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Unreal Engine Shader Work

As part of some upskilling and doing more environment art I've been spending a lot more time working with shaders. I made some for my virtual production short film which I'm proud of, my windows in particular, which blend a few different concepts.

The windows have a basic PBR based on the Megascans template for the main part of the building but then take a mask for the windows, which is based on world scale, for the windows. This allows it to be applied to buildings of all sizes and keep a consistent window size. The windows have a cube map, these cube maps were taken from a marketplace asset and is in itself quite easy in Unreal, but then I've layered a glass effect over that as well. The glass basically uses a fresnel to increase the metallic and lerp between the cube map and flat white, which I think gives a pretty realistic effect.

I also made a stripped down version of this material with just flat colours and less complex instructions for use at lower LODs.

Another shader that I really enjoyed making was the water I plan to use for my JRPG. I started by following along with a tutorial series, but then modified it to purpose and reverse engineered some other marketplace water shaders for other ideas. I'm still having trouble with creating ripples in the water where the player is, which I'll have to revisit in future. Depth masks work fine for random objects, but won't work for the player, and I've been struggling to get render textures to work correctly.

I've been spending a lot of time with landscape shaders as well, trying variations which are more procedural and ones that utilise painting, and using them to generativity add foliage to the terrain. This makes making pretty environments on a game jam timeline quite practical.

Once I have some time, I plan to work through Ben Cloward's youtube series on shaders start to finish to fill in some knowledge gaps, but it's a big time commitment.

UPDATE (17/03/22): I've actually gone back and revised the opacity calculation a little bit and linked it up to the visibility fall off for the depth system and gotten a much more realistic result (I also changed the default colours as well). This was inspired by playing Horizon Forbidden West and spending some time splashing around looking at their water. I also really need to get back to trying to get the mesh to displace and ripple around the character and make a better water foam texture (and probably particle if not displacement).


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