Open Call for GDC Animation Bootcamp Submissions

July 31, 2013 | Filed Under Places We Pop Up | No Comments

We are starting to plan the next GDC Animation Bootcamp and we want to open up submissions to anyone that has something to say!

In our second year, and to build off of the success of the last, we plan to make the presence of animation at GDC bigger than ever. The desire to balance deeper, animation specific talks with more cross-discipline buy-in is what we believe to be the ultimate goal, and to do that we hope to make it a two day affair.

The first day would be very similar to last year (which you can watch on the GDC vault), with a focus purely on the craft of animation, digging into topics like believability, body mechanics, facial animation, and acting.

Then on day two, we dive directly into the game abyss, armed with the creative knowledge from the day before. We bring in AI programmers, designers, writers and indie devs to show the theories and solutions people are applying the illusion of life to, either in conjunction with or in ways other than animation.

All of this is contingent on the bootcamp being accepted by the advisory board again, but based on our numbers and feedback we feel quite confident in our plan.

So what type of talks are we looking for? Well…

What is your process? What is something you do in your games that you are surprised isn’t more common? What is something that you wish you COULD do? What is a tool or tech that you couldn’t live without? What motivates you? What are your best practices when it comes to working with and influencing other disciplines?

The guidelines and schedule for talk submissions are as follows:

- Talks can be 30 minutes or 1 hour long. It should be a talk that will be unique to the bootcamp.
- AUGUST 23rd – Proposed submissions due date. Email a short description and takeaway to gdcanimationbootcamp at gmail
- AUGUST 29th – Submission due date for the Animation Bootcamp. By this date we hope to have the bulk of the presenters already lined up to show the overall tone of what we have planned.
- NOVEMBER – If the bootcamp is accepted, we need all specific talks along with an outline submitted around this time
- If the specific talks are accepted, finished talks will need to be prepared sometime shortly after. (The ability to make slight revisions should persist until the conference)

We are expecting the Bootcamp to be on March 17th & 18th in San Francisco but that is just the beginning of GDC’s focus on animation. In the following days during the Main Conference there will be a daily Animation and Character Roundtable, hosted by Tim, to carry on the conversations across all game dev disciplines. Our goal is that by the end of GDC 2014, animation will continue to grow as a necessary part of the discussions at the conference and the industry as a whole.

We look forward to you not only being part of the conversation, but helping to drive it.

Mike Jungbluth
Tim Borrelli

Episode 42 – An Indie Approach to Animation

May 31, 2013 | Filed Under Episodes | 1 Comment

TOPIC: Indie Games & Animation
GUEST: David Rosen, Founder of Wolfire Games

A New Episode! I could type something or you could just go listen. You should do that.

You should also check out David’s games, which include Overgrowth, Receiver and Lugaru. You should also check out all the games in the show notes.

And finally, you should smile, because it looks so darn good on you.

Show Notes:
David’s Animation Bootcamp Summaries
Deadly Premonition & Troll 2
Gish by Alex Austin
A New Zero by Alex Austin
Intrusion 2
HammerFight
Spy Party by Chris Hecker

Episode 41 – Meet the GDC Bootcampers

January 22, 2013 | Filed Under Episodes | 4 Comments

TOPIC: GDC 2013 Animation Bootcamp
GUESTS: Animation Bootcamp Presenters

The GDC 2013 Animation Bootcamp hype train barrels forward! But instead of just listening to the conductor, we have all the on board entertainers getting into the specifics of their talks.

With this episode you will get to know what each presenter and their talk is all about in preparation for the bootcamp in March.

So join the conversation and spread the word!

GDC 2013 Animation Bootcamp
SanFrancisco, CA
Monday, March 25

Speakers & Topics

Welcome & Introduction
Mike Jungbluth, Senior Animator, Zenimax Online
Tim Borrelli, Lead Animator, 5th Cell
Nate Walpole, Senior Animator, Halo Series and Elder Scrolls Online

Making an Audience Believe
Jalil Sadool, Senior Animator, Dreamworks

The Animation Industry is moving and changing faster than we ever expected. The number of
good animators is increasing every year and finding a stable job in this competitive field is much
harder compared to just a decade ago. What therefore gives an animator this extra edge? We often misunderstand good animation for simply good motion and forget that our main focus as an animator is to fool an audience into believing. Over the course of this talk we will discuss the “Thinking Character” and the little things that we tend to forget but that is incredibly essential for a character to come to life.

