Episode 44 – GDC in 3 Parts

October 20, 2014 | Filed Under Episodes | 2 Comments

TOPIC: GDC 2014 with
Rick Blankenship @rickblankenship
Mike Jungbluth @lightbombmike
Ryan Duffin @animationmerc
Matt Derksen @mattderksen
Simon Unger @simonunger
Jay Hosfelt @hosfross
Tim Borrelli @anim8der
Mellissa Shim @SlappaDeBass
Victor Chavez @TorVez

It took 7 months to edit this episode. One may think this had to do with Ryan’s busy schedule, but NO! It was literally him sitting in front of a screen for 7 months editing our longest episode to date. So long, it had to be broken into 3 parts!

And how did this monstrosity come into being? Well, one fateful Wednesday night in March, during GDC, a slew of us got together, with a case of Anchor Steam, fired up the Snowball mic, and just talked like we normally would at such an event. If you ever wanted to get a drink with a bunch of professional animators, but never had the chance, now you do! Grab a cold one, and enjoy!

And if you want to be part of conversations like this in person, do think about coming to the next GDC Animation Bootcamp, March 2nd! We will be announcing the speakers and schedule soooooon!

Part One: The Calm Before The Storm
GDC Animation Bootcamp
Geek out on David Rosen’s talk
Increased scrutiny on animation in games
Should animation be a sub-department under art or should it be it’s own department with it’s own director?
Rise of the game animation community
Junior animators and outsourcing

Part Two: Down the rabbit hole
Thinks veer a little more off course…
Jay joins the frey
Developer and games media relations
Early internet stories
Improving GDC roundtables and Q&A, devs and students
1st party and 3rd party tools
Animation degrees
Sexy clowns

Part 3: The Shitshow
What we would be doing if not animating
Muse questions for the new folks
Ryan’s stupid car

Episode 43 – Talking with the 2014 GDC Bootcampers

February 8, 2014 | Filed Under Episodes, Places We Pop Up | No Comments

TOPIC: GDC 2014 Animation Bootcamp
GUESTS: Oh So Many

Welcome to the Annual ReAnimators Podcast. Or at least, it feels that way eh?

Just like last year, we rounded up all the bootcamp presenters to chat about themselves and their talks. If this doesn’t make you want to attend the bootcamp, then you probably don’t care about animation. Or games. Or this website. The former I would question, but the later I can appreciate.

To the digital airwaves!

GDC 2014 Animation Bootcamp
SanFrancisco, CA
March 17th

Animation Bootcamp Talks
Achieving A Believable Performance
Establishing An Ecology For NPCs
Fluid and Powerful Animation Within Frame Restrictions
Animating the Spy Fantasy In Splinter Cell Blacklist
Animation Prototyping For Games
An Indie Approach to Procedural Animation
Using the Power of Layered Animation to Expand Premium Content in Battlefield 4
Animating Cameras for Games
An Animator’s Approach to Directing an Idea

Animation and Character Performance Roundtables
The Role of Animators
The Future of Game Animation
Animation Techniques, Tips and Tricks

GDC Main Conference Animation Talks
2D Animation at Klei Entertainment
Discovering the Story and Character in the Real-Tim, Animated Short Film Unplugged
Super Powering the Saints: Animation Direction of Saints Row IV’s Super Jumping
Designing the Bungie Animation Workflow

Show Notes
Rain World
Concrete Practices to Be A Better Leader

2014 GDC Animation Bootcamp

January 9, 2014 | Filed Under Places We Pop Up | 1 Comment

After the resounding success of last year, I proudly present the return of GDC Animation Bootcamp on March 17th!

Taking what we learned from last year and listening to the feedback, I believe we have packed this one day event full of the practical, animation focused talks everyone loves, delivered by some of the most inspiring animators in the industry. But the animation fun won’t stop at the Bootcamp, as this year sees the return of Tim Borrelli’s Character Performance Roundtable during each day of the main conference, as well as an array of animation specific talks at the main conference throughout the week.

This is an opportunity to grow both our craft and our involvement with all things game dev, and you are not going to want to miss GDC this year!

Spread the word. Animation at GDC is becoming a big thing.

GDC 2014 Animation Bootcamp
SanFrancisco, CA
March 17th

Game animation has had a bigger and brighter spotlight placed upon it as both technology and narrative in games have allowed more fully realized characters. However, that spotlight has also revealed an industry wide gap in the sharing of game animation knowledge, the application of the craft, and its involvement in the industry at large. Bringing together a group of experienced and specialized animators, across AAA and Indie, this bootcamp will be a daylong gathering to rally animators from all over the industry, with a focus on deeper discussions into the needs of game animation. The day will start with a traditional look at the craft by focusing on establishing and conveying a character’s performance. Then throughout the day we will transition into how to best apply that knowledge to game development, through different tools and disciplines, showing how the unique constraints and demands of games are creating the need for a new breed of animator.

