcatcher likes this.
  19. DuvE

    DuvE

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    Is it supposed to work in Standard Unlit rendering in the current version or in the next versions? Because I've tested it, it doesn't work in standard rendering (when I unplug the HDRP Asset from Graphic settings). Particles are created, but they are invisible and for some reason, their emitter stuck to view space.
     
  20. hyunBonfire

    hyunBonfire

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    Any plan to release more information about the data supported by visual effects graph, such as 3D volume, Vector field(.fga), Motion Vectors and etc.?
     
  21. JulienF_Unity

    JulienF_Unity

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    A generic Visual Scripting tool is in currently in development. Check the roadmap for more info.

    All our samples will be available soon

    For this you can pack all your frames in a single texture 3D and use a few math nodes to samples at the right frame or you can expose the 3D Texture and use a small script/timeline track to set the frame. We may add 3D flipbooks functionality directly built-in in the future.

    Regarding texture formats supported by the VFX Graph:
    • Texture 3D (Used for Vector Fields, Signed Distance Fields or can be sampled directly for generic use
    • Texture 2D
    • Texture 2D Array
    • Texture Cube
    • Point Caches (An internal type which is basically a set of Texture 2D storing point attributes)
    We plan to work a lot on the VFX Toolbox to allow easy generation of Vector Fields, Signed Distance Fields from meshes, Point caches directly within Unity.

    We also plan to add exporters for popular DDC tools to export Point Caches and Texture 3D directly usable within Unity.

    Motion Vectors blending in outputs will come soon and Motion Vectors generation will be worked on later to be included directly into the Image Sequencer tool or our VFX Toolbox.

    fga files are used by UE4 to store Vector Fields, we have our own called vf. Depending on what your needs are we can add support for some popular data formats.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018
  22. elbows

    elbows

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    I spent too long researching a few things and writing this reply, so Julien from Unity posted a proper response before I finished this message, but I may as well post it anyway!

    The tools to easily import/convert some things on this front seem a bit weak at the moment. The visual effects graph expects signed distance fields to be stored in 3D textures, of types like RHalf. It expects vector fields to be stored in 3D textures, and supports Unsigned Normalised and Signed types. Point caches can also be used and this is one thing they do provide a utility for already, there is a menu option to bring up a window that will convert a mesh to a point cache file that the visual effect graph can use, but I havent tried this side of the system at all yet.

    There is no utility to import .fga files and turn them into suitable 3D textures yet - so I used one that I bought years ago off the asset store (Mega Flow) and it works, the format of 3D Textures it can create from .fga files seems fine with the visual effects graph. I also bought 'JangaFX VectorayGen - Official Vector Field Plugin' just to see if that worked too, but quickly discovered that the bit of code in it that they've written that supports GPU 3D Textures is hidden in the UI and doesnt let you actually create texture assets within your unity project, so this is an incomplete solution that I cannot test with the Visual Effect graph unless I take a little bit of time to add some code to it.

    There is some code that Unity have used to import signed distance fields from .vf format files so that they turn into RHalf 3D textures inside Unity which the visual effect graph can then use. I know nothing about this vf file format so I've been exploring other sdf solutions that bake to a suitable 3D texture asset in unity, but I havent got far yet and spoke about this in earlier posts.

    It is good to know that Unity are working on various solutions, and I am not that surprised to hear that they favour making exporters for their own format and/or unity textures rather than just doing an .fga importer, although I still think an .fga importer->3D texture baker would be popular, since 3rd party asset store tool like Mega Flow that can do that, have lots of other unrelated functionality & associated cost and UI complexity.
     
    JulienF_Unity likes this.
  23. JulienF_Unity

    JulienF_Unity

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    You need to change the render pipe path in Settings/VFX to point to legacy. We're not sure this is still working as it is not maintained anymore. But we can fix it if it's not.
     
