transition effects tutorial 1

in Tutorials, UE4

Transition effects using materials (part 1)

With this tutorial I will show you how to make basic transition using materials. A transition can be used to separate a map scene with a battle scene, or show the pause screen, it have a lot of applications.

During this tutorial we are using surface materials that can be applied to the background sprite and UI materials that can be used in UI widget components

We must select User Interface in the material domain drop down to be able to use this material on UI widgets.

Material details

We can create an image component in the UI widget and set our material in the Image field

Widget image component

The initialization of our MID variable is similar to the surface material but we must use Get Dynamic Material function instead of the Create Dynamic Instance Material

Material instance dynamic variable

To set the material parameter we can use the same functions

Dynamic scalar parameter configuration

Now I can show you some examples.

Fade to black

The most basic transition, a fade to color transition. We can put an image component in our UI widget covering the screen and can change the alpha value over the time.


The material has one input to select the color and other for the alpha value

Fade to color material

Angle cutoff


To do this type of transition we must use a gradient texture, and set a variable to increment the alpha threshold. When the pixel color is greater than the threshold we set the alpha to the maximum alpha value 1, if it is smaller we set the minimum value 0. This method will result in a sharp angle transition.

To do a dynamic gradient texture we can use VectorToRadialValue function, the result is a smooth angle gradient


Using the above if statment we can obtain a more sharp shape


To edit de direction of the transition we can connect a Swizzle function between the textcoord node and the UV input of VectorToRadialValue but before that we must shift the coords to center the gradient so we will substract 0.5 to the textcoord node. We can apply a 2d vector instead of a scalar parameter to vary independently the X and Y coordinate, and center the transition in a screen object for example.


Center param


0.5 value


0.8 value

Swizzle and center
Swizzle result

But we want to start the animation from the top so we need to insert a flip, apply a multiply using a 2d vector will do that.

Angle transition material

Flip factor


Vector (-2,-2)


Vector (-2,2)


Vector (2,-2)

Radial cutoff


The main function of this material is RadialGradientExponential


This function creates a smooth circle shape gradient. The smoothness of the shape is controlled by the Density input, lower values result in a smoother shape, higher values in a sharper edge.


Density 1


Density 4


Density 10

We can control de center of the shape using de CenterPosition input, using a 2D vector can especify different values for X and Y axis. Material UV coordinates  take values between 0.0 and 1.0 so to center the shape in the material we must set the vector (0.5,0.5)

The value of radious needed to fill the texture must be calculated using the center position, if we set the circle in the middle of the material only need a value of 0.71 to fill the texture, with a center on (0.25,0.25) we need to increase the radious until 1.06.


Center (0.5, 0.5) only need radious 0.7 to fill


Center (0.25, 0,25) need radious 1.06 to fill

Radial transition material

We can make funny animations using all the parameters


Mosaic or pixelation

This transation will be applied to the background so we will set the domain of material on surface


To pixelate a material we have to modify the UV coordinates so that they are no longer a smooth gradient. We can add a scalar parameter to control the pixel density of the transition.

Mosaic transition material

Linear cutoff

To obtain this transition effect we can use the LinearGradient function with the same if statement used in the previous angle transition to reduce the smoothness


Simple but effective transition


We can add a parameter to establish the start position of the split. Using the Abs function the result is a split spreading to both sides.

Split transition material

To be continued…. (part 2)

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  1. Hello Thanks for these tutorials.
    My Image with material work fine in editor but in standalone build it does not work.
    Is there any help ??

    • Hi!

      We need more data to investigate the problem, like the unreal engine version and the build platform.

      Can you provide a minimal example project to reproduce the error? Or at least the material with the image to check if there is any error.

      You can send me a zip to [email protected]