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Create a Sprite Particle Effect in Niagara

Prerequisite Topics

This page assumes you have prior knowledge of the following topics. Please read them before proceeding.

A commonly used visual effects technique is rendering Texture and Materials to 2D camera-facing planes, which are called sprites. In the following How-To, we will set up a Niagara Emitter to work with sprites. When the Niagara System containing the Niagara Emitter is placed in a level, it will display your effect correctly.

Sprite_Banner_01.png

Prerequisite Steps:

This How-To uses the M_smoke_subUV Material, which can be found with the Starter Content. If you have not done so already, make sure that this Material or the Starter Content has been added to your project.

Steps

  1. First, create a Niagara Emitter by right-clicking in the Content Browser, and from the displayed menu select FX > Niagara Emitter. The Niagara Emitter wizard displays.
     
  2. Click the radio button next to Create a new emitter from an emitter template. Under Select a Template Emitter, select the Fountain template. Then click OK to create a new emitter in the Content Browser.
    NiagaraEmitter_FountainTemplate.png
  3. Name the newly created Niagara Emitter FX_Smoke, and then double-click to open it. 
  4. With the Niagara Editor now open, go to the Selected Emitter panel and locate the Render section.
  5. Expand the Sprite Rendering section, and set the following properties with the following values.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step4-SpriteRender.png
    Property Name Value
    Material M_smoke_subUV
    Sub Image Size X: 8.0, Y: 8.0
    Sub UV Blending Enabled Checked
  6. Collapse the Render section, then locate and expand the Emitter Update section. Locate the Spawn Rate module.
  7. In the Spawn Rate module, change the Spawn Rate value to 50.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step6-EmitterUpdate.png
  8. Collapse the Emitter Update section, then locate and expand the Particle Spawn section. Expand the Add Velocity module.
  9. Set the Minimum and Maximum velocity to the following values.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step8-AddVelocityMinMax.png
    Property Name Value
    Minimum X: 0.0, Y: 0.0, Z: 50.0
    Maximum X: 0.0, Y: 0.0, Z: 200.0
  10. Expand the Sphere Location module. Change the Sphere Radius value to 64.0. Click the white arrow at the bottom of the module to expand it, and make sure that the Surface Only box has been checked.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step10-SphereRadius.png
  11. Locate and expand the Set Variables section. Expand the Particles.Lifetime variable to display the Minimum and Maximum fields.
  12. Set the Minimum and Maximum fields to the following values.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step13-ParticlesLifetimeMinMax.png
    Property Name Value
    Minimum 2.0
    Maximum 3.0
  13. Expand the Particles.SpriteSize variable to display the Minimum and Maximum fields.
  14. Set the Minimum and Maximum fields to the following values.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step15-ParticlesSpriteSizeMinMax.png
    Property Name Value
    Minimum X: 200.0, Y: 200.0
    Maximum X: 700.0, Y: 700.0
  15. Collapse the Particle Spawn section, then locate and expand the Particle Update section.
  16. Expand the Acceleration Force section. Change the Acceleration Z value to 500.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step17_AccelerationForce.png
    If your particle flow is going up and then down (like a fountain), make sure your Z value is positive and not negative. Positive goes up, negative goes down.
  17. Click the Plus sign icon (+) next to Particle Update to display a list of options. Select Set Specific Parameters > Particles.SubImageIndex. This adds a Set Variables section for Particles.SubImageIndex.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step18-ParticlesSubImageIndex1.jpg CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step18-ParticlesSubImageIndex2.jpg
  18. In the Particles.SubImageIndex variable, click the white triangle across from Particle.SubImageIndex to display a list of options. Select Dynamic Inputs > Float From Curve.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step19-ParticlesSubImageIndexFloatCurve.png
  19. In the Curve input window, click the first key on the left side of the curve. For this key, set its Time and Value to 0.0.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step21-FloatCurveFirstKey2.png
  20. Click the second key on the right side of the curve, and make sure that its Time is set to 1.0 and the Value is set to .64.
  21. In the Particles.SubImageIndex variable, press the small white triangle across from CurveIndex to display a list of options. Select Link Inputs > Particle Attributes > Normalized Age.
    CreateSpriteBasedEffect_Steps_Step21-CurveIndexNormalizedAge.png
  22. Then click the Compile, Apply and Save buttons to apply and save the changes, and close the FX_Smoke Niagara Emitter.
    SE_15.png
  23. Right-click in the Content Browser, and from the displayed menu select FX > Niagara System. The Niagara System wizard displays.
  24. Click the radio button next to Create an empty system with no emitters. Then click OK.
    NiagaraSystem_EmptySystem.png
  25. Name the new Niagara System Smoke.
    NiagaraSystem_NewSmokeSystem.png
  26. Double-click the Smoke Niagara System to open it, and drag the FX_Smoke emitter from the Content Browser to the Timeline.
    SE_17.png
  27. Click the Compile and Save buttons to apply and save your changes, then close the Smoke Niagara System.
  28. In the Content Browser, drag the Smoke Niagara System into the Level Viewport.

End Result

After following the steps in this How-To, the Niagara System placed in the level plays the Niagara Emitter, producing your effect (like in the following video).