  24. elbows

    elbows

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    I think the only 'missing piece' here is on the import side, as I was just discussing, and there is a 3rd party solution you can use if you can provide each houdini frame in a format Mega Flow supports. Once the data is in the right 3D texture format in Unity, as a 3D texture asset for each frame, you could just expose the vector field input in the effects graph as a parameter, and use a simple script to cycle through the 3D textures and assign them to that parameter. If there are performance implications for this basic way of doing it, and the resolution of your simulation data is low enough, it might be better to try to create an atlas of all the frames in one texture, and write some custom effects graph code to handle it, but thats a fair bit of additional effort and I cannot currently evaluate whether it would be worth it.

    If anyone has a bunch of frames of such vector field data in a suitable format (Mega Flow supports fxd, fga and a maya plugin that exports flw so those formats are what I can use right now) and they dont mind sharing them, then I would be happy to have a go at getting it working in Unity with the visual effects graph. Its something I shall probably try myself eventually anyway, but right now I dont use external tools so I lack the necessary vector field data until a time that I bother to add a baking function to the fluid sim that I use directly inside unity. And I never seem to quite get round to that because I have so much fun using the data from that fluid sim live in Unity, even though it eats most of my gpu so isnt really that practical for games unless I lower the simulation resolution to levels that dont give me the results I crave. I really should investigate using it as a baking tool now that visual effects graph is here, but I'm not exactly a pro coder, more of a botch merchant.
     
  25. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    Thanks, I did check the roadmap two years ago and it still the same today, it's in research.
    "Initial prototype of Visual Scripting, for internal demonstration and feedback gathering purposes."

    To me it seems like this will only come out when the ECS preview is final and stable because it will be build on top of this. right? Let me just say I'm really looking forward to it, and it seems the base to build on is there in the interface for the shaders graph and the vfx graph.
     
  26. Korindian

    Korindian

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    I appreciate the answer. I'm trying to do what you suggested, but I'm not familiar enough with the graph to make it work. Is there a simple example of this available? Or is it better to wait until you guys straighten up the workflow?

    My primary use case is having all effects seem like they are in world space, but are actually in local space in relation to a floating origin parent transform. When the parent transform shifts position when the camera is far from the origin, all effects shift along with it without leaving any particles or trails behind at the previous positions, because they are local to that parent.
     
  27. mrcostard

    mrcostard

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    I don't feel the installation clear...i download directly the Zip, i open the project (HDRP test, right ?) with the lastest beta, i have no visual shader graph...can somebody help be, it's been an hour trying all i can do, but it's out of my mind, i don't get it
     
  28. ThomasVFX

    ThomasVFX

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    Actually, the HDRP Test project does not reference the Visual Effect Graph at the moment.

    Right now if you get the project directly from the ScriptableRenderPipeline GitHub repo you will have to configure by hand a new project that reference both: SRP Core, HD Render Pipeline, Shadergraph and Visual Effect Graph

    To solve that issue before we go into a regular package, I have created such a project here: : https://github.com/peeweek/VisualEffectGraph-EasySetup

    It comes with two batch files, one to get the SRP repository, one for updating it. And is already configured.

    Basically you need to download this repository (or clone it), make sure you have git for windows installed, then run the `FirstTimeSetup.bat` file: It shall get the SRP repository. Then you can open the project using 2018.3.0b6 and newer versions.

    This project is already configured, and contains a simple scene with three really simple effects.
     
    Pikkewynman, Egil-Sandfeld and vx4 like this.
  29. DuvE

    DuvE

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    Done, but still didn't fix the issues, looks like it's not working. Here a short video:
     
    tap_unity likes this.
  30. Ziboo

    Ziboo

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    Some feedback / bugs:
    - Exposing a Gradient parameter doesn't allow to set color in HDR... pretty annoying for particles
    - Can we have a set local variable / get local variable, or you now a portal node, to avoid to much spaghetti lines

    Thanks a lot, I'm trying stuff and I can see a bright future for this tool !!

