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Time Swap with Force



This VFX case based on Houdini - Unreal workflow was inspired by Titanfall and STAR WARS Jedi: Survivor.
My favorite game level is Time Travel in Titanfall 2, where the protagonist can travel between two different times - the buildings in the scene switch between ruins and full forms, which is the basis of my idea.
While playing the Jedi series, I was also impressed by Carl's powerful Force - I had the idea of combining the two - manipulating time and repairing objects with the Force.


Columns rebuilt from destruction

To make the reconstruction of columns, I created a simulation of its being destroyed and then rewind this animation
In Houdini, I used a number of Boolean nodes to seperate the column and made several groups. The UVs of the ends of the column, the interior and the shell fragments were processed separately.
Afterwards, the breakable shell group was split into many pieces by the RBD Material Fracture node; and the RBD Bullet Solver will add scattering motion to these pieces.



To make the motion more realistic and controllable by the user, I also added a sphere that can be adjusted and whose normal information will affect the Velocity of the fragments.
Houdini's Retime node makes it easy to adjust the timing of the animation, so I played the simulation backwards, baked the RBD into an FBX with the animation information, and exported it to Unreal Engine.

Material of the Rippling Wave

In The Art of Star Wars, I found interesting concepts such as the Living Force and the Feeds of Force in the story. In these settings, the Force resembles a living stream of water that sustains everything in the universe.
To visualize this effect, I created a Rippling Material Wave Material using the Unreal Material System.


The ring of the ripples is a Sphere Mask controlled by a time sine value, and some Fresnel effects and noise were added to the ring to make it more organic.
After that, I processed the ring's color information so that it was multiplied with a blue texture map that was attached to the World Position Offset. Since my ground is subdivided, this produces a very impressive fluctuation effect.
Examples of this material were also placed on various parts of the columns, and I adjusted their exposure parameters (texture, period, etc.) to match the deformation of the ground.

In order for the ripple effect to be generated at the player's feet, I created a Material Parameter Collection, which in the character blueprint fetches and stores the current location of the player. This data is then used as the center of the ripple generation in the material.


​Air Refraction based on Niagara


In order to make this fluctuation more convincing in terms of the effect it has on time and reality, I used the Niagara System to create air distorting particles
In the particle material, I superimposed two different layers of normals and attached the processed particle colors to the refraction.
Afterwards, in Niagara, I created a cylindrical Shape Location and made the particles grow larger and then smaller as they rose, before gradually becoming transparent. This made my particles look like blisters rising from a ripple - but the difference was that they were gradually pieced together from their broken state, as if time had been reversed. This process of deformation is also very similar to the process of column restoration

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