VFX Production Tips: Animation and Colors

Xiao Zhe Jin did a breakdown of animated VFX, discussed the approach to gathering references, choosing colors and shared favorite tools.


Hi! My name’s Xiao Zhe Jin. I have been working as a VFX Freelance Artist for five years. The project style is mostly stylized cartoons. Now I am working as a VFX Freelance Artist at IGG, creating shaders and VFX for their new unannounced project. The project is an AAA mobile game with stylized cartoons. The art is pretty good. I am very happy to work at IGG.

Color Reference

This project is a practice outside of work. I think that when you are not working, practicing against weaknesses will help you become a better VFX artist. The color reference project from League of Legends is pretty good. I like their use of contrasting colors. Sometimes, the use of contrast colors can make your VFX colors look more beautiful, lighter, cleaner.

Gathering the Reference

First, I will look for some reference pictures. Looking for elements, similar to ice, fire. Then, looking for the colors in the picture, extract the colors, and create your VFX color.

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In the second step, I will start to make VFX design drawings. I draw the elements, colors, and then create the desired texture based on the design in Substance Designer, Houdini, or Photoshop. Substance Designer and Houdini can create the high-quality textures you need through simple node links. Photoshop is used to make some sequences and cartoon textures.

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Finally, I use Unity or Unreal to create VFX, to adjust the animation movement, color, shape.

And then a VFX is generated.

Next, I will do a breakdown of VFX.

VFX Breakdown


2. Explosion

Take advantage of the contrast between zoom in and zoom out. Adjustment animation movement.


And You can add some particles by the feeling that color brings to you.

for example:

Blue-cool, snow.

Red-fire, blood.

Yellow-health, leaf.

Xiao Zhe Jin, VFX Artist

Interview conducted by Arti Sergeev

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