Unity Physical VFX authoring tool
As with many other of my experiments, this small project started from a core design philosophy of mine: the mouse and keyboard aren’t really the best tools to express heartfelt, visceral artistic ideas and as digital creators, we often revert to our own bodies and pre-digital instincts to act out our ideas. Why not take advantage of that?
Who hasn’t grimaced at a nearby mirror as a reference for an illustration, gesticulated to other team members to describe the pace and gait of a certain character or (and this is where this project comes in) wiggled around our fingers to explain how a tuft of smoke should behave?
With this small Unity package, you can now use your Leap Motion (mine was gathering dust in a box somewhere) to save some time when authoring particle systems. Simply add the PhysicalVFXAuthoring component to your scene, record a few seconds off the Leap Motion and watch your particle system automatically assemble itself based on your movements. It obviously won’t do all the work for you - but it’ll save that tedious first iteration that we all hate.
While you will pretty much need a Leap Motion for this to work as intended you can use it without one also - you just need stuff to track (like motion controllers). If you do go the Leap Motion route, you’ll need the Leap Motion core assets that can be found here.
- Add the PhysicalVFXAuthoring component to a game object in your scene. The scene must also contain the gameobjects that will be tracked in world space (eg. the leapmotion capsule hand fingers).
- In the PhysicalVFXAuthoring script, assign:
- The affected particle system
- The gameobjects that will affect the final animations (here called nodes)
- The recording length, preroll length and recorder framerate
- The size node index - this takes distance from the first node to this node to scale the system as we record. With the demo setup, this matches the middle finger.
- The various scales and features of the different things you can record.
- Press record, watch the console for preroll and move! Once it stops recording changes with be applied automatically.
Possible Future Iterations
- Oculus Quest Hand Tracking (if it makes it with the Quest Link)
- HDRP VFX Graph Compatibility
- Unreal Version
Made in a few hours at Imaginary Spaces. Thanks Benoît!