In this tutorial I'll go over the basics of vertex color gradient based animation for Unreal Engine 4. Vertex color gradient animation is the practice of creating animation using vertex shader offsets with various math functions modulated by the vertex colors.

We'll start by creating a basic butterfly wing flapping animation, then we'll expand on it by using VEX and wrangles to preview our animation in Houdini making it fast and easy to develop a lot more complex animations. We'll start with an empty scene, and finish with an almost cloth-like flight animation along with a really solid base setup for expanding your Vertex color based animation workflows.

Creating the most basic gradients: 00:00
Setting up a basic vertex animation shader: 03:58
Fixing the rotation issues: 05:51
Adding secondary gradients: 08:13
Implementing the second axis of movement: 11:09
Building the vertex animation preview in Houdini: 14:26
Making a radial gradient: 20:30
Finishing touches: 23:15

Below you will find the scene files. I used the following build versions: 

Unreal Engine 4.24.2 
Houdini Indie 18.0.287

Unreal assets are migrated .uassets that you can import into your UE 4.24.2 project. 
The .hip file is the finished scene with annotations and comments.



Andreas has spent a third of his life as a VFX artist in the games industry working on games of all shapes and sizes. From gritty explosions in Battlefield 1 to whacky powerups in Disney Universe He recently realized that there is a despicable lack of educational material for realtime vfx so he decided to try and do something about it. In both his work and tutorials he strives to live by KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Finding simple solutions to hard problems has become an addiction and it's the reason he's neck deep in Houdini. He's currently freelancing for some of the biggest names in both games and VR.

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  • Jochen Hanisch 3 years, 8 months ago  | 

    great tutorial, thank you.

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