A VFX pipeline is a process by which completed visual effects are delivered into a game. Typically, a VFX pipeline will involve multiple software applications and stages. The basic steps of a VFX pipeline are as follows:


The pre-production stage is crucial for setting the tone of the game. It is during this stage that the game's art direction is decided and the initial concept art is created. This concept art helps to create the assets that will later appear in the game. The VFX artists work closely with the game's art director to capture the game's visual style accurately.


During this stage, the visual effects team will create the assets and hook up the VFX to the animation. They will also place effects in the world as needed. This will ensure that the final product is of the highest quality and meets all the standards required.


The game enters post-production. During this stage, any final tweaks or changes are made to the game's visuals. The VFX artist may also have to to create marketing materials such as trailers and screenshots. Finally, the game is ready for distribution by creating master files and packaging everything up for release.


Before release VFX artists have to finish working on all of the effects. Unless it is a live service game, where there is usually a lot of stuff to be done for the next update, the artists move to a different project. One or two VFX artists stay for live service or updates for an upcoming DLC if needed.

The VFX pipeline

Most game engines will provide you with an already made VFX pipeline to creating effects. Here’s a general run-down of the steps In UE4 and 5:

VFX pipeline thumbnail

The Style

The first stage of the Visual Effects Pipeline is choosing the style of the effects. Every game has its own unique look and feel. The VFX Artists achieve it through a variety of visual elements, such as graphics, colors, and textures. All of these elements come together to create a distinctive style that gives each game its own personality.So why is style important in video games? For one, it helps players to identify and connect with a game. A game’s style can also tell players a lot about what the game is like, even before they start playing. And finally, style is just plain fun! It’s one of the many things that makes video games so visually appealing and addictive.

Reference Gathering

As you know, visual effects are an important part of any game. It can create immersion, set the tone, and provide critical information to the player. But did you know that there’s a whole process that goes into creating the effects for a game? Reference Gathering is an essential part of the design process and the VFX pipeline.Reference gathering gives an idea of what the look of an effect should be like and the process to create the effects for a game. This can include anything from environmental and combat to UI and cinematics. Finally, the VFX Artists use the reference files to create the final look for the effects in the game.

VFX ref thumbnail
VFX ref thumbnail

Creating Textures

The next stage of the Visual Effects Pipeline is creating textures. There are many ways to do so, but using Photoshop, Substance Designer, or Krita are some of the most popular methods. Each program has its own unique set of features and tools that you can use to create your textures. You can read Textures Used in VFX for Games.If you’re just starting out, I recommend using Photoshop. It’s a widely popular program that is relatively easy to learn. Plus, there are tons of tutorials and resources available online that can help you at the beginning. Once you’re comfortable with Photoshop, you can then move on to Substance Designer or Krita. Both of these programs are more advanced, but they offer a wider range of features and options for creating your textures.

3D models

3D models can be used in conjunction with shaders and particle systems to create realistic or otherworldly effects. Shaders can be used to give 3D models a realistic metallic sheen or make them look like they’re made of glass. Particle systems can be used to create smoke, fire, or sparks. By combining these different elements, artists can create amazing effects that wouldn’t be possible with just one of them.


Materials or Shaders are special effects that can be applied to 3D models. They can make models look shiny, translucent, or even glow in the dark. Materials can be added to static and skeletal meshes or the particle systems.


Particle systems are groups of tiny particles that can be used to create effects like smoke, fire, or sparks. Particle systems are used in a variety of applications, including movies, video games, and even medical simulations. when the materials are set up they are improted it to the particles system and depending on what type of effects it is then the different parameters are used to get the right resulte. such as flipbooks ribbins or just spritsHope this help and gives an idea of how a VFX Pipeline in games works from creating textures to making them into particles.Thank you for reading i hope you found this helpful.Cheers x

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