It’s Alive! Developing Animal/Creature Movement, Personality and Presentation
Amy Drobeck, Senior Animator, WB Seattle

The purpose of this session is to outline the process of bringing a creature/animal to life from the skeleton up. It will begin with an overview of anatomy, continue with a breakdown of movement that includes character/personality development and end with the realization of these assets in cinematic and in-game formats.

From Stage to Screen: How to Get the Most Out of Your Mocap
Simon Unger, Animation Director, Hitman:Absolution

As commonplace in game development as overtime, motion capture is often one of the largest, most inefficient expenses on a production.The goal of this talk is to give attendees better tools and practices to squeeze more performance and value out of their mocap. We will cover all the stages; from initial planning and casting to final implementation in game. We’ll also have a look at some not-so-common uses of this often misunderstood tool.

Animating the 3rd Assassin
Jonathan Cooper, Animation Director, Ubisoft Montreal

Assassin’s Creed III’s new-world organic environments presented an opportunity to update the animation throughout the game with revised systems of navigation, combat and crowdlife, as well as new additions like animal wildlife, moving ships and tree-running. This presentation covers the decision-making behind these various improvements, making Assassin’s Creed III’s new protagonist Connor even more fluid in motion than previous entries while maintaining the series trademark sense of weight and connection to the environment.

Giving Purpose to 1st Person Animation
Ryan Duffin, Senior Animator, EA/Danger Close

First person games have been around for decades and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon! Arguably, no perspective is better to immerse a player in your world but how can you make your character feel like more than a camera on a stick , immersing them in their environment without sacrificing responsive player controls or making them vomit from motion sickness? This talk will focus on the particular animation needs of hands, bodies and weapons to better immerse your player in their avatar.

Designing a Performance
Ed Hooks, Acting for Animators
Mike Jungbluth, Senior Animator, Zenimax Online

Character animation in games can not rely solely on the methods used in film. Creating emotionally engaging and empathetic characters in a video game doesn’t stop when you finalize the animation. If you want to fully apply the principles of animation and acting into your game, you need to be aware of how and when your animations are being used by both the game and the player. This talk will show how you can approach your animations and game design in a more holistic way.

Q&A Roundtable
Tim Borrelli, Lead Animator, 5th Cell
A catch all for any questions attendees may have concerning all topics covered. Also a primer for the conversations that will continue at the Animation and Character Roundtable during the rest of GDC.

GDC 2013 Animation Bootcamp Announcement

January 7, 2013 | Filed Under Places We Pop Up | No Comments

Last spring a conversation sprung up on twitter about game animation not being as well represented as it could be at conferences world wide. From that discussion, a handful of us got together to do something about it. What we present here is the type of game animation conference I have always dreamed about attending, with an equal focus on both the craft of animation and it’s overlap with game design.

I proudly present the GDC 2013 Animation Bootcamp taking place March 25th! This is an opportunity to grow both our craft and our involvement with all things game dev and I hope to see you there!

And spread the word!

GDC 2013 Animation Bootcamp
SanFrancisco, CA
March 25-29

Description
Game animation is a tricky beast. Balancing the want of film style visuals against gameplay constraints is a daily occurrence. While these constraints are very real, as games grow in both technology and emotional resonance, animators must break free of the excuses and help drive this industry forward with the unique skill sets they posses.
Bringing together a group of experienced and specialized animators, this bootcamp will be a full day gathering to rally animators from all over the industry with a focus on deeper, more specific discussions into the needs of game animation than a conference with a more varied discipline set is capable of.

The day will start with a focus purely on the craft of animation, focusing on aspects like believability, body mechanics and facial animation. Then throughout the day we transition into how best to apply that knowledge to game development, from wrangling mocap to applying what is learned to understanding game design.

But the animation focus at GDC won’t stop after the bootcamp. Once the main conference begins, the Animation and Character Performance Roundtable run by Tim Borrelli will use the bootcamp as a jumping off point towards cross discipline discussions. This will allow animators as well as designers, programmers, writers and other artists to sync up and become active participants in the overarching topic of more believable characters and motions in games.

Intended Audience
Animators of all skill levels as well as other disciplines interested in what animation has to offer in regards to character performance, emotion, action and gameplay.

Takeaway
Attendees will leave with all manner of new ideas on what game animation is capable of. Be it tips about leveling up their animation fundamentals or how best to work with and use game design, anything that animation comes in contact with during game development will be shown in a new light.