    I'll come back to give more feedback
     
  31. Image3d

    Image3d

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    What about point cache file format playback? Is available ?
     
  32. sator_imaging

    sator_imaging

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    It's not about feature, but important.

    Wacom Tablet completely disabled in Visual Effects Graph window.
    and also, some mouse operation (Alt+MMB & Alt+RMB) should be work like as Scene view.
     
  33. Desoxi

    Desoxi

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    What kind of asset is this and how do i create it?

    screenshot.PNG

    If its a 3D Texture which tools would i use to create, for example, the unity logo vector field?
     
  34. jamieniman

    jamieniman

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    Is there a utility to create signed distance field 3D textures out of meshes?

    upload_2018-10-26_13-39-29.png
     
  35. Grimreaper358

    Grimreaper358

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    Currently, you can make a 3d texture/Signed Distance Field texture from another regular texture with the Density Volume Tool that comes with HDRP.

    upload_2018-10-26_9-17-15.png

    upload_2018-10-26_9-22-56.png


    Overview of the Visual Effects Graph - I timestamped the part where he goes over the tools (Although nothing on 3d textures)



    They didn't announce a specific tool for that. I'm guessing there might be one since there is an option to create Point Cache from a mesh.
     
  36. elbows

    elbows

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    That sounds very wrong to me. There are all sorts of different things that can be stored in 3D textures, but the nature of the data is really quite different, and its not good to confuse one for the other. Signed distance fields store information about how close a point is to the surface of an object, and whether it is inside or outside the object. This information has various applications in game engines, and in this case its used to provide particle attractor features that are relatively cheap to compute in realtime. Searching for historical uses of SDF in Unity will cause further confusion since in the past, apart from a couple of specific SDF render-related 3rd party plugins, the most commonly talked about use of SDFs in Unity was for 2D SDFs used for text font purposes.

    This 'SDF stored in a 3D texture' information is quite different to 3D textures that are used for things like fog density, and 3D textures that store vector fields which enable the velocity of particles to be influenced. And I already posted about some of the options for importing some of these kinds of data into Unity - short answer is that the appropriate tools are not really provided yet, and I only got results by using paid 3rd party assets (eg Mega Flow for vector field .fga import->3D texture) and butchering existing SDF code by Keijiro which was not written with the Visual Effects Graph system in mind. Unity plan more tools to help with this stuff and exporting from external tools, but these tools arent available yet. (with the exception of mesh to point cache stuff)
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
    gasanoff likes this.
  37. Grimreaper358

    Grimreaper358

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    Yea, I should have been more clear with that. What I recommended wasn't a solution but an alternative. The textures created with the tool work (from my tests) but yea they are definitely not Signed Distance Field textures so I shouldn't have included that part. (they won't get you the exact result you're looking for but it's alright for testing)

    The video I included with the post above explains that there are tools coming so we just have to wait for them
     
  38. Ziboo

    Ziboo

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    So what is "Target" for "Set Target Position" and other blocks ?
     
  39. vincismurf

    vincismurf

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    Ok all is working. . . I was wondering how do you do multi stage FX like the demos?

    Is there a way to pass info from one effect to another. . . .like position of particles dying and starting a new fx/particles there?
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2018
  40. AStrkl

    AStrkl

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    Any idea on how to set up a parameter binder ? I tried adding the VFX parameter binder script, with a position attribute but I have trouble on getting how what's the workflow here
     
  41. vx4

    vx4

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    Maybe you can try GPU Event.
     
  42. AStrkl

    AStrkl

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    First step with the visual effect graph...I'm currently writing some kind of walkthrough / tutorial, even if all of this is still a bit confusing for me, but it's getting there :) Definitely seing the power of this !
     
