Inspired by leading film tools, VFX Graph combines blocks, nodes, and sequencers to help you author more powerful visual effects.
Simulate millions of particles
Leverage GPU power to emit and simulate millions of particles in real-time.
Emit particles from points (for example fireworks), shapes (dust in a room), 2D or 3D textures, surfaces like static and skinned meshes, or signed distance fields (a character turning into sand), point caches, camera buffers (a dissolving world), or structured buffers to sample custom data like statistics or your own simulation.
Each spawner can control time, loop, and delay to spawn particles a set number of times with predetermined intervals and durations, and be updated using various forces or turbulence systems to generate lifelike systems.
You can render hundreds of thousands of particles of many types in real-time: Use Points to create snow or dust; procedural primitives like quads, triangles, or octagons for small particles like leaves; flipbooks for animated particles like smoke; meshes to render more complex objects like debris; lines to create sparks; or strips to create vehicle trails or tentacles. You can even modify the world using distortion in HDRP to simulate heat or spawn Decals to render impacts, burnt spots, or painting stains.
Powerful particle shaders
VFX Graph offers premade materials with a comprehensive set of ready-to-use parameters to shade the most common particles.
For more advanced effects, you can visually author your own pixel and fragment shaders with Shader Graph and use them in VFX Graph. This approach allows you to create custom looks, use advanced lighting models like HDRP’s hair and fabric shaders, as well as animate vertices to deform or animate particles on the GPU for effects like bubbles or flocks of birds.
Dynamic and interactive particles
Build particles that can interact with the world in multiple creative ways. Sparks or debris could collide with or be attracted to surrounding objects using custom physics primitives using the Camera’s Depth Buffer on an entire world, or Signed Distance Fields for more complex objects.
Use Events to trigger systems, for example producing smoke when a meteorite hits the ground. Output Events can be sent to trigger systems outside of the VFX Graph, like cuing a camera shake upon impact.
For even richer effects, one can sample advanced data from a custom simulation or numbers from a database using graphics buffers.
Running both simulation and rendering on the GPU in a single program, VFX Graph can execute complex and rich particles without back and forth with the CPU.
To save performance when rendering many complex objects, mesh LODs enable the use of simple representations when a detailed object is not needed, and leveraging HDRP’s low-resolution transparents option can limit costly overdraws.
Finally, you can run hundreds of instances of the same effect efficiently using the new instancing system.
A powerful toolchain
VFX are often composed of source data coming from different software. To help generate some of this data, plug-ins for Houdini are provided to export point caches, vector fields, signed distance fields, and Vertex Animation Textures (VAT).
Unity’s Texture 3D importer allows you to import and preview Volumetrics, Slices, and Signed Distance Fields directly usable in VFX Graph.
To reduce iteration times and mistakes when changing a source asset, you can directly bake Point Caches in Editor, bake Signed Distance Fields in Editor or at runtime, or iterate on Flipbook textures in the Editor, without needing to reopen another software.
Learn more on how VFX Graph was used in Hardspace: Shipbreaker, and in some of our internal productions with deep dives into Upgrading the VFX in the FPS sample, Real-time VFX workflows in The Heretic, or the Spaceship demo VFX breakdown.
Getting started with VFX Graph
Unity Asset Store VFX solutions
Gabriel Aguiar Prod’s asset packs
From stylized smoke to meteor rain and electric orbs, discover Gabriel Aguiar’s optimized and ready-to-use VFX assets, all created with VFX Graph, Shader Graph, or Shuriken.