Speakers & Topics

Welcome & Introduction
Mike Jungbluth, Senior Animator, Zenimax Online
Tim Borrelli, Lead Animator, 5th Cell
Nate Walpole, Senior Animator, Halo Series and Elder Scrolls Online

Making an Audience Believe
Jalil Sadool, Senior Animator, Dreamworks

The Animation Industry is moving and changing faster than we ever expected. The number of
good animators is increasing every year and finding a stable job in this competitive field is much
harder compared to just a decade ago. What therefore gives an animator this extra edge? We often misunderstand good animation for simply good motion and forget that our main focus as an animator is to fool an audience into believing. Over the course of this talk we will discuss the “Thinking Character” and the little things that we tend to forget but that is incredibly essential for a character to come to life.

It’s Alive! Developing Animal/Creature Movement, Personality and Presentation
Amy Drobeck, Senior Animator, WB Seattle

The purpose of this session is to outline the process of bringing a creature/animal to life from the skeleton up. It will begin with an overview of anatomy, continue with a breakdown of movement that includes character/personality development and end with the realization of these assets in cinematic and in-game formats.

From Stage to Screen: How to Get the Most Out of Your Mocap
Simon Unger, Animation Director, Hitman:Absolution

As commonplace in game development as overtime, motion capture is often one of the largest, most inefficient expenses on a production.The goal of this talk is to give attendees better tools and practices to squeeze more performance and value out of their mocap. We will cover all the stages; from initial planning and casting to final implementation in game. We’ll also have a look at some not-so-common uses of this often misunderstood tool.

Animating the 3rd Assassin
Jonathan Cooper, Animation Director, Ubisoft Montreal

Assassin’s Creed III’s new-world organic environments presented an opportunity to update the animation throughout the game with revised systems of navigation, combat and crowdlife, as well as new additions like animal wildlife, moving ships and tree-running. This presentation covers the decision-making behind these various improvements, making Assassin’s Creed III’s new protagonist Connor even more fluid in motion than previous entries while maintaining the series trademark sense of weight and connection to the environment.

Giving Purpose to 1st Person Animation
Ryan Duffin, Senior Animator, EA/Danger Close

First person games have been around for decades and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon! Arguably, no perspective is better to immerse a player in your world but how can you make your character feel like more than a camera on a stick , immersing them in their environment without sacrificing responsive player controls or making them vomit from motion sickness? This talk will focus on the particular animation needs of hands, bodies and weapons to better immerse your player in their avatar.

Designing a Performance
Ed Hooks, Acting for Animators
Mike Jungbluth, Senior Animator, Zenimax Online

Character animation in games can not rely solely on the methods used in film. Creating emotionally engaging and empathetic characters in a video game doesn’t stop when you finalize the animation. If you want to fully apply the principles of animation and acting into your game, you need to be aware of how and when your animations are being used by both the game and the player. This talk will show how you can approach your animations and game design in a more holistic way.

Q&A Roundtable
Tim Borrelli, Lead Animator, 5th Cell
A catch all for any questions attendees may have concerning all topics covered. Also a primer for the conversations that will continue at the Animation and Character Roundtable during the rest of GDC.

Episode 40 – Outsourced

December 6, 2012 | Filed Under Episodes | 3 Comments

TOPIC: Outsourcing
Guest: Jon Jones, Art Outsourcing Manager with smArtist

Sooooo, how have you been these last five months? Did you do something new with your hair? It looks great!

Nothing too crazy new from our side of things. A couple of us shipped some games and we all still live in the same places as the last episode. So anyone that bet Ryan would now be living in Borneo and I would be living in Alaska by the next recording, pay up!

This episode we talk about our love of smaller, downloadable games, a lack of gateway co-op experiences on consoles, organizing the Animation Bootcamp for GDC 2013, and layoffs. Then we all knife fight Jon with our words about how outsourcing is trying to take our jobs.

We have been meaning to have Jon on to talk about this for literally years as outsourcing is a topic that most devs only see from one angle and after many failed chances, we finally found the right time to record all four of us. Which for the record is late at night into early morning. On a random Wednesday.

Which means, as a bonus, you get to hear me transform from a passionate game developer into a passionate cat lover over the course of 2 hours without the use of any alcohol. So join us won’t you?!

Show Notes:
Good Guy Jon Jones Meme
Lessons on Perspective
Predicting Layoffs
Layoff Survival Guide

Sister Cat

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