  43. Grimreaper358

    Grimreaper358

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    Looking forward to the walkthrough
     
  44. AStrkl

    AStrkl

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    Here is the file if anyone wants it, I'm curious to see how easy it would be to share those kind of files

    My first major issue with the tool happened : I accidentally deleted all my Update block, and wasn't able to Undo...Fortunately I had a screenshot of it but still :(

    Also posted a bit of my process of discovering the new VEG here

    https://astroukoff.blogspot.com/2018/10/unity-veg-01-first-steps.html
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
    gasanoff and Grimreaper358 like this.
  45. racarate

    racarate

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    Hey elbows, did you have to do anything special to use Mega Flow to bake a 3D texture for VEG? I assume it should be straightforward but I am getting seam artifacts in the texture (see screenshot). I've tried FGAs from Houdini as well as VectorayGen.

    The 3D texture called "vectorfield" works just fine (believe that was from project VisualEffectGraph-EasySetup).

    I also tried scaling and biasing the values, to no avail. Been using "Set Velocity From Map" node. Any suggestions would be wonderful!
     

    Attached Files:

  46. elbows

    elbows

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    Sorry that you are having problems. My testing was a bit limited due to a lack of .fga files on my part, I ended up using a random one off the internet. I was also using a different node compared to the one you have used there. I will look into the issue this afternoon and let you know what node I used and if I can replicate the issue you see, and sorry in advance if there are problems with the solution I mentioned, I was just desperate to get something that handled fga files working with VEG at all, and I suppose it is not surprising that there may be some devilish detail/issues that need to be solved. If you have an fga file you could send me for testing then that would help me, but if not I might still be able to figure out the problem, stay tuned.
     
  47. elbows

    elbows

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    OK this is the node I was using - vector field force.

    Note that in this example I was setting the velocity to 0 before adding the vector field force. You might not want to do that bit at all, I was just experimenting with something that I dont have the words to go on about right now.

    VectorFieldForce.PNG

    I dont know if this will actually fix the problem for you, since there could also be issues relating to the texture Mega Flow can generate, I dont have time to test that side of things more right now. But I would guess that, depending on what you are trying to achieve, the Vector Field Force node is probably a better choice. You might need to change the Data Encoding option too compared to what I used there, since the example I've taken a screenshot of there was using a 3D RenderTexture from my fluid sim, not one from Mega Flow.
     
  48. andybak

    andybak

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    I'm a bit stuck on manipulating transforms. I was trying to rotate a signed distance field over time.

    I just can't figure out a sensible way to take time and convert it to rotation and use that as an input to the "Conform to SDF" transform parameter. (I can think of overly complex ways involving lookat, sine etc. but that seems a bit crazy and probably a performance hog)

    I would expect to find a node that outputs a transform and accepts position, rotation and scale as inputs. Is there anything like this that I've overlooked?
     
  49. racarate

    racarate

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    Cool, I will give that a shot! I am still waiting to hear back from Mega Flow people regarding the conversion. How would I send you a FGA?




    Also, this is slightly off-topic but I noticed that the two other data types mentioned in the reveal video (SDF and Point Cache) both have official ways to bring them into VEG -- the 32x32x32 pixel fog volume tool generates a one-channel 3D texture that can be used as an SDF and there is also a node to bring in Point Caches.

    But... what the heck are point caches used for? I can't find any node that takes them as an input? Is the idea that we will use point caches as emitters? What advantages do they have over SDF in this new particle system for that use case?

    Or are they just a simple playbook format like Alembic? As in, don't actually simulate particle sys just play back baked one? Anybody have any examples?



    P.S. For mod... this is a real long shot suggestion but the name "Visual Effects Graph" is just so sterile compared to "Shoryuken"... how about "Tatsumaki"?
     
  50. elbows

    elbows

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2009
    Posts:
    2,023
    Apologies if I got the wrong end of the stick, but it sounds like you are unaware of a graph feature. You can expand a lot of the inputs in blocks so that individual inputs can be accessed. There are small plus and minus signs next to the coloured input circles that let you expand and collapse sections. eg:

    Expand.png
     
    Desoxi and AStrkl like this.