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Realtime VFX for Games

Realtime VFX for Games

An 8-week course covering different concepts of realtime vfx, simulating a production environment, and what makes great FX in games.

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This course covers many different concepts for realtime visual effects, layering complexity as we grow our skillset and basic understanding of what's great FX in games. We'll be simulating the concept of working in a true production environment as we go, while learning the tools and software to flesh out detailed environments, player/world interactions, combat and player abilities. Expect additional deep dives in how to maximize performance, receive and address feedback, and build our VFX libraries to increase the speed and quality of our work for years to come.

Registration Now Open
Registration Period
Apr 24, 2024 - Jul 15, 2024
Course Start
Jul 07, 2024

Course Format


Skills Level

Beginner to Intermediate


8 weeks


Once a week


Individually Recorded

Lecture Type

Pre-recorded Videos
Due each week. Expect to spend 8-10 hrs/wk viewing lectures, Q&A, and time on assignments.
Intro to Unreal
Unreal Engine, EmberGen, and Substance

The more you know, the better.

What the realtime in VFX for games really means | Starting a new Unreal project | Setting up our basic folder structure | Creating our first material | Breaking down an effect, gathering reference | Building our sparks emitter & system | Substance Designer for textures | Understanding collision for particles | Understanding A or B behaviors | Creating parameters, design for future use.

Intro to Embergen for generating our blowing dust | Creating Master Materials and Instances in Unreal | Niagara emitters and systems for blowing winds | Understanding Level of Detail in Niagara | Turning our systems into tools for world set dressing | Taking what we learn to adapt to other uses

Using our dust system in Embergen as a start point for smoke | Creating our smoke material instance | Creating fire spritesheets in Embergen | Adapting our master material for fire | Creating our Niagara system and emitters for fire, smoke, and embers with repurposed spark assets | Optimizing our fire system | Building a campfire blueprint for level designers

Intro to VFX set dressing and how it impacts player decision making | Understanding overdraw | Creating a packed noise map in Substance Designer | Creating a heat distortion master material | Introduction to world position offset/vertex animation | Creating a heat distortion asset | Adjusting our VFX to the world's needs

Creating a player to world footstep interaction system | Intro to surface materials in Unreal | Creating a footprint system in Substance Designer | Creating decal materials (master & instance) | Repurposing assets for supporting VFX | Creating walk and run variations | Adding jump/landing VFX

Breaking down what goes into a weapon VFX suite | Gathering & adapting reference footage | Using Substance Designer & Embergen for assets | Creating a weapon muzzleflash Niagara system | Creating a weapon projectile Niagara system | Creating a weapon impact Niagara system | Creating testing tools (weapon turret blueprint) | Adapting our test map to include a firing range for our tools | Introduction to feedback best practices

Addressing feedback on our weapon VFX | Creating a unique variation of our weapon impact VFX for a new surface type | Adding functionality to our turret tools for surface material responses | Introduction to Player Abilities VFX | Designing our Player Ability, breaking it down into small parts | Creating Functional VFX and understanding the foundation elements | Enhancing our Player Decision Making through shape language and motion | Understanding timing

Addressing final feedback on our Player Ability VFX | No-wake polish tasks (polish without impacting others) | Digging into other types of player abilities and how we can take what we've learned and apply it towards those

Prepare to Meet your Master

VFX Lead
Course Start: Jul 07, 2024
Josh Parker started out in the game industry in the fall of 2006, hired as a 3D generalist doing a little bit of everything. He really enjoyed character modeling and animation, but once he started digging into particle systems and the world of real-time visual effects, he was in love. He moved to Austin, TX in 2008 to start at a new studio as a VFX Artist, living the dream working on the kind of IPs he grew up with... Ghostbusters, Marvel, Mortal Kombat, and of course his favorite—Star Wars. He enjoys the variety of skills and techniques he needs to continue developing and growing as a VFX Artist, even doing things he's tackled dozens of times are always awesome opportunities to try and one-up himself and what he can do to better realize the vision of the game he's working on.

Josh is very passionate about this discipline and loves trying to give back through outreach and education where he can. He's often volunteering to speak to classrooms across the US about his discipline and industry as a whole, and he mentors college students every semester seeking to find their way into the industry. He's extremely excited to be here working with CGMA and looking forward to helping you learn about this exciting field in the game industry.

Instructor's Gallery



Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education, these finance options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

3x Payments


2x Payments


Full payment


Apr 24, 2024 - Jul 15, 2024
COURSE BEGINS on Jul 07, 2024
Realtime VFX for Games

What makes this learning experience unique?


Receive personalized feedback on all assignments from the industry’s top professionals.


Enjoy lifetime access to the spectrum of course content, including lectures, live Q&As, and feedback sessions.


Show off your Certification of Completion when you turn in 80% of course assignments.


Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with flexible, online course scheduling.

Need guidance? We’re Here to Help.

We can help with admissions questions, portfolio review/course recommendations!

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