• PopcornFX is the leading FX editor, multi-platform & cross-engine

    Read More

  • 1

  • 1

  • icon
    1st place winner "the great transmutator" VFX Contest

  • icon
    2nd place winner "the great transmutator" VFX Contest

  • icon
    3rd place winner "the great transmutator" VFX Contest

  • icon


Operating in Wilmslow, UK, Michał Piątek is working as VFX Artist at Foundry 42 ltd. since 2016. He worked before for CreativeForge Games, where he created VFX and cinematics for “Ancient Space”, “Hard west". He is also sharing VFX knowledge on his personal website http://michalpiatek.com/



The Great Transmutator : Realtime VFX Contest Entry

Game VFX showreel 2015 - Michal Piatek



PopcornFX Pro License + HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, 1 year license Houdini Fx, 18 months license subscription Substance Live, NVidia Quadro M5000 card VR Ready, Cintiq 13HD Interactive pen display



I am very, very happy- I never ever won any contest in my life, and definitely I never won a VFX contest !
Thanks to all of you who took part in the contest. It was really awesome experience to compete against such talented people. There are definitely more cool entries than there are places on a podium.
Also many thanks for organizing this contest, for all the sponsors. Prizes are truly exceptional, theme was really challenging and the whole experience was great.
Thank you all and I hope to see you guys taking part in another contest !”



  • Why did you like The Great Transmutator VFX Contest ?

First of all, VFX contest are very, very rare. When I have seen the announcement I knew I had to give it a go. And then the topic - I think it was very well chosen. Transmutation is a really challenging subject. Morphing objects in real time has always been a very complex effect to achieve and you don't see it very often in games. And because this type of effect is so uncommon I felt that I have a lot of freedom in how I can approach it. There are some effects which have certain type of look and audience already have some expectations. We all know how explosion looks like 🙂

Also, it would be silly not to mention prizes and big VFX names in the jury! If you will think about how much possibilities they open - it is really incredible. And when great prizes are at stake, knowing that someone with great deal of experience is going to judge you is very reassuring.

  • What was the biggest challenges in this contest ?

The hardest part was creating the illusion of seamless transmutation and developing my own technology for that. In offline rendering it's realatively easy to, let's just say, make a model X with 100 vertices and morph it into object Z which has 200 vertices. You can create missing vertices on the fly, rearrange them, reconnect them. In realtime this is not possible so you have to be creative. Texture-based vertex animation is one way to go but I had no access to tools which could generate that. Morph targets have a lot of limitations and they don't look very nice. After I ruled out the only two available solutions to object morphing I knew I had to come up with my own solution. I decided to write a bunch of shaders which would mimick melting and bulging, somehow apply that to my meshes and use particles to bind these two objects together. Figuring out how to make a very technical effect to be visually appealing was another challange which I was struggling with up til the very end. There is a lot more to it and I will be posting a detailed breakdown on my website 🙂

  • Tell us what VFX mean to you ?

I always enjoyed drawing, painting, music, animation, creating movies. But I also liked maths, programming, electronics. Very often you have to choose between an artistic or technical job. Being a VFX artist is like a combination of both worlds. It allows me to express myself artistically through technology.

I like to think of VFX as of very odd version of animation. Explosions, nebulas or water splashes are your characters. You animate them to convey specific emotions such as feeling of being powerful, knowing that you are witnessing something epic or to show the beauty of nature in a virtual world.

Doing VFX means that you need to understand world around you. You cannot make a good looking explosion without briefly knowing how combustion works. It is an art of observation, of understanding all the nitty-gritty details and reproducing them.

  • Why would you recommand to use PopcornFX in production ?

Definitely. Everyone is talking about going procedural these days and I always explain to other VFX artist that PopcornFX is procedural for VFX. Most of particle editors out there allow you to do certain amount of things. You are limited to functionalities which were implemented. In PopcornFX you can pretty much do anything. Its design is very open and flexible. You can do all sorts of crazy particle interactions. I also love how easy it is to create gameplay dependencies. You can create your own particle behaviors which can be later driven by some gameplay value. You don't have to ask a programmer to do it for you! Sure, you need to learn some scripting but it's not that hard and is a lot of fun.

  • Would you participate to another VFX contest ?

For sure, if time allows of course 🙂

Read More


Technical Artist for Gameloft, Benoit Onillon has more than 19 years of experience as a 3D artist. He has worked on projects such as the "Raving Rabbids" and “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon” licenses and has teached real time 3D at Isart Digital (France).



The Great Transmutator Benoit Onillon



PopcornFX Pro License and 4 hours training, 1 year license Houdini Core, 12 months license subscription Substance Live, NVidia Quadro M4000 card, Wacom Intuos Pro Medium



Thank you everyone !
This was a very fun contest to do, the theme was great and the work done by everyone incredibly inspiring and motivating.
Congratulations Michal and Ryan, awesome work !”



