Tech Art Aid videos - shaders, procedural generation, etc


Recently I started recording tutorials for technical artists. Advanced topics will follow soon but I think that basic “bulding blocks” of tech art are important too :slight_smile:

—> Tech Art Aid - YouTube
—> Project files: Tech Art Aid

Watch the videos, ask, criticize.
I want the channel to be a reliable information source, not just a super gfx trick collection, so don’t hesitate to comment from your experience.
For example: why in hell did you use the crippled Round function while you could do floor(x+0.5)!!1 ;D
…that’s a good comment, I appreciate that.

I’ll post updates here too. I recommend subscribing though, if you want to see what inspiring videos I liked. There’s a ton of good stuff to watch on YouTube every week.
I’m glad to see more and more people being interested in procedural methods for last 3 years or so.
If you wanted to use such stuff in your art, get this big scale, high editability - but were scared of programmer blogs - then hopefully this channel will be a handy source of info!


UE4: Detailed Texture Blending with HeightLerp and Vertex Painting

UE4: Stylized colors using gradient mapping

UE4: Stealth Invisibility Effect (With Distortion)

UE4: How to fix translucent materials (dithered opacity)


I’ve always been wanting to see more of those shader tricks :slight_smile:

Subscribed. I love tinkering with blueprints for shaders, it satisfies my technical side. Thanks for doing this! :slight_smile:

There’s some really cool and interesting stuff in there. Thanks for making these :)!

Subbed! I really like that you cover more of “non-standart” materials. Keep up the great work!

Hey! That’s a lot of kind words. Thank you.

Non-standard texturing is one of my favorite art skills that came with learning to use game engines by myself. Graphics started to feel so fresh again. Full of possibilities to invent, not just master whatever’s given. For the first years in 3D graphics, I was learning what new options they’ve added in the software… now we can create options ^^

And this term reminds me of an amazing presentation (10 MB) -

some good stuff but…

you’re suggesting the use of a hacky technique that scales poorly with older hardware (looks unacceptably bad with TXAA turned off, and/or in lower resolutions).
as it’s obvious it relies on TXAA which is not an option for everyone to use (TXAA comes with multiple problems, it’s simply unusable on games with fast motion).

the issue I have with suggestions like this is that it put more bandaids into the real problem (translucency rendering not being satisfactory in the engine). it helps settling the status quo of a broken feature instead of building up community interest to have improvements made by Epic

That’s all true. But what deferred engine does it right? In Unity I at least had a switch to render speculars on top of opacity. But did look like a proper glass? Nope.
And it’s not only about translucency. As I said, in most games it’s used for solid mesh transitions.

This is a really awesome series. Definitely fresh material, and IMO where the real fun is found. Looking forward to more.

Hey there,

These are absolutely amazing! There is one thing related to the gradient mapping technique that I have always been curious about… How to author the gradient maps? I am trying to use them in a different fashion than you, namely store color variations of different suits inside a small texture. If I have a bunch of “normal” textures for the different suits, how to turn them into a gradient map?

Here is a great blog post that goes into gradient mapping. While not exactly what you wanted, it might give you some ideas on what to do and defiently worth a read.

Yeah I actually used this is a starting point some time ago. But to use his concrete example:

Imagine if you had these color variations as textures, but didn’t have the gradient maps. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way to do “inverse” gradient mapping. Trial and error on this sort of thing could turn frustrating real fast.

Yeah, unfortunately, to take full advantage of this technique your content pipeline needs to be setup to use this from the start. However, there are somethings you can try. Have you looked into outputting gradient maps from the textures you already have? You can do this in Photoshop by going to Image > Adjustments and then select the Gradient Mapping option. You can then use the color picker to pick the most important areas of color to add to your gradient map. Keep in mind that doing this will likely reduce the colors you can use due to how many samples a single gradient map can use. Here are a few more blogs that I talk more about what you want to do.

I haven’t seen these before! Thanks a ton!

And some of the slides from the video:

this stuff is very useful thank you

Millions of polygons with Hierarchical Instanced Static Mesh in Unreal Engine 4. Optimize draw calls, reduce CPU overhead, avoid common mistakes in Construction Blueprint and have fun creating a massive asteroid belt :wink:

How you can add variation to a procedural building within just 1 shader. Plus a tiny bit of (optional) Houdini magic :slight_smile:

I just added subtitles to the last tutorial. Better late then never :wink: I know it’s important for many people, the hearing impaired, those who watch while commuting, or those who just want to browse the video more easily.

Just watching you videos. These are really great and very clear.
I have now started using the Intel too to identify where I need to optimize and it is much clearer than any of the in engine or front end methods. Or at least a completely necessary additional tool.
Great job producing these!!