Intended Audience
Animators and other disciplines specifically interested in what animation has to offer in regards to character performance, emotion, action and gameplay.

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
15 Mins

Achieving A Believable Performance
Jalil Sadool, Senior Animator, Dreamworks
60 Mins
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. During the next 45 mins to an hour, we will talk about ‘the believable performance’ and the little things that we tend to forget but that is incredibly essential for a character to come to life.

Establishing An Ecology For NPCs
Mike Jungbluth, Senior Animator, Zenimax Online
30 Mins
A common issue encountered across many studios is how to define and convey the personality and purpose of NPCS. Unlike the main characters, often times NPCs are just a name on a page with some random abilities assigned to them. One of many. With so many characters and production time always limited, creating a sufficient yet streamlined process for finding, defining and communicating what makes a character tick can keep them from falling through the cracks. This talk will cover some of the approaches I have been a part of on different games to try and combat the problem.

Fluid and Powerful Animation Within Frame Restrictions
Mariel Cartwright, Lead Animator, Lab Zero Games
30 Mins
How do you get the clearest, most fluid animation in a 2D game and make it work with responsive gameplay? This talk will explore how Skullgirls was animated and cover the importance of strong keyframes, anticipation, and timing and how you can effectively get these principles across when your designer tells you you only have six frames to deliver a punch. The talk will also use examples from Skullgirls as well as other 2D fighting games, such as Darkstalkers and Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, to show various ways of making an animation work. Lastly, the talk will cover what did and didn’t work in Skullgirls and how far the animation has come in the years the game has been in development.

Animating the Spy Fantasy In Splinter Cell Blacklist
Kristjan Zadziuk, Animation Director, Ubisoft Toronto
60 Mins

This presentation focuses on what defined Splinter Cell Blacklist animation pillars, the technical challenges faced by the animation team throughout the development and how we have overcome them.  As we move toward the transition between generations, it is tempting to search for the magic bullet solution of more data, better compression, and improved tech.  Even if this is partly true, it is important to still make smart choices. These are the choices we made.

Animation Prototyping For Games
Jay Hosfelt, Lead Animator, Epic Games
60 Mins
So you have an original game in mind, a new team, or a completely new IP.  You don’t have many art assets yet, and the game designers can’t wait for final art before finding the fun in the gameplay.  So how can animators be effective in this prototype “gray box” phase of design?   Prototyping will not only make animators more effective, but instrumental in the prototype phase. I will be discussing tools and techniques for creating quick “gray box” animation assets for the designers that allow for quick iteration cycles. I will also be breaking down what prototyping is and what a game is, which will help give clarity to what any team should be prototyping.

An Indie Approach to Procedural Animation
David Rosen, Founder, Wolfire Games
30 Mins

Find out how to use simple procedural techniques to achieve interactive and fluid animations using very few keyframes, with examples from indie games like Overgrowth, Receiver and Black Shades. What exactly is the difference between a playable character and a vehicle?

Using the Power of Layered Animation to Expand Premium Content in Battlefield 4
Ryan Duffin, Senior Animator, EA DICE
30 Mins
Complex stateflows and animation layers are changing the face of games animation, allowing for a quantity and variety that would’ve been difficult or even impossible to fit into production schedules and memory not long ago. This talk will follow along with a specific example that uses the power of stateflows and layers to expand the animation features of Battlefield 4 Premium.

Animating Cameras for Games
Simon Unger, Lead Animator, Robotoki
30 Mins

The bar for quality in games is constantly being pushed higher every year, and yet there are still areas that tend to remain afterthoughts during the production cycle. Cameras are one such area. Most game teams don’t have the luxury of a dedicated “camera guy” and as such, the ownership typically gets split up to various people on the team and rarely to anyone with any real-world camera experience. The goal of this talk is to give the audience a primer in cameras and composition, with a focus on how to apply physical camera features and limitations to both gameplay and cinematics to create more believable, appealing, and entertaining experiences.

An Animators Approach to Directing an Idea
Tasha Harris, Lead Franchise Artist, Pixar
30 Mins

In this talk I will use my experiences as Project Lead on Costume Quest to address some challenges an animator might run into when directing a project, and how these challenges might be overcome.

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
Spy Party by Chris Hecker

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