  • Why did you like The Great Transmutator VFX Contest ?

At first I simply loved the theme. It was presented in a video game context that really got the imagination running and gave it purpose. Then during the contest everyone was sharing his own view and the diversity of ideas was very inspiring. You really felt that every artist was adding his own twist to the concept.

  • What was the biggest challenges in this contest ?

I’m not a VFX specialist so the artistic side like tweaking colors and animations was a lot of trial and errors. Watching the others post their work really pushed me forward.

  • Tell us what VFX mean to you ?

As a technical art generalist I would say VFX is my creative outlet. I love how you get to use every trick you know to invent new ways of putting things in motion.

  • Why would you recommand to use PopcornFX in production ?

Because it’s time we got much more ambitious with our particles!

  • Would you participate to another VFX contest ?

Definitely! And I encourage everyone interested to try that once. There’s a lot to learn when you have to make your own ideas happen.

Read More


With over 7 years of experience as a technical artist Ryan has most recently been working for Microsoft since 2012 and The Coalition since 2014. His jack-of-all-trades role is mainly focused on the rendering and campaign of the Gears of War license.





PopcornFX Pro License and Steam Voucher, 1 year license Houdini Indie, 6 months license subscription Substance Live, Nvidia Quadro M4000 card, Wacom Intuos 3D Medium


  • Why did you like The Great Transmutator VFX Contest ?

I really enjoyed how the contest was laid out with specific pieces, but also was very open to interpretation. I had a lot of fun thinking through different concepts that all could possibly fit inside the contest guidelines, but were thematically very different. It was a contest that had great prizes, but also let the participants take on concept, design, and implementation roles for the whole feature.

I also have a hard time working on my own side projects without external motivation, so this competition was a great framework to get me to create something new and unique on a timeline.

I think the broad (yet still specific) focus of the contest got some great results from a lot of different contestants.

  • What was the biggest challenges in this contest ?

When I was working on this VFX contest, I used it to stretch out my skills in a couple of new areas that i hadn't spent that much time in before. I had done fluid dynamics work briefly in the past but I had never pulled the results into a realtime engine. I also spent a lot of time on the transition from the hard surface objects to the fluid and back. I wanted the impact of the droid and the resultant fluid to match up very closely, so I had to take fine grained control of the droid's dissolve and make sure it timed up perfectly with the shell.

(Big shout out to my buddy Clinton Crumpler who provided the droid and washing machine models.)

As a bonus I spent some time on sound design, which wasn't part of the competition, but it was great to try out something so different from what I've mostly worked on.

  • Tell us what VFX mean to you ?

I think Visual Effects are the layer of polish that takes a strong idea and makes it resonate with an audience. Without a great visual narrative effects won't have a lasting impact, but without consistent effects even the most dramatic of visuals will often feel lifeless and dead.

  • Why would you recommend to use PopcornFX in production ?

I haven't yet used PopcornFX much so I can't really recommend it either way. Some of the other great contestants do swear by it though !

  • Would you participate to another VFX contest ?

Absolutely, these contests are great opportunities to learn and to see fantastic results by other great artists and programmers.

Read More

We'd like to thank you, enthusiastically, for the amazing submissions to our very first multi-sponsor VFX contest.
The whole organization & our sponsors have been thrilled by your incredible work!

The Great Transmutator VFX contest was launched on March 1st, 2017, during the Game Developers Conference (GDC 2017) and supported by RTVFX, one of our valuable partners.

The purpose of our VFX Challenge was the creation of an effect, called the Transmutation,

consisting in three steps:

  • Disintregrating an object, which was separated into parts and lost solidness
  • Displacing it to its final location
  • Transmutating it into another  object, with different aspect and shapes

Special thanks to all our prestigious judges, who did a great job reviewing all VFX entries!

Thanks to our great partners!

VFX contest winners had the opportunity to win tremendous prizes!


During last Siggraph edition, on August 1st, 2017, in Los Angeles,
the three finalists have been announced!
Congratulations again to:

1st place - Michal Piatek - VFX Artist – United Kingdom
Discover his final submission: https://www.popcornfx.com/1st-place-1st-michal-piatek/


2nd place – Benoit Onillon – Technical Artist – Québec, Canada
Discover his final submission: https://www.popcornfx.com/benoit-onillon-2nd-place/


3rd place – Ryan DowlingSoka – UI Technical Artist – British Columbia, Canada
Discover his final submission: https://www.popcornfx.com/ryan-dowlingsoka-3rd-place/


To our partners: thanks again for making this first multi-sponsor VFX contest possible!

Stay tuned!

For a second edition…of our VFX contest…! Read More

Cart Item Removed. Undo
  • No products in the cart.