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Volumetric Light System Release/Support Thread

IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ

Available now on the marketplace for $5!

Short Description

A flexible, efficient, blueprint-driven volumetric lighting solution for 4.12 and up.

Long Description

A workaround for achieving volumetric lighting in Unreal Engine 4.12 and up using a single drop-in blueprint that handles simulating volumetric lighting in your worldspace. Any light source that affects translucent lighting will simulate volumetric lighting. Using only in-editor tools and assets made in Blender, this system performs comparatively to industry-standard volumetric lighting solutions, utilizing optimizations like frustum culling, scalable sample quality, and three pre-set render distances, as well as artistic tools like automatic or manual color selection and density control, without the need for any C++ or custom HLSL code. Instantly ramp up the atmosphere in your project on the Windows platform, simply by dragging the blueprint actor into your level and assigning your directional light-source.

Technical Details

Number of Materials: 10
Do Materials derive from a Master Material with instances as variation: Yes
Number of textures: 8
Texture Resolution: 251x253, 1920x1080
Engine Compatibility: 4.12 and Up
Intended Platform: Windows
Platforms Tested: Windows
Documentation Included: No
Important\Additional Notes: At an average 2ms frame-time cost, this system performs on-par with other industry-standard volumetric lighting solutions. (Crytek – 2-3ms, Ubisoft – 1.1ms, NVIDIA – 1.2ms)

Current average performance cost at max render quality/render distance: 2ms

Features

  • Quality selector
  • Distance selector
  • Active/Inactive Modes
  • Debug Mode
  • Density Slider
  • Color Picker
  • (Optional) Tie color to sun color

Screenshots:

Price
Price is $4.99 USD

Release Date
June 22, 2016

Disclaimer
Although UE4 is slotted to have volumetric lighting/fog iterated upon starting in July, this is a fully feature-complete system that is organized and ready to go right now. If you want to save your money, wait for the real thing from Epic. Otherwise, thank you very much for your support, you’re helping me realize my dream of becoming (on some level or another) a paid developer.

Here it is in motion:

Working on rebuilding the example area for the 4.12 update, using the point-light to show off the flexible system handling omnidirectional volumetric shadow casting. Just waiting for the release schedule to get hammered out at Epic and I’ll have a release date for you all!

Yes, I’m interested in this!

Does this allow things like floating dust/sparkles?

Yes, swirling dust/fog patterns are something that I’m rolling into another system that’ll be using a more advanced version of this, though I will be implementing the extra features I’m building there to this system as well once they’re more polished, in a future update. I hadn’t considered sparkles, though with the same principles it could be done, I’ll post a screenshot when I get home and try implementing it :slight_smile:

I have added the ability for fog-swirl patterns as well as floating dust/sparkles, here is an example video showcasing how it looks. System is showcased at around 30s in.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=iezcIEy1dPI

http://i.imgur.com/bmtoaeG.png

http://i.imgur.com/PkaaPL0.png

Oh, my God that looks beautiful!

The fog is so immersive. The dust looks good too, but a little vertically stretched for some reason, but it still looks good so far.

Is the dust material customizable? (for example, if we wanted the dust to be emissive, to react to bloom and such).

Yep, DustEmission can be exposed with a parameter slider.

very cool system !
can i set any light to have or not have voluemtric effect.
and can i set one to have dust and one not ? can i control the strenght of all effects individual for everye light i choose ?

You can set different lights to have or not have the volumetric effect by ticking/unticking “affect translucent lighting” on the individual lights. As for the individual lights controlling individual settings like dust/fog/density etc, right now the way the system works, everything is built with global settings from a central blueprint actor you bring into your level, it doesn’t add any extra parameters to the engine-default light actors. You could theoretically use trigger volumes to have more granularity as you’ve described, but this probably won’t be a built in feature.

will get it either way :wink:
but wouldnt it be better if the lights could be controlled individually ?

It definitely would, and I’m exploring it as a possibility as I’m continually working on it, if I end up getting it to work reliably I’ll add it in as a feature in a future update :slight_smile: thank you very much for your interest and support, having these comments has pushed this system further and further, and that wouldn’t be possible without you kind folks!

Looks great. Does this technique scatter colored light correctly, or is it limited to a single global color?

Unfortunately this technique is limited to one global color. That’s another thing I’ll tack onto my experiments list though :slight_smile:

One question: What is the meaning of your disclaimer? There seems to be an “unclickable” link in there. And what does your feature provide that the Engine will not integrate?

Ah, I’ve fixed the link, some weird junk happened with the OP during one of my edits. It’s on the UE4 Development Trello Roadmap to have some kind of activity on native-supported volumetric light/fog in July, whether that means it’s going to be finished or started or iterated on or what, I don’t know.

My system allows users to have a feature-complete volumetric lighting system sooner if they wish, as it’s ultimately unclear what the July label on the trello means, ie it could be iteration, completion, or even the start of attempts at creating it. I asked one of the devs during a live stream if it’ll be in 4.13, and he hadn’t heard any updates on it, so I’m honestly not sure when it’ll be making it’s way into the release version of the engine.

My system contains some features like fog-patterns, procedural dust placement, (fog patterns/dust won’t be there on release day, will be in first update soon after) and sun-actor-based color assignment, and is guaranteed to work with spotlights, directional lights, and point lights out of the box. Someone else had tried creating a plugin to have volumetric lighting as a spotlight feature, but ultimately abandoned work on it and never made it work with point lights or directional lights.

I worked hard on this system and wanted to release it for free initially, though the marketplace currently doesn’t allow for free assets to be uploaded by non-Epic staff except for very special cases, so I chose the lowest price point and decided to sell it, even if it may be available in the coming months by default, but I didn’t want to put the system on the marketplace and have people buy it and then have Epic include their own version as a feature and have people get upset that they could have saved their money, so I wanted to let people know that they can wait and save their money if they want to. I also wanted to have it on a platform where I could track analytics like unique downloads, overall ease of use, etc, hence why I wanted it on the marketplace. I could have released it for free and hosted it on my dropbox or something but that wouldn’t have offered me the same statistics, as I’m trying to build a professional portfolio, and those kinds of stats would help me greatly.

TL;DR I worked very hard on it and near completion I found out it’s going to be in the engine at some point but I still want to try and distribute it to show my work in a portfolio but I didn’t want it to look like I’m trying to scam people by trying to sell them something they could avoid spending money on if they chose to wait.

Just heard back from Epic, this system will be available on the marketplace on June 22, 2016, which also happens to be my birthday! Super excited! Thanks for your feedback and support guys!

looking very forward to this. thank you very much for the hard work.
now about those coloured light sources…:slight_smile:

Hey all, the Volumetric Lighting BP is up for release tomorrow on the marketplace. I just went through and re-opened the sample project I sent to Epic and noticed that I have a filename mismatch that may carry over into the release, (BP_VolumetricLighting was accidentally named BP_UnrealSeasonsSystem, I’m working on another asset and mixed up the names at some point while editing) I had noticed it before and changed the name back, which carried over when I viewed the files in Windows File Explorer/7zip, but when I open the project in UE4 the filename change did not carry over to reflect the correction. I deeply apologize if this issue isn’t able to be fixed before tomorrow’s release date, though the good news is that the mismatch shouldn’t affect functionality in any way (I migrated the content to a new project and everything works perfectly) so it’ll still be perfectly usable, it’ll just have the wrong name on the blueprint.

Thank you all very much for your support thus far, and I’ll be sure to quadruple check everything before I submit the first update, which will contain the new fog pattern and dust-placement features.

Warm Regards,

-HW

$5?! Insta-buy!