Create a Sprite Particle Effect in Niagara

This document describes how you can create a sprite particle effect using Niagara.

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Prerequisite Topics

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

On this page

A commonly used visual-effects (VFX) 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 you place the Niagara System containing the Niagara Emitter into a level, you will see the effect displayed in that level.

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 select FX > Niagara Emitter. The Niagara Emitter wizard displays.

    SE_01.png

  2. Click the radio button next to Create a new emitter from an emitter template. Under Select a Template Emitter, select the Simple Sprite Burst template. Click OK to create the new emitter.

    Click image for full size.

  3. Name the newly created Niagara Emitter FX_Smoke, then double-click to open it. 

    SE_02.png

  4. Scroll down to the Render section. Expand the Sprite Rendering section, and set the following properties with the following values.

    SelectMaterial-RenderSettings.png

    Property Name

    Value

    Material

    M_smoke_subUV

    Sub Image Size

    X: 8.0, Y: 8.0

    Sub UV Blending Enabled

    Checked

  5. Scroll back up to the Emitter Update section, and remove the Spawn Burst Instantaneous module by clicking the Trashcan icon.

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  6. Add the Spawn Rate module to the Emitter Update section by clicking the Plus(+) icon and selecting Spawning > Spawn Rate. Set the Spawn Rate to 50.

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  7. Locate and expand the Particle Spawn section. Expand the Initialize Particle module. Under Point Attributes, locate the Lifetime parameter.

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  8. Click the dropdown arrow next to Lifetime to open a list of options to add to this parameter.

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  9. In the search bar, type uniform. Select Uniform Ranged Float. This adds Minimum and Maximum fields to the Lifetime parameter.

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  10. Set the Lifetime Minimum and Maximum velocity to the following values.

    Property Name

    Value

    Minimum

    2.0

    Maximum

    3.0

  11. Under Sprite Attributes, locate the Sprite Size parameter and make sure it is enabled. Click the dropdown arrow next to Sprite Size to open a list of options to add to this parameter.

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  12. In the search bar, type vector. Select Vector 2D From Float. This replaces the Sprite Size X and Y fields with a Value field.

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  13. Now click the dropdown arrow next to Value, and select Uniform Ranged Float (as you did in step 10). This adds Minimum and Maximum fields to the Value. Set the values as shown below.

    Property Name

    Value

    Minimum

    200.0

    Maximum

    700.0

  14. Check the box next to Sprite Rotation to enable it. Next, click the dropdown arrow next to Sprite Rotation to open a list of options to add to this parameter.

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  15. In the search bar, type normalized. Select Normalized Angle to Degrees. This adds a Normalized Angle field.

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  16. Now click the dropdown arrow next to Normalized Angle, and select Uniform Ranged Float (as you did in steps 10 and 12). This adds Minimum and Maximum fields to the Normalized Angle. Set the values as shown below.

    Property Name

    Value

    Minimum

    1.0

    Maximum

    2.0

  17. Add the Add Velocity module to the Particle Spawn section by clicking the Plus (+) icon and selecting Velocity > Add Velocity.

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  18. Click the dropdown arrow next to Velocity and select Dynamic Inputs > Uniform Ranged Vector. This adds Minimum and Maximum fields to the Velocity.

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  19. Set the Velocity Minimum and Maximum values as shown below.

    Property Name

    Value

    Minimum

    X: 0, Y: 0, Z: 50

    Maximum

    X: 1, Y: 1, Z: 200

  20. Add the Sphere Location module to the Particle Spawn section by clicking the Plus (+) icon and selecting Location > Sphere Location.

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  21. Set the Sphere Radius to 64. Make sure the Surface Only Band Thickness box is checked.

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  22. Expand the Particle Update section. Add the Acceleration Force module by clicking the Plus (+) icon and selecting Forces > Acceleration Force.

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  23. Set X and Y values to 0, and the Z value to 500. Move the Acceleration Force module to a position below the Update Age module and above the Solve Forces and Velocity module.

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  24. Add a Set Variables module with the Particles.SubImageIndex parameter by clicking the Plus (+) icon and selecting Set Specific Parameter > Particles.SubImageIndex.

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  25. Click the dropdown arrow next to Particles.SubImageIndex and select Dynamic Inputs > Float From Curve.

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  26. 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.

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  27. 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.

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  28. Then click the Compile, Apply and Save buttons to apply and save the changes, and close the FX_Smoke Niagara Emitter.

    SE_15.png

  29. Right-click in the Content Browser, and select FX > Niagara System. The Niagara System wizard displays.

    SE_16.png

  30. Click the radio button next to Create an empty system with no emitters, then click OK.

    Click image for full size.

  31. Name the new Niagara System Smoke.

    NiagaraSystem_NewSmokeSystem.png

  32. Double-click the Smoke Niagara System to open it, and drag the FX_Smoke emitter from the Content Browser to the Timeline.

    Click image for full size.

    Instead of steps 23-26, you can also right-click on the Emitter in the Content Browser and select Create Niagara System. This creates a system based on the Emitter you selected, at which point you can name it and open it.

  33. Click the Compile and Save buttons to apply and save your changes, then close the Smoke Niagara System.

  34. 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).

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