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Hologram for a whip

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    Hologram for a whip

    I'm in the process of making a futuristic whip for a game and thought it would be cool to make the actual whip out of a hologram. There'd be little chain holograms that take place of the whip. I was going to use actual geometry for each little piece, but it would become expensive fast so I chose to use alpha planes. It's for a 3rd person MMO so it's not gonna be seen close anyway. Here's what I have so far:

    Here's the alpha design

    Here's the shader

    Here's what it looks like in UDK

    The texture doesn't seem to translate well so that may need more work. I also don't have any other hologram elements occurring at the moment. This is my first real go at making a shader so baby steps right now. I'm wondering why I'm not seeing any color in the engine. I am getting the parallaxing, but the static mesh is too see through. I've messed with the blend modes so it has to be something to do with the nodes I'm using? Plus I'm getting some anti aliasing or something like that along the edges.

    The problem is probably related to the values you're feeding into the Opacity slot. In each of your depth layers, you're multiplying each texture sample by a large constant value (then adding them all together too boot) - which is cool on the Emissive because that's how you'll get the bloom / self-lighting. But those values are way too high for the Opacity which is expecting numbers somewhere between 0 and 1.

    If you add a "Constant Clamp" node between your final "Add" node and (just) the Opacity input, I bet the anti-aliasing problem would go away. However, it'd still be too see-thru given all those values above 1 would simply top out at 1. You *could* turn down the max property in the Clamp itself to say "don't be any more see-thru than this value here". However, that's not going to look nice across your gradient. So the real solution is probably going to be to take the output from that last Add node ... Multiply that result by a small decimal value, feed that into a constant clamp, and then link that to the Opacity slot. [Leave the Emissive alone coming from the original Add node]. Then you can tweak the decimal value to get it as see-thru as you want.